So the BIG question- What do you want to do at University next year?”
“Umm...I am thinking I will study Fine Arts.”


“Fine Arts? Why on earth does one need to study it?Why do you want to waste money on it when you can just as well do it at home? It’s leisure, not a career sweetheart.”


Do you know what such petty remarks make me? It makes me angry. It makes me bitter. It makes my blood boil, my veins ready to burst. It makes me rage (I make my poor parents listen) on the stupidity of people, society, civilisation and the entire human race altogether. Above all, and quite paradoxically, it makes me more focused and determined than ever to prove all these people wrong, to rebel, in fact pursue Fine Arts.

 


Many people still think of art as a trivial subject which helps society in no way whatsoever but is there only to please the eyes, to make the world “prettier” as many may put it. Such ignorant annotations have triggered anger among artists for decades, and there’s a solid reason behind it; don’t assume they are simply being delusional. Art definitely has its visual appeal- no doubt about that. But there is so much more that goes into making art stand apart from the craftsmanship and dexterity involved. The soul of an artwork is the idea behind it.Art is a medium to articulate oneself; some artists are seen expressing their emotions, fears and inner demons through art whilst some express their subconscious desires as a means of understanding oneself better. Art that has the sole purpose of looking “pretty” isn’t really art; it is better defined as craft. If you ask a random person on the street “What is art?” there is a great chance they might reply with a “Art is paint on a canvas. The more it looks like a photograph, the better.”

 

Art however is very contradictory in this notion. It would be foolish to label art to certain definitions. Art is never confined to any particular understanding and theories. It has no boundaries, no limitations and that is exactly why it is such a unique and useful tool to get an idea across to an audience. The ideas are inexhaustible and so are the means through which you come about expressing them. Art can be paint on canvas, it can be a sculpture, a readymade, an installation or even a performance; it can be realistic, hyper-realistic, surreal or abstract! And c’mon, how can one learn about all these topics in the comfort, or discomfort more like, of their own homes? One definitely needs to be surrounded by creative minds in order to discuss and bounce off ideas as well as criticise and get criticised for a better learning experience,

hence another point to add to my “Why I should study Fine Arts” list.


Most artists I admire are the ones who make controversial political or social statements through their art, keeping in mind that though art cannot change society, they can bring forth and high-light certain issues through their art in the hope of downsizing the issues they are raising. Art therefore can be an agent, a driving-force, for change; a different angle, a new perspective to look at things. Things haven’t always been this way. It all started in 1917 when Marcel Duchamp first created uproar in the art scene with his first readymade Fountain, a porcelain urinal which was signed “R. Mutt”. He challenged the art world’s view by breaking artistic tradition, discarding most of its fundamental values like beauty and artisanship, to make a statement that art should be engaging the mind more than the eye.

 

Ever since many artists have used their art to help society reflect and acknowledge the various problems in their community in the hope of bringing about social or/and political reformation. Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei is a perfect example of such an artist. Being brought up during the Cultural Revolution, a time of violence and destruction, had a major influence on the way Wei Wei viewed the Chinese government and society and this can be clearly reflected in his works. He uses his art as a metaphor for the censorship, oppression, and lack of freedom and speech in China. He hopes that by putting the Chinese government in the spotlight, the government will be pressured to change its policies and fulfil the demands of many Chinese citizens for a more democratic government. His bold, brave and controversial statement against a strictly totalitarian government has resulted on several arrests but that has definitely not put a stop to his antics.


Whilst some artists may choose to work in the social sector as an art therapist, helping people in prisons or mental care with their recovery, some choose to help society through several charity projects such as the Artists Help Japan auction where various artists donated their artworks in order to raise funds for the survivors of the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami. What I am coming to, and you might already have guessed, is that you can make a difference in society by being an artist. And if you think all that you read so far is insubstantial ranting, and then remember- We are all members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And though medicine, law, business, engineering, are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life, art, like music, love, romance, beauty, is what we live for. We live for our passion, and I want to too.