Art and Spirituality

An artist may create a work of art in the privacy of his studio but once created it is often put on display where one or more persons views it several times. Every time it is viewed, it produces an emotional impact on the psyche of the beholder. Every notable work of art must produce such an impact, and depending on the kind of impact produced, a certain karma – good or bad is produced for the creator- the artist. Using materials and techniques that are long lasting often creates many works of art that last for generations. Thus the karma they generate can be substantial.

This blog is one on art; therefore the spiritual details of the principle of karma are not discussed here. These will be found in another blog of mine devoted largely to spirituality ( Here it may be pointed out that every act of a human produces a karmic result. Every word spoken by a human too produces karma. Kind words produce good karma whereas harsh words may produce a bad one. Spoken words may be forgotten and words that are written down may not be read. However, works of art exist for long periods of time and once put on display can scarcely be ignored. Therefore the karma generated by them can be substantial indeed.

There are works of art that produce peace and happiness in the mind of the viewer or inspire the viewer to good deeds and there are works of art that can inspire anger or discord. There are some that feed the lower animal instincts of lust and violence. An artist must remain conscious of the kind of impact his or her work has on the world. Just as words make up sentences and paragraphs, colors and forms too have their language, a language that is understood not by the mind but by the psyche. Just as a single word can change the meaning of a sentence, a single brush stroke may do that do an artistic composition. There are collection of words that are beautiful prose and poetry, and there are collections of word that are nonsense; it is so with works of art too.

The soul of an artist must be a sensitive one in order to understand his or her own creations and the impact they make on viewers. It is possible for almost anyone to become a good artist given sufficient practice or apprenticeship. This is especially true of modern and post-modern art where the range of prevalent styles is vast and almost anyone may find a style that he or she may excel in. However, when it comes to developing sensitivity that is a different matter. It is not acquired as easily. One is either born with it or acquires it through deep human experiences such as those filled with tragedy, melancholy, beauty, love and reflection. It is for this reason that every good artist is also a deeply spiritual person. It is not surprising therefore that humans produce some of the finest works of art in places of worship, in communion with nature or in the proximity of loved ones.


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