Art & Your Social Life: Five Key Connections

Social artwork has been a cornerstone of culture and civilization since the dawn of humanity. Every region of the world, from the macro to the micro, has a unique sense of art, influenced by and influencing the local society as a whole. For example, the local art of Seville, Spain, will look very different from that of Auckland, New Zealand. Even within the same country, regions can have distinct styles, such as in Mexico.

Artists produce works based on their surroundings, upbringing, and personal concepts and issues. As a result, artists can often be seen as a microcosm of the areas around them. In turn, when someone else owns a piece of that expression, it can bring some of that passion and meaning to their own life.

Art is highly subjective and will mean one thing to someone and a different something to everyone else. Art can be an expression of creativity or a political statement. It can be a piece of wall art, a sculpture, a painting, or some other form of artwork. Some people may create art without even knowing it.

Because of its variability, art can act as an avenue to understand each other better. Whether you’re creating, buying, or displaying, art affects your social life! Today, we will review five key ways art can connect humans.

Art is a Form of Self Expression

Whether someone is making the art or simply a patron of the arts, it tells a story about them. Visual arts bridge the gaps between language, ideology, and verbal communication and help us express emotions, values, and inner thoughts. Creators and owners of art alike display an extension of themselves through the project.

As a creator or buyer of social artwork, the piece displays a vulnerable facet of their lives to others. To outsiders, these vulnerabilities are signals that tell a little bit of the person’s story. These little personality fragments can act as common ground, needed to make or deepen a connection.

For example, if an art student is drawing in a courtyard, another student might take an interest in the sketch and initiate a conversation. Another example would be having a coworker over for dinner who admires your home art collection.

Showing another side of yourself to others is a way to strengthen relationships and even weed out bad actors. As an example, art could always be perceived as political. So if someone you know has a strong, negative reaction to a piece of art that aligns with your morals or ideologies, then you might want to limit or cease any future relationship with them.

Art Makes You Healthier

Art is deeply influential on our emotions and overall health. There are strong correlations between improved moods and interacting with the arts. This is especially true with social artwork pieces.

When viewing a beautiful art piece, your body releases a combination of hormones and neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins — directly challenging anxiety, stress, grief, and depression. In addition, blood flow to the brain increases by 10% and sets off a string of critical thinking. This overall improves your brain health and neuroplasticity.

But what about physical health? Well, medical patients exposed to inspirational and personally significant art pieces tend to heal faster with fewer resources. This is because art and medicine simply go hand in hand.

When you’re healthy, you’re more likely to be social. You’re more likely to find joy in even mundane things. When physically existing is not a battle, opportunities for social nourishment come easier.

People, especially in Western cultures, do not want to be perceived as weak or a burden and tend to cut themselves off when things are not looking their best. However, people can use art in tandem with more traditional healing methods to bring that spark back to people.

Social Artwork Teaches Life Skills

Art is a way to learn a multitude of life skills, such as motor skills, collaboration, and communication. This understanding is why having robust art programs in schools is so important!

Common milestones for young children include their ability to draw well-known shapes such as hearts or smiley faces. Not only is this a form of communication, but there are also physical mechanisms working there as well. For example, the ability to grip a pencil, crayon, or marker, as well as hand-eye coordination, are all skills that people must develop over time, rather than ones that come innately.

Occasionally in life, collaboration must come into play. Working on a group project in school might have had a creative aspect, which required honest and forthcoming communication. Sometimes art is used to communicate with people. Either way, no one is born with the ability to express themselves right out of the womb perfectly — it’s a process of practice and learning over a lifetime.

Society tends to praise better communicators and view them as leaders. That’s why text-based social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn, are so popular. However, there are still places for non-verbal communicators to win, such as the visual arts, and they might thrive somewhere like Instagram or Youtube. Despite everyone’s individual communication strengths, art is a way we can become closer to others.

Art is Cultural

As mentioned, every society on earth has a distinct cultural style of art. This can be as broad as the anime and manga that comes out of Japan, or as granular as the different and distinct neighborhoods of San Francisco. But, overall, culture and social artwork breed community.

Think of the performing arts, for example. Those with similar musical tastes will have plenty of shared common ground to talk about and can even use that love to break down language and other cultural barriers. Of course, the type of hip-hop music that comes out of England sounds very different from hip-hop from the Southern United States, but there are still instances of shared camaraderie over the topic.

Whether your community is based on your geographical location or a shared love for a medium that exists internationally, these common interests allow for an entry point for new relationships. Visiting an art exhibit featuring a specific artist means that everyone else attending already has a commonality, which people can leverage for social interaction.

Art Brings Change

If art could not change the world, statues wouldn’t be toppled, and people wouldn’t burn books. Yet, those events occur, and therefore, art changes the world. Art can be a focal point of protest or even the result of an event. Large-scale projects open the doors to create opportunities for convergence.

An example of a collaborative piece of art is the AIDS Memorial Quilt. It is a 54-ton quilted living monument dedicated to more than 110,000 people who have died of AIDS and HIV. It is a reminder of the suffering endured by those affected by the disease. A more positive example is the performance piece 7,000 Oak Trees by Joseph Beuys, an environmental project of planting trees in Kassel, Germany, with the help of volunteers.

The opportunity to create something bigger than any one person is an opportunity to make connections. However, art doesn’t necessarily need to be a large display of politicism or reverence to create interpersonal connections. Sometimes it can just be wine tasting and painting, or taking an online class about macrame.

Improving Social Development Through Art

Art can improve your social life by creating opportunities to meet more people, hang out with them, and create a base level of mutual understanding. Expressing yourself through art allows others to see you as a complex, multidimensional being. Owning art pieces can act as an extension of your values, which others can use when forming opinions about you.

Art improves our health and hones our skills. While not everyone can paint like Rembrandt or Michaelangelo, there are still other teachable moments within the creation and consumption of art. The crafting and observation of art bring out the best in us physiologically, creating a more fulfilled and vibrant life.

We even receive art that responds to the current times through a combination of political, economic, and social movements. It can influence the event’s trajectory and provide clarity and context during these times of change. The way the art manifests on a larger scale becomes a defining moment for that place and time, integrating itself into the DNA of the community. This can be seen in home and office art and many other places in our daily lives.

Overall, art and social artwork in particular, improves your social life because it simply brings people together in more ways than one. If you want to start your own collection, check out to spark some inspiration today!