What is Beauty?

There are some whose idea of beauty is just too small. We tend to make snap judgments about what is beautiful, and what is not. But beauty can be strong and astringent, disturbing, shocking and dark. It can also be  easily overlooked and ignored. I am tired of our culture creating a formula for beauty and dictating it to the masses. Recognizing beauty is not about having good taste. Tastes change as we evolve as a civilization. Trends come and go. Beauty can be a constant. A sunset will always be beautiful, a new life entering the world will always be beautiful.

As a designer, you learn that certain compositions, colors, lines and placement make a better design. If you stick to these basic proven principles, your art should be timeless. Contrived rules without scientific merit should always be questioned. Rules like, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day.”

Explore the perimeter of “good taste.” Don’t get stuck in the rut of trends and fads.  Because while I’ve found that beauty is subjective and depends on the person, it usually stays the same. If I learn to recognize on my own what is beautiful, it doesn’t change. And if I train my eye and heart to find what’s beautiful in even an ugly situation or environment, no matter what happens, that is my constant.

I don’t want to be known for my “good taste.” I want to be able to recognize beauty in unexpected places, and invite others to see it too. Maybe give what’s repulsive a second glance. Great art hasn’t always been in good taste. Before the avant-garde art movements of the twentieth century, it would be interesting to hear the Authority on Good Taste’s response to Picasso’s Guernica. In my view “good taste” can be so confining and restrictive – to the point that it isolates true beauty. 

And here is the moral here. God doesn’t really have good taste when it comes to us.

Picasso said that good taste is the enemy of great art.

Good taste has everything to do with being cultured and refined. Art has everything to do with being human. That’s why I love the Bible. The humans in the Bible are not very refined. And neither am I.

People would always say when I was a kid and say cheer up, God loves you. I would say big deal, God loves everybody, that don’t make me special. That just proves that God ain’t got no taste. And I don’t think he does. God takes the junk of our lives and he makes the greatest art in the world out of it. If God was cultured, if he was as civilized as most Christians wish he was, we would be useless to Christianity. Because God is a wild man, and I hope that over the course of your life you encounter him. – Rich Mullins

Here is what I think – things are lovely not because they are beautiful, they are beautiful because they are loved.  There is something about the things or people you love that you are attracted to and find appealing. But I think we need to enlarge the circle of what we deem beautiful. Love is the vehicle for this. Love invites us as artists to take things that would be considered without value and give it value. Art can be just as much about creative solutions for our world as it is for our own enjoyment and to the glory of God.

What are your thoughts?

1 thought on “What is Beauty?”

  1. Sweet Evie,

    What a precious gift of God you are!!! Your unique perspective on life, art, and Jesus are truly something special! Your passion and authenticity truly sparkle in all that you do!

    Thank you for being EXACTLY who God created you to be!!! You are a rare treasure and you truly do make our world a better place!!!

    THe video was AWESOME by the way! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Hugs, HEidi

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