Art as resistance

As I wrote on Instagram, I have been thinking about how to make my art more impactful and more meaningful. In this world full of power hungry people who don't care who they hurt as long as they will end up on the top, art seems to be a way forward.

There has been lots of attempts to make people be more productive. More productive in ways which build capital for the few. For a while there were lots of articles and blog posts about the hazards of procrastination and how you can be more productive. Then everyone started to burn out.

Now people are beginning to understand the hazards on productivity. A limited planet cannot take unlimited growth. People cannot be productive 24/7. Was it all just a scam to line the pockets of those whose pockets were already lined?

There are lots of benefits of making art. It's good for your well-being, it's good for your creativity and imagination. Making art can improve your resilience and even reduce your stress hormones.

While giving you new perspectives and new ideas, art can change the world. Reading fiction has been researched to improve your empathy. I wouldn't be surprised if other forms of fiction, such as movies and series, could do that too. Especially if you dive into many different genres and diverse fiction creators.

Art has no rules, no matter what some people may say. It is creative, it's imperfect, it helps you to express yourself. It provokes emotions and conversations. Art gives a voice to many types of people, not just the powerful ones. Your art may not become well known and make you rich, but it's yours to make.

Art has the power to bring change. It can educate, it can show different sides of the same story, it can make you think and want to learn more. It doesn't always get everything right. Art can hurt and it can be used to share harmful propaganda. That happens ever day. Just look at all the "copaganda" making people think the police are there to help. And all the movies glorifying war. Art doesn't have to get everything right. In the end it's up to you how you let it shape your world.

It's not just about art being a form of entertainment or even education, art can also be a tool to protest political and social issues. The impact is most vocally expressed by those who complain about politics in movies, series, graphic novels, games and more. For them it's only politics if it's something they find disagreeable: people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, feminism and other stuff that rubs their right-wing conservatism in a wrong way. Either way, their never ending whining does show how art has an important impact.

Under oppression art has been used to subtly bring forward different ideas. Lots of sci-fi literature has emerged from trying to convey ideas that would normally be censored. Historically women have been allowed to only write certain types of literature, but many of them have managed to use that as a way to push ideas that clash with patriarchy.

These days art is actively being marginalised with policies and by building automation for its creation. Here in Finland the monetary aid for arts and culture has been cut a lot in recent years. At the moment the Finnish government is planning to raise the value added tax of books, which would make books more expensive and less accessible. I won't even get into the subject of the machine made "art".

As something that can bring change and shape your worldview, art can be a form of rebellion and resistance. Due to the active diminishing of arts, the mere act of making art is itself rebellious. Making art can help to abolish (harmful) norms and boundaries.

Art isn't just for the selected few. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be successful and profitable. It can be self-expressive and weird and provoking. It can be subtle and soothing. It can be pretty, it can be gritty and dark.

However you want and can do it: Just make more art.

Mervi Eskelinen

Hello, I'm Mervi!

An artist, nerd and business sorcerer, dedicated to make world more beautiful and strange with art, illustrations and logos + to help you figure your sustainable business out.

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