What Is Art?

What does art mean?

What Is Art?

An artist by the name of Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you can make others see.” Over the years many people have questioned what the true definition of art is and what can be considered art. According to Google art is, “works produced by human creative skill and imagination”, but once again what does it mean? The meaning can go far more beyond than just what us as human can create with our imagination. When I think of art, I think of how humans connect their perspective of the world in connection with their emotions to be able to create art.

Once again, art is a personal view of the world and how it is shaped by our feelings and the environment we are in. A wise person once said, “the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known is art”. For that same reason, I believe art has no limit; we can’t really decide what is art and what is not art because it would be like telling a person how to feel or how not to feel. Art is such a personal action that many of the times we see pieces of art explain a story, memory, or even a moment in time. Many of the times the artists will also try conveying a message and make the audience relate or feel some kind of connection to the piece. A great example of this would be a great Spanish painter, Francisco de Goya. A painter who first used bright colors can be understood that went through mounts of depression or sadness when he suddenly began using dark colors and evil figures in his works of art. When one looks at these dark paintings such as the detailed painting of Saturn Devouring His Son, a pagan god who eats the headless carcass of his son. Another example, would be his painting of the Two Old Men Eating Soup – an art piece that one can feel the darkness of the image with the representation of a man basically starving to death trying to maintain life while one of the other man eats with a malicious grin on his face.

Another important factor that we need to take in when thinking about art is that we live in a world where everyone is different in many aspects; many of them coming from our views on culture and religion. The beautiful thing about art is that once it is created it can break the bridges between the differences of people and connect them to one another. A perfect example of a type of art that does this is music. Music has always brought people together no matter race, ethnicity, culture, religion, space or even age. Let’s take for example in 2010 when the FIFA World Cup was happening. An important part of the FIFA is the main song they choose to represent for this special event; when Shakira (a Columbian artist) decided to sing a song that included a variation of lyrics of English and Swahili people all over the world connected through the song. Even if they did not understand the meaning everyone around the world on the media was listening to it and it made all these people that were already sharing the love of soccer feel even more united; even if you weren’t watching the FIFA you knew about it because of the song. Music isn’t the only type of art that brings people together, other types of art such as literature and films do so too.

Nevertheless, when we think of art and the amazing things it helps us do, we may find ourselves asking, what is considered art? How can we as amateurs or professionals have a say in what can be considered art? It is said that anything that is a product of the human condition, experience, or element of imploring emotion is to be considered art. This means that if the audience or the viewer has come to understand, relate, or empathize with any creation that we have sought to produce in order to demonstrate the message we want to convey, then it is art. An example of this very question is Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. This piece created lots of controversy over why it could or couldn’t be considered art because it was, indeed, a plane urinal. Duchamp took the urinal out of a plumbing supplier in New York and then submitted it as a work of art (that was denied) in order to change the viewers perception with an everyday like object and challenge the way we look at what can be considered to be art and what cannot. You may ask yourself that if a urinal is considered art, does that mean there is nothing that cannot be considered not art? I believe that yes, there is not no right or wrong as to why something or a product can’t uphold the label of art. Once again, art is final creation of the message of a point of view we want to give out, and if at least 1 out of the billions of people that exist in this world grasp that idea then it is art.

An important note to also be aware of how art is labeled and is in fact considered to be beauty. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary beauty is defined as, “qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.” In other words, beauty is then considered to be anything that brings us to experience this feeling of connection toward this person or thing. Art is so many ways is beautiful and thus, considered to be beauty because of the way we are able to feel scared when watching a scary movie, to feel sad when a character gets killed in a movie, when we sense the sadness in a painting, or even when we feel love in a poem. All of these are examples of how we as humans are able to connect with different types of art and how our mind reacts to it, thus making art to go hand in hand with the definition of beauty. Art is beautiful in the sense that we as artists are able to put our own perspective, our mind view on the world, our own emotions and feelings into this product and having someone else view it. It is fascinating to understand how we are all different and art gives us the power to be able to express our uniqueness and make us feel less isolated from our view and make us feel more connected with our surroundings. For that same reason is that art is beautiful, because it gives us all an individual chance to be able to put out there in the world what we as an individual, as a creation of nature, feels, thinks, and acts as opposed to the other billions of people who then feel, think and act differently than us.

There is around 7 billion people around the world alive right now. Each and every one of them have their own idea and perception of how this world works and each of them having their personal feelings about it. I believe that if I were to create some kind of art product in which a person or people took exception toward my artwork, I would defend it. I would defend my art piece because it is a product of what I, me, myself thought about and put my energy into to it to be able to express and liberate my mind from a feeling or idea without having to feel like I am the only person in the world reacts, thinks, feels, views that certain way. I would defend it saying that is a piece of art because even though art may have a definition of what the process is, art in reality does not have a definition of what art actually means because it is a product of what we want it to be. Art in itself cannot be defined by anyone. If we gave it a real established definition to the word, it would lose its purpose of being something more than just an action, but a way of going through life. In other words, art is a way of living by being able to be open to other people, being able to understand one another without judging, being able to feel safe in a world that can be so cruel at times, and being able to feel like you’re not alone in this world.

Once again, you may find yourself thinking then, what is art? Art is what you want it to be. Art can be a way of life, an action, a hobby, an object, literature, music, film, etc. Art has no limit to what it can be because once we limit it to what it cannot be then we wouldn’t have the freedom to call it art.

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