Diego Arias Asch (1988) grew up in Costa Rica and is based in Amsterdam since 2016. Academically, he is a communicator. Money comes from this source as well. In the past years he moved from doing commercial to cultural to political communication, working for a medical cannabis lobby group and an award-winning Mayor. He has received training in academic drawing, painting, and 2-D animation. His artworks have been displayed in the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo (Costa Rica), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Perú), King Juan Carlos I Cultural Center (USA), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo (Spain) and Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual (Mexico), amongst others.
I believe art is a means through which our species searches for meanings and meaningfulness. Art is that exploratory process. It is a means through which artists articulate notions and sensations that electrify the air of a certain place at a certain time, thus their sensitivity. Yet, art seems to ultimately refer to patterns of our nature, of human nature. Patterns that have manifested in societal structures and individuals across history. Aesthetics come and go, they do tend to evolve and devolve. Themes remain universal. Art is a reminder of those patterns of ours.
I have come to believe that art is not only subject of interpretation but meant to be interpreted, and the same principle applies to another human universal: religion. When you leave room for interpretation, as religious stories tend to do, you keep the conversation going, they remain alive. And they remain valid as our interpretation, our projections on them, can change as much as we naturally do throughout one life and multiple generations. Mystery is precious and mandatory; good art contains it.
Meaningfulness in art making and art appreciation is linked to the inexhaustible quest to grasp meaning, some intrinsic value in our existence. The quest itself is precisely what comes out as meaningful to us, humans. We are exploratory creatures. We ventured out of the oceans, we stepped down the trees, away from the fire and the area it traced. This exploratory nature of ours has helped us go through freezing temperatures, famines and predators. Just to encounter new predatory conditions that we have had to, creatively, overcome.
Science is also within the range of the search for meaningfulness through exploration, but it operates on a different set of questions: How do things work. How have they come to operate in this fashion. What are they made of. Art reminds us that we have got a particular nature by evoking it. No wonder we treat outstanding artists as if they were saints, or prophets.
Perhaps science, art and religion do coincide in the question of what are human beings made of, but they do their inquiry in different grounds. For science the focus is in the body and the mind, for art it is the spirit, for religion it is how the body and the mind should manifest to nurture the spirit. For me, art practice is a method to explore and understand what religion should I practice; how should I manifest.