Connection through Art.
Within every form of art is a human or the aspects of nature. The psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, identified what we know as the defense mechanisms; that of which protects the ego during its most vulnerable moments. One of those defense mechanisms that the human being utilizes, is called sublimation. Sublimation is a function that a person demonstrates to transform socially unacceptable idealizations and impulses into acceptable actions and behaviors. Anxiety, sadness, and other feelings are often expressed in acceptable ways in the use of sublimation. Art is by far one of the most popular usages for sublimation. This varies from paintings, performing arts, writings, sculpting, etc.
Mood shifts are often the effects of the expression of art. In specific, a term called catharsis, which can be described as the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions. Aristotle (1992) concluded that dramatic tragedy had a cathartic effect; tragedy was said to arouse the emotions of pity and fear in order to discharge these feelings and leave the viewer feeling purified and purged. Freud (1928/1961), too, espoused a cathartic view of the arts, arguing that artworks allow both the creator and audience to discharge unconscious instinctual wishes resulting in pleasure and relief from tension.
There are some core emotions that are familiar to all human beings. Such basic emotions may be expressed and interpreted in different ways depending on the environment. Emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. Universality is a feature that gravitates each of us to the relatedness of these emotions. With regard to the arts and its expressions, the connection is created through universality.
Art- making is, among other things, a form of meaning making, a form of communication, and a form of emotion regulation (Winner, 1982). A study from (Drake & Winner, 2012) suggested that activity of art-making is both therapeutic and redirects our thoughts, and keeps us from ruminating. Art also facilitates social activity which binds us to humanity and is a good reminder of how human we all are.
Aristotle. (1992). The poetics (T. Buckley, Trans.). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
Freud, S. (1961). Dostoyevsky and parricide. In J. Strachey (Ed.),
The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 21). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1928.)
Winner, E. (1982). Invented worlds: The psychology of the arts. Cam- bridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960–1988). Untitled, 1982. Acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick on canvas, 72 1/8 x 68 1/8 in. (183.2 x 173 cm). Collection of Yusaku Maezawa. © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Licensed by Artestar, New York