Art is Advertising for What We Really Need

Art is Advertising for What We Really Need

At the centre of our societies is a hugely
inventive force dedicated to nudging us towards a heightened appreciation of certain aspects
of the world. With enormous skill, it throws into relief the very best sides of particular
places and objects. It uses wordsmiths and image makers of near genius, who can create
deeply inspiring and beguiling associations and position works close to our eyelines at
most moments of the day. Advertising is the most compelling agent of mass appreciation
we have ever known. Because advertising is so ubiquitous, it can be easy to forget that
– of course – only a very few sorts of things ever get advertised. Almost nothing
in the world is in a position to afford the budgets required by a campaign; advertising
is a form of love overwhelmingly reserved for those wealthy potentates of modern life:
nappies, cereal bars, conditioners, hand sanitisers and family sedans. This has a habit of skewing
our priorities. One of our major flaws as animals, and a big contributor to our unhappiness,
is that we are very bad at keeping in mind the real ingredients of fulfilment. We lose
sight of the value of almost everything that is readily to hand, we’re deeply ungrateful
towards anything that is free or doesn’t cost very much, we trust in the value of objects
more than ideas or feelings, we are sluggish in remembering to love and to care – and
are prone to racing through the years forgetting the wonder, fragility and beauty of existence.
It’s fortunate, therefore, that we have art. One way to conceive of what artists do
is to think that they are, in their own way, running advertising campaigns; not for anything
expensive or usually even available for purchase, but for the many things that are at once of
huge human importance and constantly in danger of being forgotten. In the early part of the
twenty-first century, the English artist David Hockney ran a major advertising campaign for
trees. image03 David Hockney, Three Trees Near Thixendale,
2007 At the start of the sixteenth century, the
German painter Albrecht Dürer launched a comparable campaign to focus our minds on
the value of grass. And in the 1830s, the Danish artist Christen
Kobke did a lot of advertising for the sky, especially just before or after a rain shower. In the psychological field, the French painter
Pierre Bonnard carried out an exceptionally successful campaign for tenderness, turning
out hundreds of images of his partner, Marthe, viewed through lenses of sympathy, concern
and understanding. In an associated move, the American painter
Mary Cassatt made a pretty good case for the world-beating importance of spending bits
of one’s life with a child. These were all acts of justice, not condescension.
They were much needed correctives to the way that what we call ‘glamour’ is so often
located in unhelpful places: in what is rare, remote, costly or famous. If advertising images
are to blame for instilling a sickness in our souls, the images of artists are what
can reconcile us with our realities and reawaken us to the genuine, but too-easily forgotten
value, of particular bits of our lives. Consider Chardin’s Woman Taking Tea. The sitter’s
dress might be a bit more elaborate than is normal today; but the painted table, teapot,
chair, spoon and cup could all be picked up at a flea market. The room is studiously plain.
And yet the picture is glamorous – it makes this ordinary occasion and the simple furnishings,
seductive. It invites the beholder to go home and create their own live version. The glamour
is not a false sheen that pretends something lovely is going on when it isn’t. Chardin
recognises the worth of a modest moment and marshalls his genius to bring its qualities
to our notice. It lies in the power of art to honour the
elusive but real value of ordinary life. It may teach us to be more just towards ourselves
as we endeavour to make the best of our circumstances: a job we do not always love, the imperfections
of age, our frustrated ambitions and our attempts to stay loyal to irritable but loved families.
Art can do the opposite of glamourise the unattainable; it can reawaken us to the genuine
merit of life as we’re forced to lead it. It is advertising for the things we really
need. Thank you for watching, liking and subscribing. If you want more, why not visit us in person and attend a class or take a look at our shop at the link on your screen now.

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “Art is Advertising for What We Really Need

  1. Space Babies says:

    I love the animations. But it's too bad the video presents the faults coming from human nature, rather than the capitalist society that perpetuates it

  2. Rea Kariz says:

    Art is not only helping us appreciate what we already have and finding beauty in every day life, it is also making us think. While advertisement focuses on us not thinking, art actually encourages us to look at our life from fresh (or old) point of view.
    Art helps us rest and recharge our batteries, while advertisement just drains us. Art reminds us what it is like to be human and often lead to catharsis. That is why art rocks and so does School of life!

