Art is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’. I think the concept of art is pointless. It does not have any use in any environment but academic. And even then, it mostly gets reduced to judging what is art, and what is not, what it looked like in different eras, and what remained predominant all througout. We never talk about art, we talk about what constitutes it. And before anybody makes the assumption that I hate it, it is actually quite the contrary. I am a musician, I write, I adore art museums, my whole lifestyle and personality revolves around the so-called arts. So let me explain.
When we say ‘artist’ we tend to think ‘painter’, ‘sculptor’, etc. We assume it is a person whose job has to do with visual media in traditional mediums. For other artists we use different adjectives in lieu of the word, referring to the subcategory of art in which they fit in, such as ‘musician’, ‘author’, and ‘filmmaker’. Art then, could be explained as the process and finished product in material or audio form molded from feelings and experiences from the artist, made to be experienced by the public (one or more people).
The problem is that if that constitutes art, then everything is art. When we speak, we want the listener to understand and feel a certain way, and we want a response which will result in us having a similar reaction. If someone says something hurtful during a discussion they want the person on the other end to feel… Well, hurt, pardon the redundancy. When musicians play a song they want the audience to feel what they were experiencing when they wrote it. Even mundane acts, like driving a friend to the airport and breathing can be expressed in an artistic way, though risking sounding pretentious in the process. When you inhale you feel alive, your cells get energy, and there is beauty in that from some people’s point of view. Others may call that stupid.
We can find beauty and meaning in everything because we are subjective beings. If we are actively looking for it any object, any action can represent a feeling, an experience, a memory, we just have to make the connection.
In short, we circle back to the discussion of what contains art and what is not. “Oh this is art!” “Contemporary art is not art!” “People just want to make a quick buck” “Is art elitist?” “Is it not?”. All pointless questions. I do not think we should eliminate the word art (How pretentious would I be to suggest that). I do think we should focus less on what other people think of art. After all, it was born out of the need of expression and individuality.
Art is everything and nothing, if you put your energy towards proving it. Even this article criticizing it.
(This was originally posted on November 29th, 2017).