Aesthetic Emotions

Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world – the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air. Leonard Bernstein

Art is a union between the self and the other. Both the artist and the audience create artistic meaning through jolts of aesthetic emotions. Creative transformation requires a self-dialogue one’s unique inner world. Artistic expression is brought about through the application of the imagination. The unfolding of the work generates self-realization / actualization. Sharing the work removes the artist’s masks and lay bare the true nature of the individual.

Inspirational elements are gathered like grains of sand embedded in wandering soles awaiting revelation. Here and there are images, points of view, transitory tricks of light and shadow that accumulate as unseen overnight snowfalls. Then in a divine cascade subject and technique reveal the artist’s vision. After the lingering crescendo, comes the finale. That final satisfying moment is sublime. When sharing the work, if the piece’s metaphors and symbolism strike a chord within the audience there can be an outpouring of aesthetic emotions: epiphany, transcendence, awe, or simply appreciation of the dialogue with the artist.

In order to evoke a potent response, art should be appreciated on more than a superficial “I like it” level. There has to be something the audience can hold on to and make their own. There must be some commonality found with the artist. And this is where aesthetics enters. Art casts a wide net when it comes to what is aesthetically: beautiful, sublime, ugly, comic… Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder, and this too is true of art. Elements of the actual world experienced by others is incorporated into the design/structure as clues to discovery. If one finds beauty all around, life can seem like a masterpiece.

Any piece of creative work is a potential conversation between the artist and the audience. Whether or not the conversation expands or becomes a monologue depends upon the level of shared aesthetic emotions. When I taught poetry, the works of John Keats created many aesthetic emotions within me. My eyes would get teary and I would choke up as I described this miraculous tragic genius. I leave you with a few lines of his immortal poetry. I hope you enjoy communing with his sublime vision.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:/ Its loveliness increases; it will never / Pass into nothingness; but still will keep / A bower quiet for us, and a sleep / Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
John Keats

Published by cewheeler

Writer/Artist:12 years in China – univ. lecturer: writing,poetry,culture; editor – magazine/newspaper & actor. 40 years students of the Tao. Traveler. Father. Read my books at:

%d bloggers like this: