(Image courtesy of Pedro Ribeiro Simões)
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: Visual Art’s influence on the self

Visual art has garnered much praise for its aesthetic qualities and the beauty it evokes in an audience to this day. This doesn’t come off as too much of a surprise; art is a creative study meant to take an artist’s imagination and concepts and turn it into a work that holds emotional power. One of the most pivotal qualities of art is its ability to be celebrated.

However, art has qualities that directly influence ourselves, our emotions, and our way of thinking. These qualities may go unnoticed to many people; it’s an evident truth that visual art has visual beauty, but some are under the impression that beauty is all it has and it holds little else. This is far from the full scope of art. There are other details that serve other purposes: by either exposing themselves to or partaking in creating art, one could potentially have a learning experience, and perhaps even change themselves.

This already made sense in the scope of writing and literature, where reading about characters and learning about motifs could give a message and reinforce the mind, but other disciplines of art subtly partake in a similar process. A number of tests and studies have shown that visual art can work wonders that many are not aware of.

A study published on the US National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM) tested and demonstrated a positive mental effect in viewing art. Through exposure to visual art, participants of the study experienced an increase in psychological resistance, or one’s ability to resist stress.

It is an important quality of a person to be able to resist stress and prevent it from overwhelming them; some are unfortunate enough to have a constant struggle with stress due to the toll of their responsibilities. This makes the stress-relieving qualities of art important, as it can give aid to those who need it. However, there are other qualities that also prove to be beneficial for the mind.

The human brain is able to bend itself and adapt to a stimulus. This process is referred to as neuroplasticity, the idea that a brain makes connections and changes as a result of a person’s experiences. A study published on PubMed Central discussed factors that influence intelligence in a human’s brain, and results showed that a particularly large influence is the brain’s ability to make connections.

Hence, it is crucial for one to open themselves to new experiences and create new connections and pathways in their mind to mentally grow and stimulate themselves. This is an important process, of which visual art can play a great role in. Art stimulates communication between parts of the brain, making these important connections.

It shouldn’t be ignored that a great quality of visual art is its physical beauty. However, there are other subtle traits of artwork that can make it as beneficial as it is breathtaking.

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