This is the first in a series of personal blogs written by members of The Girl Gang, a community of bloggers who open a weekly Twitter chat at #thegirlgang. They will explore what art means to them, and what key paintings have inspired them. This first post is written by the founder of The Girl Gang, Jemma Morgan.
To me, art is as natural as breathing. It’s a huge part of my life; whether consuming it in galleries, on websites, discussing with others, experiencing through the power of social media, or creating it for myself. It’s part of the very nature of my whole being, as a person. From the moment I started drawing as a child, it helped me express how I was feeling, or ideas I couldn’t quite articulate.
I understand that not everyone feels this way, that they don’t consider themselves creative people. However, art is a fundamental part of life, and one of the most important representations of human beings throughout the ages. It’s part of our everyday life whether we realise it or not; through advertising, TV, film, photography, product branding, and so much more. It moves us, calls us to action, makes us question, doubt and feel things we wouldn’t have otherwise. It connects us across the world, and is a language everyone can speak. Art is a powerful connection of ideas and purposeful creation.
So it’s hard for me to accept sometimes, when people say they aren’t interested in anything remotely artistic. Of course you are!
Art can speak to us, and resonate deep with our own experiences. Whatever it is you’re feeling, someone will have created a piece of work based on this. Art is humanity’s way of showing, you are not alone.
I can remember the very moment I first saw an image of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I immediately felt a deep, visceral connection; and it has remained a piece that gives me those same feelings over time. I can’t tell you exactly why it does, it simply does. I’ve named one of the most famous works of art as my favourite, and as much as I wish I could claim something more obscure to be my most treasured; I’m not at all surprised.
The Scream is an image everyone knows, whether through the original artwork or the millions of references to it through pop culture. This is a perfect example of how one piece of work can become an idea that translates across the world, throughout ages, races, sexes, cultural backgrounds and more. Edvard Munch is one of the greatest Expressionist painters and regularly used his life experiences to draw inspiration from. Capturing the fragility of life, and the anguish he felt watching his father treat patients as a doctor, he created The Sick Child. Many of Munch’s work represent his truest feelings; feelings that we can all relate to on some level. Art completely cuts through everything, and leaves you with that one idea the artist portrayed.
This is where my love of art comes from so deeply. Art spreads messages of beauty, pain, hope, and understanding within moments. Immersing yourself in art, is immersing yourself in life. And through the practice of art, we understand ourselves better.
Throughout history, people would travel miles just to view the most famous works of art and see what the artist wanted them to see. People would spread the messages conveyed in artworks through letters, describing their power to others. Artists would hide secrets within their work, for fear of being silenced or punished. They persisted, for spreading ideas they deemed important was worth everything.
And now you can so easily experience those ideas from history’s artists. The greatest gift of today’s age, is that we can access everything so easily. Galleries are now found online as well as in your city. You can view the most famous works of art within seconds, and you can discuss the intention behind them with others across the globe. I have a particular love for studying Leonardo da Vinci’s work, discussing his amazing techniques, the codes and secrets he left within his work, and the historical significance behind them. With this ability to see ‘the whole picture’, art becomes so much more interesting. You can expand your mind, feel the power of art, and truly feel connected.
So what are you waiting for? Connect.
Jemma Morgan, blogger and illustrator, founder of The Girl Gang