Art on Our Walls Improves Quality of Life
by Michael Damico
Why does it feel so much better to have art on the walls rather than bare walls? This is an interesting question to me. I have always known this phenomenon to be true, but I have never asked why. That’s surprising to me because as far back as I can remember, one of my favorite questions (even as a little boy) was “why.”
How did I miss this one? Well, I do want to ponder this a moment. I would also like to open this up for discussion. Our comments are disabled now due to the amount of spam we kept receiving, so please feel free to simply email us your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to get scientific here about this a bit. I believe the reason wall art feels good and improves our quality of life is that it disrupts a monotonous surface with harmony and a pop of something extra. Of course, we also know from neuroscience that seeing beautiful art registers in the same part of the brain as falling in love. And the same can be said of music.
In fact, we can easily compare the harmony of wall space to a symphony. You may not hear the bass tones and undertones of the entire symphony, but they are there. What we usually pick up on are the higher and more crisp sounds. This is the case with most music, actually. So, let’s call the walls and its colors the bass tones or the foundation for the entire piece.
From there we begin building music by all the crisp accents. Alone they are nothing, but together with the foundation it creates something pleasing. This creates a significant contribution to our quality of life.
This is totally subjective (as it should be), but the principle is the same. Humans will always try to find or make harmony out of almost anything. And a bare wall is like a band with only a bass section. It’s the icing on the cake to have a visual break in the general with something specific. A pop of color here or a piece of art which can evoke memories or emotions along with a visual effect of color.
Really, it’s quite a complex answer as to why it feels so much better to have the work hanging on display rather than a bare wall. But the interesting thing about feelings is that they don’t need the satisfaction of the explanation to make it real. It happens whether we know it or not.
I think that is a really beautiful thing to be a creature (as are all of us) which has an ability to break down massive amounts of data, visual and emotional, and make a good feeling out of it. The intuition of Hey, that’s a pretty picture on the wall! is a quantum leap of organic technology. But we humans do it all the time. Without even thinking about it. Because we subconsciously look for ways to improve our quality of life every day.
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson