It started with a mutual favorite. We both held “Midnight in Paris” dear in our hearts. We had to watch it together some time. We had to. I was nervous. I started at the very edge of the couch and then slowly slid toward the middle as the jazzy tunes floated across the yellowed streets of Saint Germain and the peaceful wading of the Seine. I was suddenly nudged right against her. On screen, Hemingway was philosophizing about love; meanwhile, I was philosophizing about seconds of courage. My mind went blank. I reached for her hand. It started with a mutual favorite.
There’s a reason nearly every famous writer has tried to capture the elusive electric jolts floating in the air between two lovers and turn them into concrete words. There’s a reason sculptors, painters, directors, producers and singers continuously create works that illuminate the beauty and the pain of love. It’s because love, creativity and art are all intertwined. Sometimes, they even rely on each other. One might need love, or the lack thereof, to drag the pen across the paper or chisel divots in the stone.
It is no groundbreaking claim to state that love is a phenomenon that prances throughout the mind and dances on the areas of the brain responsible for unleashing artistic expression. But just as love has a dramatic effect on art, so too does art reciprocate the favor and highly impact love.
Art ignites love. “Midnight in Paris” sparked my romance. It served as a source of connection, and the idyllic emotions the film provoked swirled off the screen and nestled between the otherwise tense space between us, encouraging us to whisk ourselves away along with the promise of love instead of being bound by doubt or fear. Romantic hopefuls commonly bring a girl to the movies for a first date, hoping they will laugh together, sigh together or feel heartwarmed together. The movie acts as a third-party wingman that gives a common experience and a common emotional response that creates a bond between them. In “500 Days of Summer,” the two main characters break through the initial awkward barrier when Summer overhears Tom listening to the Smiths in the elevator and she proclaims her love for the band as well.
Art encourages love — it reaches out, collects it and then propels it through you. We were running through the Getty Museum. Her heels were clattering behind me as I held onto her hand by the tips of her fingers. The paintings whirled by. We were laughing. The brushstrokes that rendered a gorgeous scene or the tenderness of a passionate romance seeped from the confines of the gilded frames and enraptured us in its indescribable beauty. Once enraptured, everything else seemed more beautiful, especially the girl with an open-mouthed smile in my wake. A few weeks later, Ella Fitzgerald’s soulful voice emitted from the scratch of the needle as I peered across the candle-lit table at her eating the dinner I prepared for her. The music was soft and sweet, and it stirred up an ambiance in which love floated vibrantly.
Art preserves love. A common practice is to burn a mixed CD for your significant other, filled with songs that make you think of them for one reason or another. A single, fleeting moment can forever be captured by the guitar riff of this song or the chorus of that song. A passage from a novel or a line from a poem can perfectly express that particular feeling you had in that perfect moment. Usually, you don’t even consciously remember it — but when you come across that specific piece of art, it is like you hopped into a time machine and get to re-experience the electrifying moment over and over again. This phenomenon serves as a companion in unavoidable imperfect moments in the relationship and when you two are forced to be away from one another. It is a constant reservoir that you can tap into to stoke the fire when it’s not so bright or to pour a gallon of gasoline on an already vigorous flame.
Many people describe the undeniable influence that love has on creative minds. It has inspired countless pieces of art for centuries. But art is vital to love, just as love is vital to art.