  3. Minh Tuyên Ty says:

    What type of laptop did she use?

  4. Elif says:

    Art makes us see what is desirable in our daily lives, which we've forgotten about.

  5. gica craioveanu says:

    Make a video of Shakespear or Balzac!!

  6. Charlie Castillo says:

    Watching these videos by School of Life makes me humble and reminds me that I still have much to learn.

  7. MyArtJourney says:

    Earth without art is "eh".

  8. 出来ない子真希ちゃん says:

    Well, I personally enjoy paintings and drawings of more grotesque things involving themes like death, blood, gore, corpses, decay, inhumanity, slaughter, detached body parts or simply the idea of finding beauty in things, others would describe as distasteful. Does that mean I'd have to kill a bunch of people myself to really, properly "value" life? Just the fact that I like these forms of art doesn't make me a bad human being, nor does it mean I would ever want to do something like this myself.

  9. Harriet Bell says:

    My dog died two weeks ago. I am happy I was never that girl on the couch. Maybe because I'm a painter

  10. Rachel Evans says:

    we need furries irl

  11. Rachel Evans says:

    I feel like there is a lot of middle-class bias in these videos, especially around free things, anyone who is poor know that a lot of cheap and free things are way way better.

  12. Applehead Lover says:

    I love this speaking voice..wish I could see him…

  13. Iamnotpau says:

    Looks at a Bosch painting
    Yeah, this is truly what we all need and deserve.

  14. Mezurashii5 says:

    Yes, there is a low frequency buzz throughout the video, you're not crazy/there's no lawnmower outside.

  15. FAD III says:

    I love to hear you speak. I find your voice to be incredibly calming.

  16. Chloe Edwards says:

    Wow! What a title! Cheers to who made it.

  17. Pillow Nation says:

    I bought Things You Should Never Tell Children, its so charming!!

  18. Luiz F m says:

    Art itself is what we really need, advertisement art is what you don't need.

  19. Eduardo S says:

    Deadpool + Bob Ross is what we didn't even knew we needed.

    Happy little teasers, everyone.

  20. Bazooka Tooth says:

    “Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.” -Marshall McLuhan

  21. Gajanan Nigade says:

    The s s in this video are getting on my nerves.

  22. Friday We Are Awesome says:

    Advertising is (or should be) art for things we really need.

  23. Yatzil Collins says:

    You guys are welcome.

  24. Corban Sterner says:

    I'm glad this taught me what my art is trying to show me is important. sonic and shrek making out.

  25. Corban Sterner says:

    I'm glad this taught me what my art is trying to show me is important. sonic and shrek making out.

  26. Corban Sterner says:

    I'm glad this taught me what my art is trying to show me is important. sonic and shrek making out.

  27. Corban Sterner says:

    I'm so thankful this taught me my art is showing what's truly important. sonic and shrek making out.

  28. hyperlynXXX says:

    This is very selective.

  29. Deva-Putra Wardiman says:

    and that includes the free videos from the School of Life.

  30. iMeganeSara says:

    Art is the way of survival

  31. I Hate 2D animation profiles says:

    Modern art is Hipster Shit though

  32. Jesus Martinez says:

    Finally an answer to "what is art"

  33. Pat H says:

    Great video. Reminded me: I should be an artists, forget the rest.

  34. Forrest L says:


  35. Rob Vel says:

    This is one of my favorites!!! So good.

  36. Sebastian Elytron says:

    Unfortunately we live in a time where art is seen as more and more elitist, pretentious and highbrow. Regular folk are rarely if ever exposed to quality works of art, which have become a mere commodity dictated by economics rather than aesthetics. We're left with consumer level mass market advertising to satisfy our taste for beauty. Fine arts have to be more accessible to everyone if this video is to really hit home. (search for the "How the Fine Art Market is a Scam" video and watch it if you haven't yet)

  37. Soytu19 says:

    Of course. In my case i play the guitar and love music. The reason i like the guitar so much is because i have trouble expressing myself and letting myself be. Music is a way to talk to the Other and the others too.

