What Is Art? But Is It Art?
Visit any art forum and at some time you will find rather extensive and sometimes often heated discussions on the subject of “what is art” or the more pointed “is it art”.
My opinion as to what constitutes art and “is it art” is rather simplistic for me the viewer, but not so simple for me the creator of a work.
As a viewer I immediately and seemingly innately know if a work I view is art or not.
What sets my criteria?
I’m unsure for the most part, but there are certain events that occur on a deep level when viewing a work that has the immediate effect of telling me “this is art”.
1. Emotional Impact.
3. Tonal Balance
5. Technique Used
Notice how “Technique” came in last? I don’t really care how a work was created to make what I deem as good art but I do notice it after the other criteria have fulfilled my senses.
Almost all of the other criteria could be placed under “emotional impact”. All of us are affected by color, composition and tonal balance to differing degrees. But the emotional impact that first tells me a work is “art” is when I feel something emanate from the image that speaks to an unknown sense within – it says quite loudly – “this is beauty”, “this is art”.
Was the work “art” to the creator? I presume that 99% of the time it is or why would the creator allow the work to be seen. Don’t we creators of images throw away works we deem as failures? Would Monet or Renoir have shown images to the world had they believed the works were not art?
Therefore, there is creator and viewer. I as the viewer felt the work within, looked at the work further and knew the work was “art”. The creator presented the work knowing it would resonate somewhere with someone – or at the very least hoped someone else would feel similar to what he/she did on completing the work.
Creator plus Viewer both deemed the work as art and thus it became so. Perhaps the viewer purchased the work, or a print of said work – reinforcing the issue that the work is “art”.
In far simpler terms, and terms I think most people would relate to I believe art is subjective upon the viewer “feeling” the work as “art” and the creator knowing the work is “art”. The two meet – oft times sight unseen of the other, and yet a shared sequence has taken place.
If someone purchases a print of your artwork what does it tell you? That the viewer saw and felt your work as “art”- saw and felt the work as you did when you created it. But is when “art” becomes “art”? Not necessarily, in my opinion. Much dwells upon the creator and what he/she feels at the end of the creative process – and most artists know. Many may change their minds about a particular work and hit delete; throw it in the garbage, or otherwise dispose of it from their sight – but rid themselves of the work they do! Many times I have been set to delete a work from a Print site only to discover the next day that someone purchased a print. It’s a sinking feeling to know you came close to ridding yourself of something someone else said “this is art” to!!
Art – Art is subjective in my opinion. The dictionary lays out subjective as -:
a. Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world: a subjective decision.
b. Particular to a given person; personal: subjective experience.
2. Moodily introspective.
3. Existing only in the mind; illusory.
4. Psychology Existing only within the experiencer's mind.
5. Medicine Of, relating to, or designating a symptom or condition perceived by the patient and not by the examiner.
6. Expressing or bringing into prominence the individuality of the artist or author.
7. Grammar Relating to or being the nominative case.
8. Relating to the real nature of something; essential.
Art is dependent on the creator.
To a lesser degree art is dependent on the viewer/buyer.
The beauty of art is when both metaphorically come together.
What is “real art” to you?