October 1, 2021
When we think of experiencing Art, we usually think about standing in a gallery or museum. We tilt our heads to the side. We talk about the use of color. Or maybe we scratch our heads and move on to the next piece. But Art can be a powerful creativity booster in our everyday life.
That’s why Art is the perfect addition to the workplace or remote office. But what exactly is the effect of Art on creativity? And how do we know?
By examining the science, we can see that Art can increase motivation, spur on new ideas and clear out stress. This leads to more creative breakthroughs and better problem-solving.
We don’t need to mince words. We’re all going through a hard time right now. Staying at home limits the amount of new experiences coming in, and that puts the brakes on creative insights.
We need to make novel connections to come up with fresh, innovative approaches. But that seems almost impossible when you are stuck at your house.
This is one area where Art shines in bringing us back to our source of inspiration.
Looking at Art brings in those new experiences. It connects us to divergent thinking and fresh ideas. At the very least, it brings a little joy. Neuroscientists have found that looking at Art boosts dopamine — promoting a better mood and stronger focus.
Even in a traditional office setting, Art is a crucial part of keeping everyone inspired. A grey world of hallways, desks and whiteboards isn’t the most vibrant of all possible workspaces.
The twisting people famously depicted in Robert Longo’s Men in the Cities series, became instantly iconic, described as “monumental, stylized and suave.” The expressive faces, the drama of limbs — these works make you feel your body. You’re no longer banging your head against a logistical problem hidden in the cells of a spreadsheet. You are back in your vehicle of flesh and muscle and bone. You are moving in a new direction.
Our lives are filled with stress. The barrage of social media updates, news, work emails and the endless to-do list add up to an enormous psychological weight.
Needless to say, the long-term buildup of stress can cause serious health consequences. And it also reduces our ability to think clearly and focus. In short — stress kills creativity.
But Art, it turns out, is a powerful weapon against stress. To understand how it does this, we need to understand stress.
The human body releases a steroid hormone called cortisol. This helps us wake up and stay alert. As good as that sounds, there is a dark side. The more stress we experience, the more cortisol we pump into the system. That build-up of cortisol can end up causing depression, heart problems and worse.
In 2006, researchers at the University of Westminster brought city workers to an art museum for their lunch break. They measured their cortisol levels before and after the 35-minute tour. They found that, even in this short amount of time, cortisol levels were dramatically reduced.
By relieving stress, Art helps clear our minds and open us up to the moment in front of us. Think of walking into a room of Ed Ruscha paintings. The serene images. The wordplay. You begin to lean in, examine how the elements work together. You admire the wit, the restraint. You’re now a thousand miles away from the grocery list, the argument you had on the phone. That’s the beauty of cortisol draining away and the moment flooding back in. How
Productivity goes hand-in-hand with all of the above. If we are more inspired and less stressed, one imagines we’d be more productive.
And the science so far bears this out.
Dr. Craig Knight is a psychological researcher at Exeter where he has studied the impact of workplace environments for over 15 years. His research makes it clear: people are 15% more productive when surrounded by art and plants.
Imagine there was a product you could buy to boost productivity by 15%. It would become the most popular item in the business world.
Well, that miracle product already exists. It’s Art.
Think of the colorful pop art of KAWS as the miracle cure for the 3 PM drag and the Monday blues. Its dopamine pumping palette gets us back on track and helps us push through the lulls in our work week.
If you are de-stressed and inspired, if you’re eagerly taking on your tasks, you’re making room for that most mysterious of human qualities: creativity.
Creativity can’t be mandated. There is no Silicon Valley app that makes you problem solve and build things in exciting, new ways. That makes creativity seem so immaterial that you can’t influence it. But you can.
Art, more than anything else, allows us to share our lives with pure creative expression. Offices ignore the power of art at their peril.
Henry on Pop Art is here to help you through the discovery process. Henry can bring you exhibition quality Pop & Contemporary Art from all over the world, curated especially for your needs. So bring your environment to life with great Art — and experience renewed creativity today.
Consult the expert — Ask Henry
Artwork: Helen Frankenthaler – “Bilbao”