Of art and creativity…

Does acrylic painting on small rocks denote a creative mind?

An interesting debate come up this evening. What constitutes art? When does someone transcend from someone who paints to an artist?

Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth – so said Pablo Picasso.

It is said that Saraswati, the Devi of knowledge, wisdom, music and the arts was created by Brahma, so that manushya (man) could appreciate the wonders of nature and creation.

V.S. Ramachandran argues that there is a neural basis to art, and a set of universal principles that appeal to all humans. In fact, to all creatures. This is why we both bees, and us, find flowers beautiful, even though the bee has a more vested interest in the flower than us humans.

But what separates kitsch from higher forms of art? If I follow the argument (oops, discussion) that I had earlier this evening, art is subjective. What appeals to me, may not appeal to another, and vice versa.

But there is more to it than…err, meets the eye.

The Sanskrit word रस (Rasa), roughly translates into that which captures the very essence, the very spirit of something, in order to evoke a specific mood or emotion in the viewer’s brain. Ancient Indians did a lot of thinking on this, and the rasas evolved out of some universal principles of aesthetics, which appeal to each and every one of us.

As per V.S. Ramachandran, there are nine laws of aesthetics, and these cut across cultural barriers. They are:

Grouping, peak shift, contrast, isolation, perceptual problem solving, abhorrence of coincidences, orderliness, symmetry and metaphor.

Want to know more? Read his book “The Tell-Tale Brain”. It seems a lot of theory, but it is fascinating to know how the brain views art, how it perceives it and how it conveys to us what we “feel” about it.

And so while art may be subjective, there are some underlying factors that separate the, as they say, wheat from the chaff!

Art is gourmet food for the visual centre in the brain, as opposed to kitsch, which is junk food…

Now, here is some art for you to savor:)

What of those who do not appreciate art? Well, as someone said, they do, but they don’t know it yet:)