As you know, I’m an avid art collector and fashion lover. I’m delighted by the unique vision of artists and designers, as well as how their work is infused with their individual cultures and experiences, which are then re-interpreted by the buyer. It’s as if the beauty of each piece gets a new vision each time someone admires it, like a visual re-cycling.
I’m constantly inspired by the effect beauty – pure, simple beauty – has on our lives. We are changed and made better by it. Not everyone agrees, though. Some people look at beauty in narrow terms, especially when it comes to fashion, makeup, or decor. They see it as frivolous, vain, or devoid of function.
I couldn’t disagree more. The emotional response to beauty is reason enough to seek it out.
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being.
“The Rhodora,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
We experience beauty through all of our senses, not just visually. We hear captivating music and the giggle of children. We’re intoxicated by the soft touch of cashmere and silk on our skin. A taste of home-made peach ice cream can sooth and delight. The scent of jasmine after a storm and freshly mown grass can transport us back to our childhood.
All of these things are lovely, pleasing, and, by definition, beautiful.
Beauty is alive all around us, pushing us to notice it, appreciate it and find it. It demands our attention and rewards us when we give it.
Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.
Elisabeth Kübler Ross
Beauty also evolves and transforms. A butterfly loses its protective chrysalis in the process of becoming a vivid, elegantly airborne creation. A couple grows old and their love becomes deeper, and stronger, welded together by the fires of conflict and loss, but consistently healed with love and commitment.
And beauty can command our attention, if only to call attention to something else. Recall how We Are Project Zero commissioned a series of 54 stunningly beautiful ocean wave sculptures and stationed them throughout New York’s boroughs as a way to raise awareness and money for our damaged yet critical oceans. Through this project, beauty, in all its forms, became a tool to help save something that was once resplendent.
Beauty isn’t frivolous or unproductive. It is a driving force of awe, appreciation, and invention. As Emerson wrote, “beauty is God’s handwriting.” I couldn’t agree more.
The next time you encounter a piece of art that moves you or a scent memory that takes you back to another time and place, remember that these are things of beauty. And that is proof enough that beauty is its own reward. Enjoy freely!