Sunday, July 8, 2007

What is art?

I was recently visiting LAEvanesce and the question was brought up and discussed; "What is art?"

I read through many comments and opinions; it's always interesting to me that people see things so very differently, and learning their perspectives gives me a wider scope for mine, even if I disagree. Kaleidoscopes are so fun, aren't they?

After sifting through all the big words and resolutely high opinions... here was my response to LAEvanesce alone:

Art is much more than what has been debated here. It is that which inspires our hearts and souls... be it nature, architecture, paint, photography, words, food, clothes, cars, planets and stars, music, dance, gardens or even speech.... it encompasses so much more than what lives in Merriam-Websters "Art" box, and ironically, artists live and thrive outside said box.

All the way through your piece and the ensuing comments, I kept thinking of Andy Warhol... what is art, indeed. Does it inspire you? Does it make your soul take wings and lift you from the confines of your tethered ground? Does it please and delight you? Then it is art, whatever it may be.

There are no levels, there are only opinions; one mans treasure is another mans trash, and one is no more right than the other, they are just different. When a person creates something, it is a tangible expression of that which is within them, and that alone gives it value. Whether or not it is appreciated by anyone else is irrelevant. It was important enough for the artist to create; that makes it worthwhile in their eyes, and gives it value.

Value is not determined by another, who cannot see it through the eyes of the one who made it, cannot see the meaning of the maker. But when we see something of ourselves in the work of others, when that connection is made... then there is value for US, individually, but that does not ever define the value of the subject itself to everyone as a whole.

~to this, I would add the following:

*Does one know the value of a macaroni necklace until a small child makes one for you, and gives it to you with all the pride and love in their heart... "Here, I made this for you!"... was there ever a sweeter gift of jewelry? Is that art?

*The wedding cake, before it's cut... holding mystery and sweet promise of pleasure to come, just like the marriage that it celebrates... is that art?

*The prom dress on the excited, beautiful young girl descending down the stairs to her waiting parents and her date... a work of art, no?

*The 1939 Ford, refinished, glossy, gliding down the street in the summer sun... art at work...

*The Parthenon against the backdrop of Greece, gleaming in the daylight... is this not art?

*The little flower growing against all odds out of the crevices of an old crumbly sidewalk; it's petals and leaves reaching upward, outward towards the sky... art in bloom?

*The footprints in sand, snow or dirt that are all that is left of one who has walked away, and the poignant symbolism touches your heart to it's depths... art of the heart...

Are not all of these, and thousands more little things that we do and build and say and create, when put together... the art of humanity? Is any more valuable than any other? Only on an individual level... and none is greater than any other on the whole. The value lies within the heart of the one who loves it.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore (the lion whose body is a work of art, and whose heart is the work of the world as one)


Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah) said...

Oh yes, oh yes, I so agree with your arguments. I had a debate recently with a man who aims to be a very literary writer and is working towards his MA in creative writing. I love to play devil's advocate, but my argument was much like yours. His of course, was to say that only writing which is literary, only art which provokes, is truly art. I say whatever moves you, whatever moves the creator, that is art - as you say, each to his own - though personally, chocolate box images don't do it for me :-)

Jon M said...

I always worry about 'what is art?'cos it taxes my simple a well crafted gun art? I don't know, but macaroni necklaces and wedding cakes are art that you can eat so I'm going with that!:-)

Anonymous said...

"Are not all of these, and thousands more little things that we do and build and say and create, when put together... the art of humanity?"

I'd say "yes" they are. I like your thoughts. Art moves you to a better place, and if a macaroni necklace gets you there, then "hey" it's art.

Jon M said...

Macaroni's winning so far! :-)

Anonymous said...

Life IS art. In every milisecond creativity is born. lm sure many people would be suprised if they were told they were an artist. It is one of humanities truths.

colleen said...

A good topic to discuss. My mother recently complained that she wasn't creative and she was reminded by an artist that her house is her art, the way she keeps it and her gardens is a work of art. Maybe art is anything that moves us to remember our humanity.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Hi Vanilla Atyllah!

I am in complete agreement with you... if he's aiming to be creative, he should open his mind more.


To a cowboy, a well crafted gun is art. Or a soldier, I suppose.
Art that is edible is lots of fun!

Ally girl!

YAY! glad you agree. What kind of art moves you?


It IS winning! It's pasta-p everything else! (read it out loud, it will make sense).

Have I warned everyone about Scarlett jokes? yah. well...


I couldn't agree more. Life is art. Beautifully stated. I think Shakespeare would agree, and then write a sonnet.


You are right on the mark, I hope your mother saw herself differently then, we all create wonderful things in our own ways, don't we?

Thanks all for the great discussions!!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

exskindiver said...

one thing i am sure of:
There is no mistake in art.

Jon M said...

There's no f in art either...did I mean that? :-)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


True, there is not. Isn't it great to have something that you can't make mistakes on?


OK on that note... I'm going to put a new post up!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

LAEvanesce said...

I can agree with you in a general sense; I was addressing art that is consciously striving to be, well, art. I suppose that some of the more poignant or picturesque things that happen in life are "art" in a sense.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Thou art so correct... in your own way.
I don't think there was a response here that I would disagree with.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I agree life is art. Whether it's a song, a painting, a photograph, a shoe (yes mr. Blahnik is an artist!) art is all around. It's up to us to notice it.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Amen, it really is, isn't it.


Alaleh said...

sometimes answers to "truth seeking" ? lies in direct experience..