Do We Really Need Art?

19 Mar

I have been accused of loving math. While this accusation does not bother me, I don’t believe it is as good of a description as is possible. I think I just understand math. That alone probably puts me in the minority, but it doesn’t make me a tin foil hat wearing guy. Does it?

There is a simplicity to numbers. It is easy to see when something is off. Symmetry (or lack thereof) becomes an easy thing to evaluate. When you want an answer, there is a definite one. There is no room for atrtistic expression with numbers.

Numbers do not lie, and noone would suggest that they do. People don’t frequently evaluate the originator of a good spreadsheet as something to be desired. On the other hand, people will value an original of something artistic at a thousand times more than a knock-off that looks exactly the same. Why is this? I watch TV shows like Remington Steele and White Collar and marvel about how a simple imperfection here or there adds millions to the value.

Now, I can look at two pieces of art and determine which I believe to be better. Of course, you may look at the same two pieces and make the opposite determination. This is really what frustrates me. My high school art teacher was a great person, but even when I had followed the instructions to a tee, she had a firm grasp of the obvious—I have no artistic talent.

One offshoot of this is that I struggle even with sports which grade artstic creativity. I have no problem accepting divers, gymnasts, and ice skaters as legitimate athletes. By the same token, I have a real hard time accepting that something with so subjective a determinate can be a sport. Clearly there are subjective calls made in football and basketball, but the score is very objective.

This also affects the way I look at just about everything.

  • I ran a website design company while in graduate school, which I wrote all code for and yet, I couldn’t put together the page to actually make the sites look good without serious help.
  • I ran Vacation Bible School a while ago, where people were exuberant about the event, but they were disgruntled by my lack of decorations.
  • I run many Bible Quiz tournaments and a league, where everyone always enjoys the events, but my awards are shady.
  • I write a blog occassionally for my church, which Pastor Curt claims to like, but claims I need to brighten it up with pictures (which he goes back and inserts later). Having written almost 80 blog posts and never once included a picture may have led my faithful readers to know that already.
  • This may also be why I am also the most disheveled guy in a typical group in which I travel. I just can’t really tell what looks good and what doesn’t.

So, I guess I am pleading with you to not take offense if I do something to visually frustrate you. It isn’t that I don’t care about you, just that I couldn’t care less about art.

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5 Responses to “Do We Really Need Art?”

  1. Judi-CAJ March 20, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Wow Matt….it brings to mind a comment I heard Rick Santorum make….where he quoted someone else…."it is not so much what you say, but rather how it is perceived that matters' Funny how you can say the same thing to many people (students) and most perceive it as encouraging, and then others, that you never even realize, take it as a put down. I am so sorry about that, in that I always tried to make it a point to encourage. It might be worth contemplation however…. this….when you consider something as unimportant, yet you are required to do it, perhaps it is easier to blow it off as a negative instead of looking for anything of value that you might learn from the experience. Let's take math. Hated it. Every minute of it. Never got over it as long as I was in school. But God intended to show me that it was good. He placed me in the AUDITING Dept. at Sears for many years….working for the Controller. YIKES! Only HE knew that I would need that experience one day when I needed to stay under budget with a Fine Arts Department. Only He knew that I would need to be able to tell all of those 'seriously not geek' right brained artists, that they just needed to 'jump through the hoops of math and do the darned homework' so they could get out of high school and do something that actually really mattered to them in college…and life. I am so sad for you right now because we live in a visual world and we are bombarded with visual images. You might 'care less' about art, as in paintings in a museum, but if you have an ipad….I just bet you care very much about all those wonderful apps. I can hardly imagine that you are committed only to a paper spreadsheet! Thankfully, God gifted each of us in different ways and what we should be doing is building up one another. So, my friend, let me treat you to an afternoon at Leu Gardens and I will show you the amazing GEOMETRY that can be found in nature! I am guessing you did not take art the semester we did botanicals! And hey, whenever you have an artistic problem before you, don't get frustrated, just ask for help. Everyone is not supposed to be equally talented in the same exact way! Thank you for pouring your life into young people, and artistic or not, you have so much to offer and you do just that on a daily basis! Blessings!

  2. AskThePhatMan March 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Mrs. Tome,I never took anything you said as a negative, other than to say I have no talent, of which I was totally aware! And just so everyone else knows, Mrs. Tome was probably the best art teacher out there and as much as I didn't really like art, her class was fun (Well, as fun as anything can be, when you are being creative). I just stunk at it. As for art, even the pretty decorations on apps are discounted by my dumb phone, I don't have an HD TV, and I still prefer radio without the activity on the screen. I'm just a little behind the times.The Phat Man

  3. PCBO March 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    And I will continue to insert those pictures until you become more art friendly! So there.

  4. Jenni September 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Mrs. Tome, you rock. I have never been a great artist, but I enjoy it, and you grew me big time in that area.

  5. Jenni September 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Yes.

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