  38. Julika7 says:

    In the last episode of my favourite political comedy show they said art is only showing the problem, not the solution. That seems to be a difference between art and advertising.

  39. Hamza Saleem says:

    Art as everything wise , teaches us that the most valuable things are the ones we take for granted , and the emptiest things are the ones we endlessly chase .. thank you SOL
    I'm your biggest fan

  40. DAVID SMITH says:

    Well I guess I need to think about this a bit longer, there is no mention of bad art and it affects. David x

  41. Knowledge Headquarters says:

    Imagine a world without art…

  42. alertonoff 4 says:

    ps first text not mine .. accidental copy / paste .. story of my process ;]

  43. Espen Mons says:

    If one sees advertising as art, it is really bad art. And bad art is dangerous in that it screws with our sense of meaning and and the way we identify. Bad art is dangerous in that it fails to do a lot of good. Advertising is really bad art. Yet it is by far the most produced, and most exhibited form of art in the western world.
    27th of November is the international #noadday. Please note.

  44. Espen Mons says:

    27th of November is the international #noadday. Please note.

  45. enqane says:

    Nice thought! One of your best videos

  46. Κωνσταντίνος says:

    Why paint trees or landscapes or people while you can experience them live?

  47. RoobehTunes says:

    Advertising is an art, commerce and curation hold hands.

  48. Sad Giraffe says:

    I'm glad this message is being shared. There seems to be an axiom that the truth needs to be painful, but I don't believe that. People are like kids, and the truth is like medicine. You could shove it down their throats, or you could hide it in their food.

  49. xylene says:

    That's a lovely thought. <3

  50. Philip Fry says:

    if you look at the common subject in art: naked women, dining and royalties I guess this translates to the need of sex, food and power.

  51. Ankon Sharma says:

    The Smart Country/City !!! please!

  52. Senmel says:

    Art works in both ways, creator and audience, while advertising works in only one way, from advertisement to customer. I think this is another difference between art and advertisement. Art gives us diverse experience so we can grow up. However, advertisement makes us just poorer. Either money or mind.

  53. Matt Mulugeta says:

    This video saved my life just now

  54. zoe fofo says:

    This guy make me sleepy

  55. zoe fofo says:

    I meant his voice is unintentionally ASMR

  56. Ben Blease says:

    What a fantastic video. You've managed to pinpoint why it is that one's soul always feels absolutely lifted and buoyant after visiting an art gallery, and conversely why the ceaseless barrage of advertising we're exposed to daily leaves us all so jaded.

  57. Luccas Góes says:

    Consigo colocar legenda em português?

  58. He Vorg says:

    Are there any more videos about historical figures or concepts arriving soon?

  59. Chandan C.M. says:

    Very well done 👏

  60. Monica Medina says:

    i want to see a picture of whoever writes these

  61. thewiseturtle says:

    Hmmm. I'm not entirely sure that's a good assessment. Not bad. But perhaps a better description of art is "communicating one's unconscious/emotional interior in an exterior way" in some sensual/sensory way. In comparison to science/politics which is more of an intellectual/conscious expression of one's interiority.

  62. Hussein Ghandour says:

    thank you school of life! I have a question: So by what you are saying doesn't a glamourous life make you happy, and shouldn't we go after it If we can? Plz answer me.

  63. Ladale Lee says:

    Earth without art. Pessimism would flourish

  64. atwaterpub says:

    Clever analysis, but it seems to me that the motivating spirit of art has almost nothing to do with the motivating spirit of advertising.

  65. supriyo chakraborty says:

    Best video from school of life.

  66. Lucas Guillemette says:

    Unfortunately many artists don't understand they're to compete against commercial advertisement. Too many are complacent in participating in a sort of self masturbating art world. But the stage is bigger and louder than ever and if you have something important to say you have to adapt to new rules. Art is more important than ever. Art out loud.

