Art is important. Like, super important.
I love music. I adore movies. Who decided they should be put together? I’ve often wondered this, because I think it’s the most genius artistic idea of modern times.
A quick Google search tells me that in the 1920s, Warner Brothers made the first movies that included recorded music and sound. They were called Vitaphones, meaning “sound of life.”
Yes. The sound of life. That seems accurate to me. A simple thing with an epic effect. Why is it that putting music to moving pictures makes the story being told just seem… more? The experience is extra life like, and yet not real life at all.
This is what I love about art of all kinds. Art is a heightened and exaggerated version of our experiences, and yet somehow also a more accurate portrayal of life. It takes the things we all see, feel or experience, and transforms them into new things we can absorb in new ways. Art allows us to feel life at different levels. It takes us beyond our current human disposition into a world where our pain, sadness, joy or happiness can be digested by our five senses.
Art asks us to step out of our preconceived and rigid views of life, and invites us to see ourselves and the world around us with fresh eyes. The artist implicitly or explicitly asks us to lift the blurry goggles we wear. Accepting the invitation means giving permission to be shown ways in which pain can reflect beauty, and ugliness can bring about joy.
Indeed, it seems to me that consuming art is the only way to stay sane in a world which will never makes sense in the way we wish it would. Through art, the boxes of logic we have trapped life inside of are allowed to be broken down, and in that consent, we get to see new pieces of life. Pieces that from inside the box, we didn’t even know were missing. Once seen, something within us reconciles itself, even if just for a moment.
This is why I think artists, generally speaking, deserve so much respect. They look for and express something else in life. Things emerge that didn’t exist before the sum of themselves partnered with the blank slate of potential. They explore in the land of formless shadows where things are not, and somehow, bring us things that are. They are magicians of reality. They wave a wand of ideas, concepts and feelings over an empty hat, reach in and through their unique skills, talents, and abilities, pull out something that can be shared with others.
In that way, we get to touch the magic with them. We get to discover the soundtrack of our lives, the words we didn’t know we needed to hear, the colors that embody our state of being, the textures and shapes that spark our own curiosity, the flavors that release our mood. Because of art, we get to experience a place we hadn’t considered until the artist let us lay our senses on it.
You would have a hard challenge to convince me of anything that is as therapeutic, healing or enlivening as art.
If you make art, of any kind, start or keep sharing it with the world. In ways you may never know, you have helped someone, in some way, find more of themselves. If you don’t consider yourself an artist, but you love music, or movies, or colors, or fashion — I hope you never consider your desire to absorb these things as frivolous. Something in you knows it’s what you need.
And to whichever Warner brother brought the “sound of life” to the big screen, know it wasn’t just a cool idea. It’s reconciled my soul hundreds of times over. Thank you.
Brianne Grebil is a transformation coach, writer, and story teller. She is a Pacific Northwesterner who veered to California for over a decade and recently relocated to Nashville, TN. She is the author of Love Doesn’t Care If You Forget — Lessons of love from Alzheimer’s and dementia.