Much of the artistic process takes place alone. Writers sit alone in a room and type away on a computer or scribble on a pad of paper. Photographers take photos of other people, but afterward, their work is often done alone in a darkroom or on a computer. Sculptors sketch live models, but later they do their three-dimensional work in the solitude of their studios. Regardless of how little human interaction there is during the creative process, though, creating art is inherently a social act.
Some artists are fond of saying that they create for themselves and not for other people, but this is mostly an illusion. Unless the created work hangs on a wall in a private room in the artist’s home, the art becomes a way of connecting with people. Whether it’s a painting in a gallery, a song on the radio, or a book on a library shelf, art’s purpose is to affect an audience—to elicit a response. Sometimes the result is a discussion among academics, and other times it’s an introspective moment in the life of one audience member. Whatever the response, a dialogue has taken place.