I mean ART

A friend and I were talking about art recently and how it is or is not defined. Thought I could expand on a comment I posted elsewhere (about 12 down).

How do we define ART? You could ask an artist, you could ask an expert, you could ask a critic. Good, now you have five different definitions; yours, one from the artist, one from the expert, and two from the critic.

Over the years, and I have a few, I learned one that really works, for me, try it. ART is communication. It is a specific communication and it intends to communicate. Although one could communicate with only one’s self, ie. ‘art for art sake’, and that can be a valid art, it has a small audience. Most people driven to work in the field want to communicate with others.

As a side note it is a drive, it consumes you and restores you at the same time. James Benning (filmmaker) said, “You never clock out as an artist. You can’t quit the job either. It’s somewhat obsessive.” David Larwill (Australian painter) says, “Do it because you can’t do anything else. Once you’ve decided, don’t do anything else, …'”.

So therefore ART has to have a message. Something it is trying to say, something the artist wants to get across. Be aware however that if you explicitly state that message it moves away from art. It then becomes an advertisement, or illustration, or manual.

Because ART must elicit a contribution from the viewer/listener/etc. The music makes you move, tap your foot, dance. It makes you see an image in your mind eye or makes you feel some emotion. Likewise the poem, the book, the painting/drawing/graphic, or the movie. You experience it, it effects you. That is the communication of the artist.

And how good is the ART? How well that message comes across, now THAT is the quality of the piece. It has got to SAY something to the recipient or it is just “noise”. L. Ron Hubbard said, “Art is the quality of communication.”

That is what I mean when I say ART.


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