What Is Art?

OK, let’s get philosophical for a moment.

What is art?

Does it have to be meaningful? To whom? The artist? The viewer? Both? Neither?

Some say it must be expressive. Some say it must create an emotion in the viewer. Some say they can see things in a piece that were never intended by the artist, and that is what makes it art.

Many years ago, I took a class in analysis of art (in various forms). The instructor insisted that she understood the intent and meaning of each piece we examined. I questioned her. She shut me down.

I’ve met artists who told me that they make up some bullshit to explain a piece of abstract art to an interested viewer, and will often tell different stories to different people. The real “reason” they made any given piece: “I liked it. I thought it was cool.” Or maybe, “Yeah, I was pissed off when I made that. But people seem to like it, so…” Sometimes, it was, “Oh, yeah, I’d never put that on my own wall, but this subject sells, so I keep making lots more like it.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that art is like wine. You don’t have to be a snob to know what you like. If you like sweet wines, and the wineries keep producing sweet wines, go ahead and buy and drink it. Don’t worry about trying to get the “notes”; just enjoy it and buy some more. Likewise, if you like a certain type of art, please enjoy it, and don’t worry about what the critics are saying. If you are an artist, just keep making art, and don’t worry about what people say about it. Someone, somewhere, will enjoy what you make. If you are trying to make a living with your art, you might want to develop a style that people want to buy, so you can afford to make the kind of art you like.

Here’s a quick little something I made in Procreate:

What is Art?

Just a little reminder that there is no single, universal definition of art. It is what you make it. Just remember to keep making art, however you see it.

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