A Patron of the Arts

Devin Conway

Defining Art

A work of art can be defined as any creative project that is stimulating, thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing. 

In a day-and-age dominated by a limitless exposure to convenient forms of entertainment, it has become increasingly difficult to find albums, novels and films that actually have artistic value, and even harder to get people to appreciate them. 

Great works of art are typically inspirational and insightful, but they can also be therapeutic. They offer unique and relatable perspectives that can allow us to transcend our own problems in the solidarity of personal connection.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

I’ve heard plenty of people say that taste is entirely subjective and that people should be left alone to watch what they want to watch, read what they want to read and listen to what they wish to listen to as long as they are content with it.

I can completely understand the first argument that is being made, but the subjectivity in taste should amount to nothing more than a preference for The Rolling Stones to The Beatles or F. Scott Fitzgerald to Ernest Hemingway. 

What this subjectivity shouldn’t allow for is the legitimization of arguments that say Lil Yachty is a more important hip-hop artist than Tupac Shakur. 

It’s not that anyone is necessarily making that argument, but I feel as if our society now prefers meaningless obscenity to imaginative dissidence, which is what the former and latter musical artists have to offer, respectively.

The problem with the contemporary arts and entertainment industries is that far too often we look to be entertained in a sort of instantly gratifying way, and whether the corporatization of these industries has slowly desensitized us to mass-produced garbage or they are simply working to meet an increasing demand for it, there is no doubt that our standards have dropped significantly.

An Acquired Taste

Good taste is something you have to develop, and something that goes away if you don’t work at it. 

If most of your reading time is spent perusing cheap romantic paperbacks or BuzzFeed articles, you won’t be able to spot a novel with artistic value even if it’s ranked at the top of a list of 15 Books You Absolutely Have To Read Before You Graduate College.

Taste is also a completely relative phenomenon; that is to say one must be subjected to a number of creative works before they can properly judge them.

The Proper Task of Life

While I will agree that we are certainly entitled to a freedom of choice, I believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our fellow man to immerse ourselves in thought-provoking works, to occasionally lose ourselves in the fictional reality of a well-written novel, to silently reflect upon our own experiences, desires and inhibitions as we watch a beautifully-crafted directorial vision unfold on our television screens and to appreciate the songs that put into words those things we’ve always felt but never been able to properly articulate until someone else did it for us.