Aesthetics: Variety Is Freedom

What is the sense of making art and being an artist if you do not have the freedom to create what most inspires your heart?

What is the sense of following trends in art? Perhaps to be liked, to sell, to be respected in the art world or to not feel alone and fearful of our true voice?

What about being free artistically and not trying to follow trends? What about knowing and following our voice so we can bring a different view to show a different form of expression, to create variety?

Do we have to talk about what everyone is saying to have an advantage? Maybe I want to paint flowers; maybe I want to paint my dreams; maybe I want to paint abstraction; maybe I do not want to paint about the political climate of the country and depress myself.

Where is the concept of following your evolution and intuition? Do all artists need to paint or write about the same topics that are considered relevant or in vogue at the moment to be considered right-minded or good artists?

In a time of spiritual and intellectual repression, in a time of the economy of attention, in a time of what is hot and what is not culture, how must art be? Where is the freedom of all type of expressions?


“But among the greatest enemies of the arts are the enemies that lie within, in the arts communities seemingly liberal demand that all discourse be reasonable, disciplined, purposeful, useful”

 – Jed Perl


I started this reflection with many questions; what a time to be alive, absurd expectations are made on bending oneself to the “regulations” of the artistic system.

I still feel it in my bones: how many times I was criticized for being myself, for not putting in my paintings what society or the art world thinks is relevant asking me to suffocate my voice in favor of the aspirations of others.

Non-Negotiable; this is the keyword. It is a matter of self-definition and protecting my identity, to gain strength as a creative woman in this world. I have to be alert from the poisonous requests.

As Robert Louis amazingly said, “to know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”

Unfolding art in complete freedom is crucial to me. To follow my inner guidance and gain strength, energy, and joy. Creativity and art flourish when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance.

I cannot live with the fear of a backlash or exclusion because I did not settle for the thematic standards and aesthetic expectations of the art world.

Various types of art should exist or coexist in harmony, oppositions or contradictions is harmony at the end. We grow and learn with many experiences and works.

Life needs beauty, relaxation, utopia, daydreaming, poetry, problem-solving, abstraction, and politics. Life needs it all, and this variety is what creates balance. When individual artists feel obligated to respond to a collective set of demands, there is a flattening that takes place.

I cannot allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other peoples urges for me to be more normal, more political or nicer. It’s selling myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate myself. I cannot sabotage my artist. Creativity is oxygen to my soul cutting off my freedom of expressing my art it is like being choked.


“Art is subjective. How people respond to your artwork is an emotional, visceral, personal experience that they have. You do not need to train to become better than somebody else does. What you need to train to do is to be more yourself.”

– Paul Klein


Part of living in a democracy and free society is that we all have to deal with artistic expressions or views that we don’t necessarily like or appreciate. These don’t mean that we need to suffocate, ostracize or exclude them.

Good boy, good girl system mentality is toxic and overwhelming. When art becomes a job, utility can sideline authenticity. The result will most often be dull, didactic art.

Artistic creation is a visual form of music and the artist the composer, art involves arranging the visual elements like line, shape, color, texture, tone, space, depth, rhythm, balance, emphasis, and emotions to create Variety.

Variety in the art world creates beauty, diversity, growth and, most importantly, freedom to show up as you are; having you wish with radiance and confidence.

I finish this piece with the therapeutic and encouraging words of Shakti Gawain. I hope that her words inspire more than me to create art in a space of courage and establishing a sense of safety which will enable us to explore creativity with less fear.

“What I am actually saying is that we need to be willing to let our intuition guides us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly.”


If you liked this piece, make sure to check out You Deserve The World


by artandotherstories

Emilia Duarte, Mozambican multidisciplinary artist/writer, painter-illustrator and clinical psychologist.


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