First, the disclaimer: In my opinion, there is no definition of art. Art is anything that the creator believes to be art: sketches, decor, paintings, or architecture. A well-designed vacuum. I don’t get to say any of it is not art, whether I like it or not.
I do, however, specify that the artist must believe the work is art, not just say the work is art, because there are an awful lot of flim-flam artists out there using junk to part the gullible from their cash. From the outside, I may not be able to be sure of the difference, but you know who you are…and you should be deeply ashamed.
And that brings me to my point: if anything can be art, then what constitutes good art? That is highly subjective, of course. Generally, it seems to be “anything that a lot of people agree with the creator about.”
Therefore, what I am about to say is not intended as a broad dismissal of an entire category of art…it is merely my personal view of this particular category.
On to the rant!
I see it all the time: random objects grouped together and given a cute or outrageous title and a little description explaining why the artist feels that these found objects constitute art and what they are really saying.
I loathe this.
In my opinion, these people are to talented artists what ‘idea guys’ are to novelists. You know the ‘idea guy’ – the one who is always telling you how he could be a writer, too, because he’s got this great idea and dismissing the fact that you actually sat down and wrote your idea into a novel as simply a technicality. He thinks that the tenacity and effort and detail work involved in actually realizing the idea is for other people, and he’s unusual for having a clever concept.
I have news for you all: for most people, coming up with the idea is the easy part. I can brainstorm a hundred (or more) novel/short story ideas in an hour and very few of them hold up once I actually start writing. The clever concept turns out to kneecap execution and the idea has to be scrapped until a whole new approach can be developed.
Having the skill to convey your idea to an audience is something else entirely. It takes work, and practice, and perseverance, and no little amount of luck. It takes showing up and working hard, and just because you’ve done it once doesn’t mean it will be easy to do it again, either.
I don’t care if you’ve got the most amazing idea in the history of ideas – unless you get off your butt and create art – painted, written, or other. I also don’t care if you suddenly realized that the humble mason jar is the perfect metaphor for women in our society: undervalued, tougher than they look, versatile, beautiful, yet impossible to fix once they’re broken.
I. Don’t. Care.
Now, if you find a way to convey that idea with imagery, shape, and form?
Talk to me. Seriously. I’ve got nothing, but I am 100% sure that there is a talented artist out there who could pull it off.
You can make anything art, just by believe it is But if you can’t make someone else feel your art (or at least understand some of your meaning without a clever written caption) then you will never get my interest.
It doesn’t even have to be an easy piece to understand. If it looks like it took skill to put together, I’ll probably take a minute to try to figure it out. You can even make the title a hint, I don’t mind.
Just don’t expect me to pay money – or even attention – for an idea that took you thirty seconds to come up with, no effort to implement, and that made no effort to engage me at all.
It might be art, but it’s still a dime a dozen.