Art as reverence for life

Nil Inglis - Thinking Art Loud
2 min readJul 13, 2021


The artistic question is: how to express?

The fundamental question is: what to express?

I believe it must be life, the human element and experience,
for there is no other content in art.

One can deconstruct everything, and in the end be no closer to understanding or appreciating it.

Painting, for example, is a medium which uses surface to communicate depth (of understanding, of feeling, of experience…). That is a paradox and is the whole game of painting.

Music uses sound to communicate feeling, alchemically transforming noise or silence into harmony and presence. That is paradoxical and is the game of music.

So on and so forth.

It is in these tensions that mystery and miracle can be found, where inspiration resides. So with life.

In trying to disentangle the tension, contemporary art has succeeded in making bland, meaningless objects and artistic statements.

Form and intention always go hand in hand, and the intention behind most contemporary artworks is meaninglessness, by which the form chosen has also become meaningless, arbitrary, absurd.

Meaninglessness may be fun to dwell on for a while,
but it is not a viable way of life and it leads only to dark places.

It does not conceive of using the dark elements of life as a tool for redemption because it does not even conceive in the possibility of redemption.

It is up to us to ask for meaning from ourselves, from life and from art.

I don’t know what the fuck else there is to do.

So art as reverence for life is acknowledging that the highest, purest, most desirable artistic statement possible is: this is life (the profundity of that statement being absolute).



Nil Inglis - Thinking Art Loud

I’m a creative striving to create meaning and help others do the same.