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Art and Emotion are More Connected Than You May Think

For a long time, visual art has been closely connected to how our emotions are expressed and influenced. You can see this link even in the everyday language we use to describe how we feel. We see red and feel blue. We're tickled pink and green with envy.

Your emotions are more intrinsically linked with your physical environment than you may be aware. The same painting or print can be viewed by numerous onlookers and yet it can be interpreted and felt differently by each individual.

Art as a Personal Story

Art is deeply personal. It can be an intensely felt and incredibly unique experience. Just as people have different musical tastes, so too do they have personal preferences when it comes to visual arts. Think about it: just about everyone has a favorite colour or mix of colours and others they may abhor. Some people are instantly wowed by abstract art while others simply don't 'get it'.

These preferences are synchronised to each person's unintentional emotional response to an image. And this response is a result of individual experiences, emotions, and dreams that allow each person to view art differently.

Artwork enables you to escape reality. In art you can chase or find your singular thoughts, emotions and dreams. It is possible to find comfort in art because it has an ability to empathise with the unique way you feel.

It is this unique ability to convey what is much deeper than thought which allows us to draw parallels between our emotions and art. We have all experienced times when our emotions stifle words. Sometimes, art can be a better way of explaining ourselves than any other form of communication.

Influencing Emotion through Artistic Expression

A physical outlet for excess energy is a soccer game. An outlet for excess thought can be found in a spouse, assistant or good friend. Just as your opinions, thoughts and physical energy can build up inside, so too can your emotions. A great emotional outlet is through the exploration of art.

In fact, art has found a legitimate place in the contemporary world as an emotional outlet. Countless studies have found that creating art can increase your endorphins and reduce your blood pressure. In making art, you have to live in the present moment, which can eliminate distractive thinking and reduce stress and depression.

Today, the connection between art and emotions is so clear that Art Therapy has become a clinical approach to dealing with intense emotions. Formally defined as 'a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication', Art Therapy is incorporated into treatment programs for a range of illnesses and disabilities.

In particular, Art Therapy is used to treat mental illness. Often excess emotions or the inability to cope with certain emotions is a major problem for those suffering from mental illness. Art Therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

But wall art can also evoke emotions, which is why selecting artwork can be so important for the home and business. In an aged care home, for example, a giant Joan Miro or Jackson Pollock print may not be appropriate; the lines and colours can be confusing and disorienting for the elderly inhabitants. Instead, a soft pink rose or a pastel blue seaside image can be ideal to calm patients and even help bring back old memories.

As you can see, when you dig a little deeper and take a closer look, you will find the connection between art and our emotions is intimate. In times when you feel alone in this world, overwrought with emotion or maybe just a little confused by your thoughts; find solace in art.

Richard Tarrant - Bio

Richard Tarrant - Founder and CEO of PictureStore Pty Ltd
Richard is founder and CEO of PictureStore and has worked since October 2000 to make wall art accessible to all Australians. Google+

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