Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is Art? What Do You Call What I Do?

To ponder: What is Art?

(the first video was my snow-day project yesterday)

So what is art (to you)? Can I call myself an artist because I've written a few stories? Are writers even artists? If I write "popular" fiction (genre or otherwise), am I still an artist?

Jeremy D. Brooks started the wheels turning on this with his post last Thursday. Thanks, Jeremy. I like it when my wheels turn.


Rebecca Nazar said...

If I like it, it's art. And yes, as a writer, I like to think I'm an artist. Now do others think so . . .

Katey said...

Oh those were really fun, well done videos! Awesome! I wondered which of the boys was reading "Roses are red..." on the first one (extra points for Pollock and Beethoven!), and the second one made me laugh out loud a few times.

Is it still art if you can pee in it?


I mean, the nature of the question says much about the nature of the subject itself. Leaving to one side aesthetic theory crap, I'm going to answer that last question for myself personally. And probably in an overly longwinded fashion, for which I apologize.

The line between art and not art-- because I do believe there is one-- is one part intention, one part reaction. I don't say that ergonomics can not be artistic in nature, but, unlike, say fashion (an equally useful and artistic form), office furniture is not generally created with intent to stimulate some kind of reaction in the consumer. The purposeful poking of the brain to create excitement, to create associations with the consumer's personal life experience-- which naturally leads to a degree of personal interpretation becoming important. I keep saying we're not special snowflakes-- if one person is stimulated in a particular direction, others will be, but there will also be dissidents in a few directions. ex. Andy Warhol's Marilyn x 100 might make some people sad, thinking of the way we use and abuse and eventually destroy our plastic icon people. It might make some people happy because Marilyn is a symbol of something they want, or want to be. You can say one is right and one is wrong, but by virtue of existing a a reaction, which was intended by the artist, they are.

If I don't stop myself now I'll start giving musical and literary examples, and I'm already hijacking your damn blog. But my point is that the artist attempts to stimulate a reaction through her particular medium, and gets it-- though that's the bit over which she has no control, it's also an integral part of what makes art (and the only reason it isn't, as Wilde ironically said, quite useless. Art for art's sake can go fuck itself).

Which makes you, my friend, an accomplished artist.

Aaron Polson said...

Becca - Of course they do.

Katey - You can hijack the blog any time you want. I hadn't even considered the reaction issue. True, art must be give and take. Creation and consumption. The funny thing about art for art's sake "fucking" itself...seems like it got a reaction from you. Just sayin' ;)

Heather said...

Art to me is based on emotion, it's presented from emotion and appeals to emotion. Saying no line needs drawn for art is like saying there is no art and by extension there is no emotion. IMO.

I don't draw lines for others, but I do for me. Art is something people LIKE to label, but though some things can be labeled, some things shouldn't be. Crap to one person is beauty to someone else. Only the individual can decide, which is why there is such a variety of "museums", "galleries", and other such mediums to showcase "art".

So yes, people will draw lines, but no one thing will mean all things to all people. The thought of calling everything art really pulls up emotion from that horrible dark place in me. There is a place for beauty and a place for logic, and as different as those two things are to each person, saying they are one and the same is demeaning to both.

Some of us have no choice as to how we express ourselves. Some of us have had our logic stolen from us by deeds and actions of others in our past and this is why we create. Anything that is a safe outlet, is my definition of art, whether I love it or not.

Katey said...

Ah but "Go fuck yourself" doesn't mean "I hate you." The opposite of love is really indifference ;)

Cate Gardner said...

My first thought was, 'I don't consider writing art'. And then I listened (and read) the Shakespeare quote and I changed my mind. If a writer can paint a picture in your head, then I guess yes, we can call writing art.

Tyhitia Green said...

Writing is an art and needs to be respected as such. :-D Cool Aaron. ;-)

Oh, and I have a contest going on. A chance to win a really cool horror novel.

Aaron Polson said...

Ms. Heather - Some tend to get pretty wrapped up in their labels...unfortunately so.

Katey - You got me there. No reaction, indifference, nothing... At least I hate my enemies, kind of like a form of respect. Man, my brain hurts.

Cate - You are most certainly an artist.

Aaron Polson said...

Tyhitia - contests make me happy.

Fox Lee said...

Art is subjective, so I have no good answer. I just know what I like!

Katey said...

Yeah and I hate those sliced up cows in art galleries... but that means I gotta count it as art. Hate would be like, "Wow, I want to take time out of my day to fuck you up personally."

Yeah my brain hurts too. But I'm enjoying reading all these answers. Good questions lead to interesting comments!

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - Very true. You express your subjectiveness on a regular basis. ;)

Katey - I am nothing if not full of questions.