Art is essentially a means to imagine the impossible. It gives us the space to imagine things outside our daily experience. These imaginings can then inspire us to make changes, however big or small, to a world that previously seemed rigid and unchangeable.
We use art to see the world differently.
Since so much of our experience is visual, artists shape familiar imagery in unexpected ways. The resulting artworks are invitations to see the world anew. The beautiful imaginings of expressionist painters are great starting points.
Vincent Van Gough was able to capture his imaginings on canvas. That’s why his paintings remain so powerful even in our current age of digital imagery. But we should see his works as the beginning of the conversation.
What if we imagined the impossible in our daily lives?
The above image demonstrates art’s imaginative safe space. Familiar color and text can be inverted to challenge our habits. This particular inversion would be very dangerous on the road but here, as an image, it is safe to imagine the unimaginable. Of course we don’t have to act on our imaginings, the one above could be deadly. But upon imagining, we might change our course and decide to do something completely different:
The act of imagining always expands our thinking.
Behind art’s high concept, artspeak, and obscure lineage lies the genuine quest to see the world anew. Perhaps one downfall of contemporary American art is its inability to inspire this wild imagining in all of us. And even with an art “education” I can say that this spontaneous, childlike, unflinching imagination is the sum total of artistry… and the best art does it openly.
I encourage us to apply this impossible imagining to everything in our daily lives. And see where it takes us:
I hope this post has tickled your imagination, and that you will let it loose upon your daily lives… both the mundane and the profound. In future posts I will explore impossible imaginings in my own artworks and maybe some of yours as well.
Thanks for reading.