The ability to create art is a gift directly from God. Anything from God has power, so it is no surprise that what you create can influence what people do. It can impact the mind, emotions and will of an entire culture.

Culture is defined as:

“The behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought, especially as expressed in a particular community or period. A “way of doing things” for a particular group of people”.

Art is a method of communication. It can:

  • Tell a story.
  • Relay an emotion.
  • Reveal the unseen.

-Portray the seen in a unique way.

-Art affects people the same way that any other method of communication affects people. All things communicated enter the access points of the human soul called “the gates”. These gates are made up of the Eyes, the Ears and the Mouth. The Eye and Ear gates take in information expressed. What we see and what we hear directly influences how we think and how we feel. An artist can create a painting of a young child in the rain, looking cold and hungry. This image can touch the emotions of the viewer. The same viewer can read a political cartoon that is either for or against the reader’s political views. Again, this simple drawing can evoke emotions within the reader.

Think about how all art forms have the ability to connect and impact people. Those that receive what’s communicated artistically, whether seen or heard, think about or relate emotionally to what the artist communicated. A familiar song can remind the listener of a period from their past. A movie about street car racing can motivate movie goers to drive fast on the way home from the theater.

So, how does visual art lead to affecting people and the culture that they are in? Here’s the path:

-Visual Art communicates a message to the viewer. The message communicated affects what people think or how people feel:

What you think and feel leads to actions.

Marketing and advertising professionals do this everyday. Their goal is to stimulate a response from consumers using artistic elements, graphics, color, sound, music, video, etc. The fact is that these elements employed properly influence how we dress, what we buy, who we find attractive, where we eat, etc. Your art has the potential to stimulate an invisible, intangible thought is one thing. The concept of that thought or emotion making the leap from the invisible world of the mind to the physical world as an action is what’s really miraculous when you think about it.

-Actions repeated lead to habits (good or bad).

It’s been said that if you do a certain thing at least 21 times, it will become a habit. Of course, habits come in two ways, good habits and bad habits. The principle of repetition works both ways.

-Habits lead to lifestyle.

This is where individual or collective culture resides. This is where those “behavior patterns” that I mentioned in the definition of culture take root.

As an example, some may be familiar with “Bratz”, a line of dolls targeting preteen girls. Illustrations of these characters can be found on packaging, t-shirts, book covers, lunch boxes, book bags…everywhere. The imagery of these characters portray young girls with “bedroom eyes”, heavy makeup and exposed midriffs. Now, whether or not you find this look acceptable, young girls are influenced by the overall message communicated in the design concept as to what clothes are “in” and what they should wear.

Visual art for generations has been powerful enough to influence culture. Since art is a vehicle that relays ideas, information and emotion; what you create can influence what people do.