In ancient times, art had a purpose, a meaning to exist, from the paintings on the caves throughout ancient times, classical times, medieval times, Renaissance period, Baroque period, etc. Art was used to teach, to immortalize people, and tell moments in history, religion and mythology.
Artists were storytellers.
The artists used to have a purpose, a big role in society, they were the storytellers of their epoch, of their society, of their time. Their art was used to teach people something, to show them something majestic.
What about today?
A bunch of lines on a canvas, a bunch o geometrical forms on a canvas, a bunch of blobs on a canvas, photorealism*, weird performances that look more like psychological experiments, a bunch of trash in a corner of a gallery. Does that convey any mean? Any purpose?
Art evolves with man and society.
Today, art reflects the artists' personality. S/he's feelings, tastes or simply his/her ability to copy, to evoke or to protest.
Art is a vital part of society. Society needs art to express its time and the mindset of its people.
Art will never be obsolete, because art is EVERYTHING, art is EVERYWHERE, it is the beginning of communication.
I always wanted to be an artist (in the old Master's sense) but I had so many doubts, in terms of money, in terms of meaning and role in society. I never wanted to just survive. I always wanted to live and to live well and have fun and be happy and give the world a contribution and make a living of my art.
Then I realized that those doubts that I was having was the same doubts that musicians had when the boom of mp3 and downloads started out.
"What am I going to do now? I just lost my means of sustaining myself and my family? Am I still relevant? Am I still needed?"
Then I realized that I had two choices: swim against the tide or adapt. But how can you adapt without loosing your core self in the process?
[You do that] By being the best in your field, by improving yourself, by believing in your vision, by believing in your work and the story you're telling with them. By believing in the contribution you're giving to the world.
And people who think that they don't need to think about their role in society will never get anywhere or do anything significant, because we need and we are impacted by the lives and works and contributions of others. That's just how life works. And people who think that being a misanthropic artist in your own corner of the world is enough, they might - too late in life - realize that they haven't impacted anyone's life, that they haven't served the world, contributed with anything meaningful and they haven't lived, because they decided not to share with the world their skills and perspectives and points of view.
Imagine if all the great discoveries were never shared. We would still live in a cave or maybe had ceased to exist.
Because that's what life is: sharing
*photorealism was a movement from the late 60's and it is in full power in 2018