10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Art

Art is either an expression of someone’s character, someone’s taste, or a combination of both. There are many different types of art. There are many ways to create art as well as enjoy it. However, when it comes down to it, art is just another way to psychoanalyze humans. Understanding the psychology of art means understanding the perception, cognition and characteristics of art, as well as how it is created. Why do we create it? Why do we buy it? Why do we share it? What is it’s impact on our brain? There are countless answers to these questions and they are all enthralling. Here are ten things to know about the psychology of art.

From day one, art has been a psychological activity.

psychology of art
Since the very beginning, scholars and philosophers have seen a direct correlation between art and psychology. This relation dates back to the classical period of ancient Greece, with discussions led by people like Aristotle. It was quickly understood that the two benefit each other. The psychology of art has long been noted. Most scholars and philosophers have claimed that the art we create and the art we see is based on the illusions of the ordinary world around us.

Art is often used as a form of therapy.

psychology of art
Art therapy is a form of therapy that is helpful for mental health disorders. It is sometimes referred to as creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy. Many people who decide to pursue careers in psychology are interested in mental health issues. Within that group, many are interested in art therapy. The treatment sets itself apart because it involves a nonverbal relationship with your therapist. It may be helpful for clients who cannot easily communicate or communicate at all for a wide array of reasons. The therapy is meant to use the creative parts of our brain to understand a person’s mental health.

Art may help us identify who we are.

psychology of art
The psychology of art is clearly a fascinating topic. There are so many ways to see art and so many ways to create it. However, there’s a reason why people create the art that they do, just as there is a reason why people enjoy the art that they do. When attempting to capture what art is to him, Leo Tolstoy said, “Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to others.” Art may help us identify who we are by giving us an outlet. This outlet shows us what is going on inside of our brains. This outlet can be helpful for us whether we create the art or consume it.

Breaking barriers is art’s favorite job.

psychology of art
Art is known for breaking cultural, social, mental and economic barriers. You can almost say its full time job is pushing down walls. We’re not saying that art is ending world hunger or making everyone in the world open minded, but it does allow for these topics to reach a greater number of people. Art is a beautiful way to express the bigger problems around us, which is a mental game in itself.
Everyone can relate to art and what it is attempting to say. When something is visually appealing and catches our eye, we pay attention. Art may allow us to get a point across regardless of the viewer’s background, ethnicity, political opinions, economic status, etc.

Art helps children develop creativity at a young age.

The world is big, bright and colorful to children. They also love to create and get messy. Art may be the perfect way for them to develop the creative part of their brains. Toddlers have no fear when it comes to art – they color outside of the lines, cover everything in glitter, and learn the potential of their thoughts. They are not set on creating a finished product, they are simply creating!
Children’s psychology can be tricky sometimes while verbal communication is still limited. Art gives you an insight that parents, teachers and therapists otherwise may not see.

Art can be a mood booster.

Whether you are creating art or viewing art, the process can boost your mood. One of the reasons why art has the ability to do this because it engages our senses and activates the release of our neurotransmitters. These specific neurotransmitters are pleasure-related. For example, dopamine, which drastically improves our mood. Art may also improve our mood because it improves our self esteem. When we create something that we are proud of, we recognize our self worth and we feel a sense of purpose. Confidence can definitely be a mood booster.

Many full time artists understand mental health issues.

It is not crazy that most full time artists either struggle or have struggled with mental health issues in their life. This may be for a combination of reasons. Art is an easy outlet for mental health struggles. Creating relatable art may help the artist feel less alone. Having a way to get those emotions and experiences out may help the issues feel less intense. There is a psychology as to why people become full time artists. Many artists get labeled as “crazy” but maybe they just have their own way of expressing their psychological state.

The art of tattooing has many psychological factors.

The art of tattooing dates back many thousands of years. There is evidence that tattooing is an ancient arm form dating all the way back to 3370 BC. But why do we get tattoos? How do these tattoos affect us mentally?
Psychology Today analyzed the reasons why we undergo the painful process. The article explains that for many people, tattoos are a form of self enhancement. Many people see their body’s as a blank canvas and tattoos are a way to paint ourselves and improve the way we look. Another reason is the bonding that tattoos create. We create a bond with our tattoo artist through an intimate session. We also create a bond with those around us who have made the same decisions. Back in the early 1990s, Navy sailors would return home with tattoos from their travels, proudly bonding them with their brothers and remembering what they went through. There are many other factors as well, such as lowered anxiety, a feeling of uniqueness, and more.

Art enhances our memory.

As if art couldn’t get more miraculous…it may improve the lives of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions are chronic and drastically decrease patient’s memory skills. Creating art through the process of art therapy has been proven to increase memory and brain function. Patients have seen up to a 70% success rate!

Art is not an easy full time job.

Being able to turn your hobby and something you love into a full time job is beautiful. However for most people, it comes with a lot of struggles. The profession is unpredictable. The money is not guaranteed. There are slow seasons and busy seasons. Not always getting paid for what you love may make you bitter. When we cannot separate our hobbies from how we pay our rent, we can start to love our career a little less. There are many artists in the world. Being good enough to make it a full time career takes determination and commitment.

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