Are Love and Art Related?

Are Love and Art Related?

“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is Art.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered what makes people creative while other people are not or what that driving force is which puts us in front of a sketchbook, a dish of clay, a computer screen, an instrument, or in a dance studio?

I’ve been a creative person since I was just a child, creating elaborate scenarios for my super hero action figures and drawing constantly, on whatever I could find to draw on.

But, it’s always eluded me as to why I spent all my time being creative, especially when my parents and siblings, weren’t especially interested in the creative arts.

In my experience, the word “Art” is a lot like the word “Love.”

Love, as we know, is one of the greatest mysteries in life. It’s a long-debated subject that scientists, philosophers, and artists have been arguing, trying to understand its origins.

The question is whether LOVE is an intangible, extra-natural emotional reaction that comes from a higher, inexplicable power or is there an actual scientific explanation behind the strong feelings we experience in certain situations?

Well, it’s been proven that Love can be measured by the chemical changes in the brain. Reactions of different chemicals, blending together to create an eruption of sensations the body responds to.

For example, when testosterone and estrogen levels are heightened, we become Attracted. When pheromones, dopamine, and adrenaline levels rise, we become lustful or we desire something.

When hormones like vasopressin and oxytocin (also know as the “cuddle hormone”) kick in, then we experience Attachment, like when a mother bonds with her newborn child.

I’m certainly no expert in all this, but it’s a subject I’ve been interested in for years and thought would make an good topic for discussion. In my research, I’ve come to understand how these chemical reactions drive us to act in certain ways toward certain people and in certain situations.

Of course, there’s another position that’s worth discussing. The concept that human beings were actually designed to have these chemical reactions,  by Nature, God, or whatever creative power there may be in the universe, for the simple sake of human procreation to keep the species alive.

This extra- or super-natural intervention of the human species is sometimes referred to as “The Divine Plan,” or “the will of God,” mainly because Love is often viewed as a spiritual experience. 

For generations it’s been debated and continues to be so, even now.

But, what does this all have to do with ART?

Back in 1986, a man named Robert Sternberg, a professor of psychology at Yale University, proposed his groundbreaking, Triangular Theory of Love.

Sternberg’s interests were in the fields of Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity:

Wisdom, referring to instinctive knowledge gained from personal experiences throughout our lives. 

Intelligence referring to learned knowledge gained from educational studies. 

And Creativity referring to the culmination of instinctive and learned knowledge, exhibited through our reactions, impulses, and expressions.

In his Triangular Theory of Love, Sternberg expanded his research, going beyond the scientific, chemical explanation of Love. The three points of Sternberg’s theory are:

1. PASSION: Which can be associated with physical arousal or emotional stimulation toward someone or something

  • like, a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement
  • a strong feeling of aggression or even anger
  • or an intense lustful or romantic desire


Which is the sense of attraction, closeness, and attachment toward something. Intimacy creates a bond that goes beyond PASSION and releases tension to create feelings of comfort, ease, and familiarity.


This is the conscious decision to maintain an agreement, promise, or support of loyalty or devotion. 

This Triangle Theory of Love is a good way to tie the scientific, chemical reactions to LOVE AND the DIVINE PLAN to provide an overall explanation of what LOVE could be. My interpretation is that:

LOVE could be perceived as a chemical reaction in the brain, initiating impassioned impulses which lead to intimacy and commitment, driven by a creative force of nature, designed to perpetuate the longevity of the human race.

Okay, so again – what does all this have to do with ART?

Well, if we replace the word Love with the word Art and revisit the entire discussion, we can apply the same points as to where the passion, intimacy, and commitment for Art may come from.

Going back to the beginning, it may be safe to conclude that Art – or more specifically, Creativity – begins with a chemical reaction in the brain. Maybe the same chemicals in different combinations and delivered to different areas than Love… Testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, adrenaline, and so on.

That “Divine Plan” – the fortitude and tenacity of that creative force of nature which drives passion, intimacy, and commitment – remains the same, except instead of procreation, it’s focused more on the expressive communication of thoughts, ideas, and emotions, but with similar intent.

