I have been pondering what role art currently plays in people's lives.
At the Petersfield exhibition, which ended on Monday, I sold two items which buyers could take away immediately - I did not have the chance to meet them and find out what attracted them to the work. (The painting above was one of the works. It is a small mixed media experiment which I entitled "Hope".)
However, I was helping with the handout of sold items yesterday and saw the look of anticipation and joy as buyers waited for their items to be retrieved.
Even buyers which had bought ceramics rather than paintings, did not comment on the usefulness of the item. They spoke of their love for a design, a particular colour combination, the texture, often mentioning that they connected the work with positive memories and envisaged how it would brighten up their homes.
Many people also simply enjoy viewing art, being able to get up close to a work and to examine it in detail. Sometimes a piece can encourage their own creative explorations. I remember having several discussions with textile artists and embroiderers in Portsmouth, who got ideas for textile pieces looking at some of my work.
I always enjoy discussions with visitors and other artists about artistic processes.
I would never argue that art is anywhere near as important as food and shelter, but it can contribute to our mental wellbeing and lift our spirits, which can help us cope better in challenging times.
What do you see as the role of art?