Why Art Needs Hope

Hope, they claim (well actually, Alexander Pope declaimed) springs eternal in the human breast.

A good thing, since it is hope that keeps us reaching for better things, that keeps us going forward even when the way ahead looks bleak.   Hope helps us move past our fears and reach out to others.  Hope allows us to imagine what could be.   As an artist I spend a lot of time hoping.

Imagining what could be and re-imagining what is is part of what artists do.  We hope that, as we imagine and re-imagine, we create work which communicates something essential.  That is the kind of hope that keeps us looking, thinking, exploring the world we live in.

Artists also hope, each time we pick up the tools we create with, that we will be able to use them well enough to create something that others will understand and respond to.   Sometimes that hope is quickly justified; sometimes success requires several tries.

Most of all, artists hope to be able to share, each one, our own vision of the world.  If no one sees – or hears, or touches – then why create?  It’s true that some things are easier to share than others, but even the darkest, most difficult creations are meant to be shared with someone.  Or many someones.

Which leads, sideways, to this thought: difficulties are part of life – if we never had to reach past them, would we need hope?



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