With Art, we’re passionate about our work, ready to defend it, argue it, indulge it, and protect it from any indignation, no matter what form it might come in.

With Art, we’re also very intimate in our process, immersion, and execution. We treat our Art like a child in one moment, a lover in the next, and like a cherished friend in the end.

With Art, we’re committed to our craft, leveraging our abilities, experiences, and perspectives, always trying to reach new levels of understanding and excellence.

So, when we compare the similarities between Love and Art, there’s definitely a unique relationship. Abstract concepts that seem unclear until we look more deeply at them. 

In contrast, f there is truth in a comparison between Love and Art, then perhaps there is also truth in a similar comparison between Hate and Destruction, the latter being a contrast to Creativity.

With Hate, it’s probably safe to assume that the same chemical process happens in the brain, causing reactive impulses of passion, aggression, an intimacy in the form of revulsion – and in most cases, a specific proclivity toward negative perceptions.

And with Destruction, the process of negative reactions and impulses where, instead of building and creating from a productive, positive foundation – it’s a breaking down and deconstruction in an unproductive, caustic place.

Overall, we are the average people in the world and we develop relationships with family and friends, and experience Love that brings us a positive, productive measure of passion, intimacy, and commitment with those we hold dear. 

And the same is true for us – the average artists in the world – whether we’re musicians, dancers, rappers, poets, or painters – we experience Creativity that brings us a positive, productive measure of passion, intimacy, and commitment with the work we hold dear.

Of course, in contrast, the same results can be assumed for those who experience a negative, unproductive measure of passion, intimacy, and commitment, for which the results are typically disruptive or unwelcome.

And if you are the type of person who is not completely sold on the idea that Love or Art is solely the result of a blend of chemicals that cause reactions, and that there could be a more super- or extra-natural intervention involved, then it may also wise to believe in Divine Accidents, as well.

Legendary film director, Orson Welles, believed that many great moments in his films were due to Divine Accidents, which may be otherwise known as unexpected and unintentional mistakes or mishaps that lead us toward wondrous discoveries and alternate results to what we had anticipated.

For centuries, many famed artists claim there was some Divine Accident or influence to many of their greatest works. 

But with Divine Accidents, it can be as simple as going into the wrong store and meeting the love of our lives or for an artist, it can mean spilling paint on a canvas and having unexpected results that change the way we paint. I think of Jackson Pollack who’s accidental spilling changed the course of abstract art.

For me, I had my own Divine Accident at work, many years ago. I was the senior designer on a major project, and my team and I put together a dozen concepts to present to a difficult client, who, unfortunately, rejected all of them.

I had run out of ideas and was exhausted. My boss was concerned because we were now on a tight deadline. It was late in the afternoon and I was stuck – feeling panic, as I had no idea what to do!

I took a break and went to the restroom to wash my face and freshen up. As I splashed water on my face, I also splashed it all over my shirt. I stood there, looking in the mirror, feeling like an idiot.  I just wanted to give up and go home. 

But, as I stood there, looking in the mirror, I noticed the light was hitting the water in my eyes in a strange way causing a sort of kaleidoscope effect to my vision.

Suddenly, it was like a truck running over a stop sign – I saw a whole new concept that I hadn’t even considered before! I raced back to my computer, put together a whole new round of concepts based on that kaleidoscope effect, and got it ready to show to present to my boss.

She looked at it, confused because it was SO different from anything else we’d pitched. .

“Where did you come up with this?” she asked, and I replied, “In the bathroom!” and we both laughed nervously as she sent it off to the client.

To our shock, the client responded immediately, approving the new concept with some very minor changes. They congratulated us on a great job and my team and I celebrated our success. 

I’ve seen those kind of divine accidents throughout my life and my career, so yes – I’m a firm believer in them.

But, I’m also a believer in the science behind Love and Art, as well, and cannot deny the fact that chemical reactions in our brains plays a major role in heightening our awareness, driving us to produce, and seeks out positive reinforcement from others to keep us coming back, over and over.

What are your thoughts are on this unusual topic?

Thank you so much for checking out my today.  As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and I’m grateful for your time. Stay well and God bless!