The human experience is a messy wreck of happy circumstance, bumbling and humorous mistakes, and woeful tragedies. To put it simply, it’s a wreck. It’s also all we’ve got, and one thing we all have in common is the human condition. Illustrating the shared experience of being a human brings relatability to art, and this is what makes art such an emotional entity.
Illustrating sadness is a common theme in artwork. This may be because it is a therapeutic release for the artist. Sadness can be seen in the weathered hands of a man who is not long for this world. It can be seen in a person observing children and yearning for one of their own. Disasters, war, and death are human experiences that are illustrated through art and show sadness.
Another emotion commonly illustrated through art is happiness. Light dancing off water or shining from the eyes can reveal happiness. There are also things that are inherently happy such as balloons or sunny skies.
It is because of the human experience that these types of items and settings mean happiness.
To make someone laugh is not the only purpose in humor because humor is not always synonymous with funny. A dog tipping its nose into a garbage can may make people laugh because they can picture a dog’s happiness along with the human rage upon finding garbage all over the kitchen floor. Facial expressions can seem funny or peculiar in a way that is humorous. Overt humor is easily illustrated through context, but covert humor is subtle.
The humor may lie in the juxtaposition of time periods or the playful use of color. It may be that a person recognizes shared behavior in art that they thought was their lone experience. Humor is a complex part of the human experience that is accurately captured in art because it is illustrated. A picture is worth more than “a thousand words” because a thousand words cannot communicate the human experience as effectively as visual art. Humor is a good example of the reasons why this is true.
Illustrating the human experience is an essential role of art, and it is one of the roles in my art that bring it value. It does not have to be a historical account of feelings documented with detail to ensure accuracy. Instead, it is about being able to relate to the world and the people in it. We all have a shared human experience, and through art, this can be recognized.
Have a great week!
dei gratia, Milessa