What is art for?

Mixed Media Painting created in the online class 'Lifebook 2014'

Sometimes I make some art. Maybe a journal, maybe a painting, or just a doodley sketch. Then my Inner Librarian leans over to take a look. "Hmm... " she says. "What is it for?" Thanks to both nature and nurture I am a deeply practical person. Art is fairly new but I have always been compelled to create. And always there is the question... what purpose does each creation have? One conclusion I often draw is that it seems easier to see what art is for if it is good art. But this is not a satisfactory answer at all. I get stuck in a loop of circular logic. 'Good' is subjective. Contextual. So in order to assess whether art is good, I need to know what it is for.  Something is 'good' if it does what it is supposed to do. So what is art supposed to do? Alain de Botton has given the matter some thought. I came across this great little video that articulates his optimistic view on the question. It's one of those funny things... most people that make art worry that it is not good enough, and most people that look at art worry that they don't understand it. Perhaps we are all trying too hard.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso