Is Art a Luxury?

18 Jun 2012

Let's talk about this term, luxury, first. A luxury is something that you don't really need, and by that definition, lots of things fall into this category.

We need shelter; we need protection from the elements; we need food; we need water; we need air. That being said, the shelter could be a hovel, and as long as it keeps us warm and dry, then anything more is a luxury.

Food? What we need is enough to sustain life--rice and beans should do the trick, but most of us prefer to go beyond that. Technically, the steak, potatoes, spinach salad along with the chocolate pie for dessert that you just might have eaten last week is a major, major luxury.

While clay pots don't look like luxury items, the decorative effects technically are. But how different they would be without the artwork! Chimu, above, is an original oil painting, limited edition print of various sizes, and note card by Steve Henderson.

While clay pots don't look like luxury items, the decorative effects technically are. But how different they would be without the artwork! Chimu, above, is an original oil painting, limited edition print of various sizes, and note card by Steve Henderson.

Do you see where I'm going here? Anything that goes beyond what we truly need to sustain life can be defined as a luxury.

You need a car to get to work; fine. It doesn't have to be a Cadillac, but if it makes you happy when it is, and if you can afford it, why not?

You need a phone to do your job; it doesn't have to be cute and small and smarter than you are, but if it makes you happy when it is, and you can afford it, why not?

You want something on your wall that makes you smile and feel happy every time you look at it. That's a painting. You don't eat it, wear it, or live inside it, so it's technically a luxury, but if it makes you happy and you can afford it, why not?

And if you are one of the artists who creates these beautiful oil paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings,and the like, then stand tall and be proud of what you offer the world around you: a luxury, but a necessary one.

--Carolyn

 


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StarFields wrote
on 23 Jun 2012 1:17 PM

This is an interesting thing. I wrote about this, telling a heirloom story about my grandmother in the ruins of Dresden after the 2nd World War, choosing to trade a precious goose egg for a little painting which could have bought her a whole sack of potatoes for her starving brood. It's here http://1-art.eu/lucky_hans.htm if you're interested.

As they say, man does not live by bread alone.

Reruho wrote
on 23 Jun 2012 10:12 PM

To a non artist, the answer could be yes. They could live without art. For myself, art is a part of my life, my being, my sanity. I am compelled to create and surround myself with things of beauty.

Reta

on 25 Jun 2012 2:16 PM

StarFields -- what a beautiful story, and you are so very right -- the potatoes represent the logical, the what-we-can-see, the "real," that we generally satisfy ourselves with, even though they always run out and we need more. Your grandmother's precious painting reminded her that life is so much beyond that. Thank you for the comment and the link -- a gift to my spirit that will far outlast today's breakfast. What happened to the painting?

Reruho:You are wise enough to know that you need beauty and art in your life to bring it above the drudgery of day-to-day survival. Others need this as well -- so desperately! -- but they sadly don't know it.

Paul Armesto wrote
on 19 Jul 2012 11:21 PM

Thank you Carolyn for such a perfect thought !

Paul Armesto

on 2 Oct 2012 8:47 AM

To Admire art is a human need. To Buy art is a luxury

on 10 May 2014 1:27 AM

For an artist, the one who creates things of beauty and meaning, art is not a luxury, it is the very reason to get out of bed in the morning. To create art is a necessity for the artistic personality and to consider it a luxury would be akin to say breathing is a luxury, which of course it is not.