Did you know that when we say that it isn’t just our opinion? It’s actually a fact.
Yep, you heard me right. It’s a scientific ‘fact’ that artists are awesome (I feel like we should put that on a t-shirt or something).
Here’s my irrefutable proof:
Artists create beautiful works of art = Artists share their art with others = People feel better after viewing art = Artists are Awesome!
Now, I’ll admit there’s a slight possibility that my equation isn’t completely bullet proof. In my defense though, I’ve been an artist for more than 30 years and haven’t spent a whole lot of time working as a behavioral scientist (or mathematician).
We can look at the facts though, and by the end of this blog post I’m confident we can convince even more of the world that us artists are awesome!
5 Reasons Being an Artist is Awesome
1. Artists are Smart
It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing an advertisement for the newest ‘brain drug’ that promises increased alertness and improved attention span. Our society has been so focused on finding a drug to make us smarter that the brain health supplement industry has become a multibillion-dollar enterprise in recent years.
If you don’t have billions in cash sitting around right now and you still want a stronger brain, I have an alternate solution for you. Plus, it’s worth pointing out that my solution won’t cause you to grow an extra ear on your forehead (probably not a real side effect of brain drugs, but you never know).
Ready for the secret?
Be an artist!
Really. It’s that simple.
Paint, dance, sing, sculpt, or do whatever catches your attention, because doing creative things is proven to strengthen the “brain’s attention system, which in turn can improve cognition more generally.” (1)
Recent studies have also shown that creating art encourages new connections to form between brain cells. That’s great news for artists because brain connections are responsible for higher levels of intelligence. (2)
To put it simply, being an artist makes you a smarter person.
2. Artists are Happy
This one might be a little surprising at first considering the image many people conjure up of the brooding artist. But it turns out not all artists wear black, sit by themselves, and hiss when people walk by; and only a select few end up cutting off an ear.
In fact, generally artists tend to be a pretty happy bunch of people!
Just look at us for an example. The Master Oil Painting community has grown to over 40,000 artists, and as you look around you’ll notice that the vast majority of our interactions are happy, positive, and supportive. Just watch the comments on the blog posts, Facebook Group, and YouTube Channel and you’ll see the positive attitude most artists share.
Some folks might be incredulous right now, maybe saying to themselves that 40,000 artists isn’t a large enough sample size considering the world currently has over 2,000,000 employed artists, and millions more are creating art every day without officially calling themselves artists. (3)
So, are artists actually happier?
According to the experts they are! They have found that “engagement with artistic activities… can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states…” (4)
Yep, it turns out artists really do tend to be happier people.
Side note before we continue – You’re invited to learn more about the Master Oil Painting community, and the art training videos that are added every month. Maybe you’ll be the next person to email us saying “I have only just joined but I am loving what I’ve watched so far!”
3. Artists are Less Stressed
Did you know that over 100 million people die of stress every single year? That means that every 2 seconds 7 more people die as a direct result of stress, and that number hasn’t been declining in recent years. (5)
It may seem less surprising after looking at the common effects of stress according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Headache, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation to focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, sadness or depression, overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, and exercising less often. (6)
Whew… Are you feeling stressed about stress now?
Well you can relax, because the act of making art actually lowers stress levels.
A 2016 study showed that simply creating art lowered stress. In the study “participants provided saliva samples to assess cortisol levels before and after 45 minutes of art making… Results indicate that art making resulted in statistically significant lowering of cortisol levels (the stress hormone).” (7)
You know what that means right?
If you don’t want headaches, an upset stomach, or death (ya, that’s intense) you should be an artist, or at least spend a minimum of 45 minutes each day being creative.
4. Artists are Confident
Remember back to that self-esteem boost you got when you came home from kindergarten and saw your drawing hanging on the fridge.
It turns out art was, and continues to be, a critical component in a child’s development. It’s been shown to instill pride, develop real-life skills, raise test scores, and increase their feeling of belonging and attachment to a community. (8)
But what about when we reach adulthood and our parents stop hanging our drawings on the fridge? (Unless your parents still hang your drawings… Then I don’t really know what to say.)
No matter what age you are or what stage of development you’re in creating art encourages the release of serotonin (one of the most importatnt feel-good chemicals in your body), and sharing your art with others amplifies the effect even more.
High levels of serotonin are also linked with increased feelings of worthiness and a sense of belonging. And to increase serotonin levels in your body all you need to do is “challenge yourself regularly and pursue things that reinforce a sense of purpose, meaning and accomplishment.” (9)
So, if you want to be a more confident person it’s worth trying to paint more, and then make sure you share your work with others.
5. Artists are Needed
Imagine a world without artists…
Bleak isn’t it?
We wouldn’t have the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Pop Art from Andy Warhol, Abstract Expression from Jackson Pollock, or Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.
And since any form of creation can be considered art we also wouldn’t have the iPod from Steve Jobs, the light bulb from Thomas Edison, alternating current from Nikola Tesla, or cinema from the Lumiere brothers. Remember that for when some random guy at the grocery store tells you art isn’t ‘a real job’.
Study after study have shown that artists see the world differently. And I don’t just mean that they see the world through a different perspective, thought that’s also true, but artists actually see and experience life differently. Creating art can alter your brain chemistry and change how you process information. (10)
Which is why artists are needed more now than ever.
We need people to see problems from different angles and to create solutions never before thought of.
And I’d argue even more important right now, we need artists to spread beauty by creating art that only they can create. Sure, the world has seen a rose painted thousands of times already, but has it seen YOU paint the rose yet?
But what if you’ve already painted a rose? Chances are you’ve learned and grown since yesterday’s rose, which makes today’s even more important for you to paint!
The world needs more beauty in it, which means the world needs you!
So ask yourself, what can you create today to make the world a more beautiful place tomorrow?
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Awesome! I know so much if that is true. Been an artist my whole life and I am 83. I teach art to Seniors and they blossom in class from the. Creative process but also from the social aspects. Art is keeping us all Young!!!
No doubt Yvonne – teaching art is also a fantastic way to stay young and keep our minds active!
Love this! And yes, my parents still hang my pictures up, but on the walls instead of the fridge. 🙂
Aren’t parents a wonderful thing Jennifer! My parents have also been a great source of encouragement for me.
I know this is true! I have experienced the feeling of failure but I have also known the felling of exuberance when I completed a painting to my satisfaction and to hear comments of other people when looking at it!! There is such a feeling of accomplishment being able to paint a picture that brings myself and others joy! Especially something I never thought possible! Thank God for placing gifts in us that we have no idea that we have! I really believe anyone can paint with some instruction. The most important to remember when painting or creating is to not compare yourself with others because you are the only YOU God made!!!
Well said Alice – I agree wholeheartedly! I believe that once we understand the underlying principles of art any of us can become proficient craftsman and create wonderful things. Our desire with all that we do here with Master Oil Painting is to teach correct principles so others can become accomplished and unique painters – not to teach others to paint like me, but to hopefully exceed what I am doing and contribute to the wonderful variety that makes the art world so engaging.