Modern-day technology has bestowed upon us a myriad of wonderful innovations— most of which are created with the purpose of minimizing the time and effort it takes to make or do certain things. In other words, machines help us, whether at home or at work, with efficiency.
Believe it or not, this phenomenon even includes the process of making art.
(For the purposes of this article, when we say “art,” we mean tangible objects that include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, woodwork, articles of clothing, jewelry, crafts, mosaics, and architecture).
Machines can indeed make art— nay, mass-produce art— and it’s usually for commercial purposes. These processes help different businesses of many industries with their profit margin, in cutting the cost of paying for the human labor it takes to produce artistic items they’d like to sell.
Many (if not most) retail clothing, furniture, and home improvement stores— among many other industries— are inclined toward carrying these types of items. It’s an easy route to take when looking to sell consumers aesthetically pleasing items for a lower markup price, especially when compared to handmade items.
So since most of the pieces of art we embellish our homes with or wear on our bodies are machine-produced, does that mean handmade works of art are rendered obsolete and unnecessary?
We say absolutely not.
Let’s not forget what the purpose of art is— it’s an expression of a purely human truth, value, worldview, or emotion. It makes the surveyor feel something very specific to the individual themselves— this is where the unique beauty of art lies.
Handmade art has existed, thrived, expanded, evolved, and adapted with the ages for millennia for a real reason— humans need it to express themselves and to touch the eyes of tens to hundreds to thousands of fellow humans.
This is why we see people gravitate toward items labeled or marketed as “handmade” or “hand-crafted.” Although the item— be it a mosaic piece, dress, coffee mug, necklace, etc— might have some inconsistencies or imperfections in its work, that human touch of “imperfection” is what makes it the perfect piece to add to one’s collection— it’s perfectly unique and one-of-a-kind.
No matter its price tag, true art’s value can never diminish. Handmade art is simply inimitable, and especially not by an inanimate machine.