  67. Emmalie Mulholland says:

    *still life art

  68. Fluffy Clouds! 蓬鬆雲團! says:

    the highs on the audio are a bit harsh, makes it hard to turn up the volume actually

  69. Kelly Rabiosa says:

    I had never thought of it that way. Intriguing as always!

  70. Kyle Souryasack says:

    this is very specific to the kind of art in this video, so this would definitely not apply to most art, especially after the 19th century. I wish this video would address that instead of implying that this is the purpose of all art, because I expect this channel to understand the levels of complexity of the philosophies of art but this video seems to over simplify it a bit, and I feel this should have been a video essay about a certain movement of art instead of art in general

  71. ITSA VERMIN says:

    You sound like the narrator from little big planet 3. Pretty cool.

  72. Holden says:

    Advertising is poison for the soul.

  73. caspa7 says:

    The irony of this video was almost lost on me until the very moment the ad interrupted it.

  74. macronencer says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this video. I wish you had expanded beyond traditional fine art to include other schools, and also beyond the world of the canvas to include sculpture, music, writing, film-making, architecture, or civil engineering. Even a well-presented lecture can instil an appreciation of human worth; Inspiration can be found in pretty much all endeavour.

  75. Ahmad Ali says:

    تحية للمثقفين اللي جايين من سناب مالك نجر

  76. The_Clever_Merchant says:

    I like to draw destroyed cities and nuclear watelands.

    In the words of Jimmy: " postponing suicide for the slim chance that you might one day possibly see some glorious plague or pestilence bring horrible suffering to your hateful species."

  77. Nathan Is a Mouse says:

    So what's it mean that my favorite art to draw or look at is cartoon mice getting shoved into vaginas?

  78. 19th century man says:

    isnt art an advertising campaign for the artist…or was it the other way around

  79. Federico Jimbo Smithson says:

    I'm sorry but profit still in my top priority

  80. Sanjay Thomas says:

    That advertisement at the end. The irony is strong with this one.

  81. WSE says:


  82. Xcio Shapeed says:

    Sometimes we need lies to know the truth.

  83. Antonio De la Torre says:

    I love you, School of Life.

  84. regenfunken says:

    There's a wonderful video by the School of Life on how societies need art because we use it to say the things we cannot say in conversations (yet). I can't find it anymore though. Can someone please point me to it? Thank you! 🙂

  85. gnuffo06 says:

    I liked many of your videos but this is the most mediocre approach to art I have ever heard.

  86. alba tres valladares says:

    You are not taking into account the fact that all man made works are political and have an idiology implicit. So art can be a sort of counter-mainstream-culture, but it is definitely a social production and therefore is political as advertising.

  87. josski32 says:

    this is such a cool perspective I love this

  88. - Ika Trey - says:

    I'm a sophomore and majoring in art, I've never looked at art the way that this video described. I love it! <3

  89. Blue Dude says:

    Art is greatness and it is creative. You make new ideas,innovate,create, and build with it.

  90. Hogan Olbrich says:


  91. Blue Miaou says:

    sometimes i just feel so paranoid of forgzetting to like your videos

  92. Frederick Zorn says:

    Is it ironic that there is a pitch to look at the shop at the end of this video?

  93. WildMoonChild says:

    looks at my fanart of my otps
    cries in artist

  94. Bianca Borges says:


  95. o____o says:

    Not all advertising promotes glamour and not all art is about everyday things. Don't do a single angle, there are many more.

  96. Mestoqueck Der Schlanke says:

    The Albrecht Dürer pronounciation was on point 👍

  97. Aiden Pipe says:

    You guys are fucking legends. Thank you for your videos.

  98. CodeRevolution TV says:

    I just wrote a cool blog post on this subject, on my blog coderevolution ro: "All you need to know about advertising" – go check it out!

  99. we r an slave to evolution and what not says:

    This video is Art no doubt😂

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