What is art anyway?


I decided to write this blog because I like art and wanted more of it in my life.  I would like to work in a more creative environment but this is not currently possible (my job is very boring I’m an office clerk…)  so I thought I’d find a way to get my art fix in other ways (until a miracle, epiphany or some such life changing event occurs).

But what IS art anyway? And, I don’t mean the academic Britannica definition “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others”.  That’s an academic mouthful!

So just what is it?  Is it just confined to the so called “Fine Arts” of painting, sculpting, architecture, music and poetry?  Is scrapbooking regarded as art, or is it a craft?  What’s the difference?  What about face painting – it involves painting so is this an art?  Is it only regarded as art if you’re good at it and lots of people like it?  Can art be decorative as well as functional or does function turn it into something else?

Consider architecture which is regarded as one of the “fine arts”.   I could be persuaded to agree with that sentiment when I look at a structure like this:

Taj Mahal

Or this.

Sydney Opera House

And then there’s this…

Edificio Mirador in Madrid, Spain

WTF?  Surely this is not art?  Just because it qualifies as architecture does it have to be art?  If it is, it is really, really, really ugly art…

Or what about pottery from ancient civilisations like Greece or China?

According to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this is art but I’ll bet, at the time of their creation, the potter (artist?) did not think “wow check out my artwork, this is gonna be worth something one day”.  I’ll wager they were just doing their job and were merely hoping to be able to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

So if an item didn’t start as art, is there a “used by” date when it makes the transition from article to art?  Who decides?

I’m guessing I just demonstrated my lack of knowledge in this area but I’d be interested in your opinion.

What is art to you? When does something become classified as art?  It is art if it is beautiful but not if it’s ugly?

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