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Art Is Useless? by RobtheDoodler Art Is Useless? by RobtheDoodler
During my regular surfing about on various forums and blogs, I happened across a comment that summed up to ďart is uselessĒ. Now, doing what I do on my free time, and indeed what Iíve done since as far back as I can remember, I took a little offense and was fairly brief in my judgment of this statement, first coming to the conclusion that this person was a ďtotal moron.Ē

After some further thought, I decided that I was being completely unreasonable and taking it a bit too personally, thus retract my statement to give this some further thought.

So then the question stands. Is art useless? Why would someone consider it so? What is it about art that allows some people to completely dismiss it, as though itís some sort of vestigial component in human society? I suppose the fact that art has been part of human evolution and the advancement of our societies for many thousands of years is, to some extent, small potatoes. So, would society be no worse off if art disappeared? If there was no Met, or Louvre to visit, no paintings, no art supply stores, no art schools, or even a box of crayons in a stationary store, would the world be as colorful as many of us see it now? I suppose in its absence we would not know the difference, but if one were actually able to compare each reality side by side, I would think itís pretty obvious which society would be lacking inspiration, and the creativity and ingenuity that we currently enjoy and often utilize. I canít imagine that our emotions would be nearly as developed, with no broad expression in music, poetry and all forms of fiction throughout all forms of media.

Seems that an argument one might make is the comparison to tools, like maybe a wrench, or a hammer, or a simple wedge like a ramp or cutting tool. These things obviously have timeless functionality in modern technology (at least not until magic is somehow discovered). But when it really comes down to it, is the comparison to these sorts of tools really valid? Sure, I canít build a house with a painting, I canít install a fixture with any abstract sculpture, nor can I hammer a nail into a wall with a statue (unless itís one of those small metal ones and youíre sort of desperate), but then art in general is not intended for this kind of purpose anyway, no more than a chemistry textbook is at all adequate for teaching me how to fish.

The problem I have most with the phrase ďart is uselessĒ is that it seems to ignore all of the conceptual work and inspiration that crops up throughout the years and could lead to real innovation. Powered, human flight, for example, began in mythology and on paper, as fantasy apparatuses soared through the air. Even if those machines were physically incapable of achieving flight should they actually be assembled, the influence was there. One might argue that man achieving powered flight is inevitable, since nature itself did provide inspiration through its own assortment of flying fauna, but then, without that same spark of inspiration that brought about the myths of Daedalus and Icarus, and of the webbed wings and spiraling lifting devices as those drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci, would we have moved beyond the convention that man was simply not meant to fly?

The thought occurred to me that perhaps art, in its entirety, is simply the byproduct of our ingenuity; that all of our creative spark births both the practical and impractical at the same time. Even if that were truly the case, the aspects of creative work that one may see as useless, would be a symbiote to practical application.

Art is as useless as every moment one looks up at a field of stars, conjuring up wild ideas about how to reach them.
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S-M-Batty Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Student Digital Artist
To me, the most amazing thing about art is that it comments on culture. For instance, most of what we know about early humanity is from fossils and most importantly art. Lascaux caves and Venus of Willendorf is some of the oldest art ever found and it has given us interesting theories as to what these painted animals mean (many guess it is a ritualistic painting praying for a successful hunt) or how small Venus is, (which suggests there was more of a emphasis on fertility which may point to matriarchy, and it's stature implies nomads so as to transport it easily.)
Art also shows us beautiful landscapes that has since been paved over.
It also speaks about the technology of the time. Think of the first photographs, they were taken using a camera obscura and people had to pose for hours. This started mankind's fascination with accurate, unbiased documentation.
It speaks about fashion of the decade, the latest trends (I mean the tulip phenomenon of the Baroque destroyed the economy!) in fact without art Christianity wouldn't have spread as much as it did (as illustrations taught the illiterate, as only the wealthy could afford education and read the bible)
It's true that art started the steps to building a mechanism capable of flight but I look at planes and buildings and I see designs. A beautiful combination of art, math and science.
I also agree it is a great in they psychological sense.
Anyway, that's my two cents on the matter. Art isn't useless, far from it.
Dystatic-Studio Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
When art is defeated by logic, every creation will just become deprivations within the nature.

Sure, people will say "Stop copying the damn bird's wings to make human fly!" because it's too obvious to make it real, but ironically, it IS useless. So why not imitate superheroes' fly-with-superpower when they can wear smaller, more powerful jet pack instead of the wingsuit? That's what the humanity should go along -- stop copying the nature, let's fight against it.

Still, some still rather want to be a bird, or they believe wingsuit is more graceful than fly-in-American-way design. :XD:
dracontes Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very well said :clap:

I'd add that art is useful in psychosocial sense because it allows us that virtual space to experiment and develop ideas and emotions, and as such ourselves, with generally less risk involved.
Besides I'm not sure what I'd have to do if for reconstructing a dinosaur I actually had to make a living, breathing one instead of an image. Sometimes art can even be called "practical" ;)
ADHDtrooper Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Screw that is more usefull than that man. Art is what has led us through life and what has inspired us to create and invent different things. And you know what, people can fly...just look at airplanes...logic.
Dragon-lu-ver Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
That was very enjoyable to read. =3
tonystardreamer Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
MrIbis Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2011
you know what, thats a really beautiful reply :)
InvictusSanguis Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
very nice pic
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