“Art Quote of the Day”

“One thing that can be securely said about “art” is that is  derives ultimately from an inborn human impulse to create.  Give children crayons , and they draw.  Give them blocks, and they build.  With clay, they model; with a knife and a piece of wood, they carve.  In the absence of such materials, children naturally find an outlet for their artistic  energy.  Sandcastles, snowmen, mudpies, scribbles, and treehouses are all products of the child’s impulse to impose created form on the world of nature . What  children create may vary according to their environment and experience, but they  invariably create something.  This is borne out by biographies and autobiographies of artists, which frequently record a drive to draw, paint, sculpt, or build in early childhood.  How such childhood drives are channeled depends on a complex interaction  between the nature of the society, the family, and the propensities and experience of the individual.

All the creative arts – including the visual arts – separate the human from the nonhuman.  Animals build only in nature, and their buildings are determined by nature. { Birds make nests, spiders weave webs, caterpillars spin cocoons, bees create hives } . Such constructions are genetically programmed by the species that make them, and do not express individual or cultural ideas.

People , on the other hand,  build in contrast to nature, even though buildings can be related to nature.

For example,because of its open spaces and unpolished surfaces, Stonehenge strikes viewers as naturally  related to the site. It also creates a visual transition between earth and sky. But it is distinct from nature in being man-made and in expressing cultural ideas. It reflects , for example, the belief that sones are imbued with a magic power to fertilize the earth.  And, on a broader level, Stonehenge exemplifies the monumental stone architecture that developed when people made the transition from Paleolithic hunting societies to agriculture.”

The Methodologies of Art – An Introduction , by Laurie Schneider Adams