Be creative, be free
Why try and categorize art?
Have you ever heard some people ask you if you are an artist? Or you feel like you are one, but then an acquaintance tells you that this form of art is a craft and you do not belong in the artist’s category? Are you sometimes afraid to let your creativity completely free? Do you hold it back because people around you love judging what you do and how you do it? We are here to tell you to let it go free, be the artist you want to be and use the tags and the headlines you want. Art is for everyone, and taste is a very private thing. You can share it, but you should never impose it! We decided to let ours free and forget about people’s negativity.
I came across a post today that was talking about terms used to define and categorize Arts. A debate was evolving trying to find the best definition for an artist-specific piece of art. Now we are not talking about defining the elements of art, nor do we mean the principle of designs in the art world. We are talking about putting various types of arts in different categories. The debate was on the classifications on the types of art, and the fact that one artist used a term that another thought was erroneous for that type of art. So many categories exist, fine art, decorative art, applied art, visual art, mediatic art, performing art, and it seems that, depending on where you look and in what country you live, the terms greatly differ.
After I read their debate, I started thinking about all those terms used today. Why would we want to categorize art in the first place? In our opinion, art is very personal. This is what makes it so interesting and unique. Even if two artists use the same medium and the same picture, their results, in the end, will be different. We have different tastes and appreciate different pieces. The emotions we have when we look at a work of art are distinct. Depending on many factors, we will feel joy, sadness, confusion, excitement, and so on. We cannot tell someone that their feelings are wrong or that their interpretations of a particular art are not the right ones. Art is unique, and so is each one of us.
How can we start questioning someone else’s art form when we might not even interpret it the same way? We should start by asking ourselves who is the artist and do some research on his background. What is he known for? Where does he live? Where did he grow up? Do both of you have the same culture and upbringing? Why would they be wrong when art is all about self-expression and sharing opinions? This would be like going into your neighbour’s house and telling them they have their decoration all wrong. They might be more modern than you, as you are a true traditional. Who would be right here? What if your neighbours don’t feel like they are modern because they have friends that are even more modern than them, so they feel they belong in the contemporary category? Would you open a discussion and fight with the whole world about who is right and who is wrong?
I think that art is so broad and can be intertwined in so many categories that it is useless to try and define further than simply “Art”. For example, in the dictionary, try to find the right category for a sculpture? It is classed in visual art because one of the definitions found for this term is “…or sculpture that appeals primarily to visual sense and typically exists in permanent form.”* Then we took a look at fine art and again sculpture was classified in this one “…and sculptures that are admired for their beauty and have no practical use.”* We went even further with our sculpture theme and looked at the artisan art category which also had sculpture “or sculpture, made in a traditional way by someone who is skilled with their hands”.* After some reflection we wondered, if we decided to sculpt a nice piece for our wall with some hooks to hang a coat, then what should we say to be in the right category to make sure no one complains? Do I have to mention all of them with an explanation, so I don’t have other artists on my back saying I have the wrong tag?
The same applies to different forms of art, where would a writer fit in? Does he have to swap around because one time he decided to write fiction, then he went with an illustrated children’s book, and after that, he wrote an informative “how-to” book? How confusing does that get for artists? Dancing is classified as fine art as in “no practical use”. What would a practical use be? This might be very different depending on where you live and your lifestyle. What about the fitness group teacher that puts a lot of effort into their choreography to keep everyone’s motivation high and help them lose weight? Is it still considered fine arts, because the definition would put that teacher as being a dancer? A Mortier is considered fine art in a museum exhibition, that same Mortier handmade by a herbalist is very useful to them. Where is the line between those two and should they fight with each other about the right term?
I know one artist who made a series of paintings for the blind to appreciate. You read that right! Let me explain the confusion of the term “visual art” as the category, defining that piece of art, which is the painting, and “for the blind”, as in cannot see the painting! He decided to use different textures and let people touch his canvas. This is a whole new level of art appreciation because if you could see the painting, you had a range of emotions and appreciation for the visual aspect. If you closed your eyes and took the time to move your hand around the painting, you had a different kind of appreciation, and a new set of emotions would flow through your body. Now the question is, what category would this be classified in?
The art industry is so vast, and there is something for everyone. Art for me is freedom of expression, no right or wrong, and no worries about not making it the “right way”. Even when you don’t particularly like one artist or a specific piece, you still get to experience the purpose of art. You get a story, you have a personal interpretation of it, and you feel different emotions that are personal to you. Art can be peaceful; it can be a way to evade the world when needed. It becomes therapeutic at that point; it keeps our mental health in check., which we all need at this point. It is an inspiring and fascinating journey. I think a definition would utterly limit what art is, and even the category mentioned above could prevent the evolution of the art world. It could also prevent the artist from branching out and experiencing, like the exposition mentioned earlier. In our opinion, the best term for all of them would simply be the art world of self-expression.
Another problem we found while browsing around was that the art definition is not only very diverse but becomes confusing. We might have to dig deeper on this one too. Have you been in this situation before, where someone tried to put your art in a category you thought was misinterpreted? Do you think we need to categorize art?
About the author
My life is full of roadblocks and experiences. I healed through writing and love doing it. I worked as a freelancer for a few years and still like having a few projects. Artist at heart and healthy lifestyle is what defines us.