What is art?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by manaheim, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So here's the thing... I'm far more scientist and mechanic than I am artist. A friend of mine can spot these beautiful artistic scenes almost by second nature... I generally can't, but if I'm looking carefully I can spot elements that I know (once assembled) will be art-like or regarded as such... and then frame them (mostly) correctly and "assemble" art.

    This, to me, seems totally soul-less. :lol:

    So, I sit around and think to myself, "Ok, how do I see and think and feel like an artist???" I, of course, immediately start breaking what an artist is down into various component parts (many of which fairly insulting) :lol:, and try to model an artist in my head. BZZZZT! Wrong! :lol:

    The best I can come up with is "totally random perspective on things, which probably mostly models a bunch of rules- some of which I don't know- that winds up looking cool!"

    Somehow I'm doubting that's it.

    So, I turn to you all... WHAT IS ART? What makes it? What is an artist? What makes them? What makes them tick? How do you become one?

    Now... please... I ask you to try to have this discussion with civility towards each other. I didn't ask what an Internet Jerk is... I asked what an artist was! :lol:
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Arizona
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    From my way of looking at it, art is a moving target and thus difficult to define. What is art to one viewer is not to another, so where one person may be an artist to you, he may be a hack to me.

    From Wikipedia: "Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions."

    There are many 'artists' out there who may not be deliberate in the arrangement of elements .... and produce work by controlled accident (e.g. Jackson Pollock) -- so are they not artists?

    Appeals? Does art have to appeal to the senses, or does it just need to arouse them?
     
  3. hawee99

    hawee99 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    i put in a roof mounted swamp cooler the last two days. When I was finished, it looked like art to me
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Very interesting question and I can't wait to see more answers.

    What is art? what is an artist?

    I'll start with the easy one: what is an artist?

    An artist is a person creating works of art. Period. Finito. The end.

    In our overly comfortable western world today we may feel a need to redefine everything because we are so bored with our lives but that does not mean it is necessary. The definition of an artist is very simple: a person creating works of art. You don't like it, that's just too bad. Go get a degree in philosophy or psychiatry and you can spend the next 75 five years debating it.

    Back later with the definition of art.
     
  5. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Whitstable
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Four nights agon BBC4 dedicated an evening to looking at the life and work of 5 great female photographers. The programmes were all repeats so did not follow a single format.

    What was noticable (a mixture of inspiring and depressing) was the way each of these people had of 'finding' photographs in the most ordinary and mundane situations - as well as the most extraordinary and exciting.

    One example was Lee Miller who had taken a photograph of three off duty servicemen at the end of WWII. And it was A Photograph. I just know that if I'd pointed my camera at the same scene all I'd have got would have been a snap. :(

    Of course, photography is different than most other forms of art. If you paint a scene, no matter how good or bad you are, the result is, rather by definition, 'art'. When you take a photograph, unless you are very good or just lucky, it isn't.

    It's interesting to compare the 'family photo's' of these photographers with the incidental family snaps that are often shown in biographies of those without great photographers as relatives and try and work out just what it is that the former have 'got'.
     
  6. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Whitstable
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Surely, the definition of 'art' must be: 'That which is produced by an artist'?
     
  7. Arkanjel Imaging

    Arkanjel Imaging No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,229
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Im going to grab some popcorn and watch this show......


    I used to get into reall heated discussions on this very subject with my college design professor. I find a lot of stuff labeled as art that clearly is not. Ive seen stuff in the Guggenheim that is more craft than art. So I think it is truly in the eye of the beholder. Perception varies so much on the individual basis.

    Edit: it should be noted that my friends refer to me as "the critic." And apparently I dont like anything. Food, movies, art, etc.... :lol:
     
  8. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,303
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    What is an artist? Ooo, ooo, ME ME!!! I AM! I AM! :lol:

    Okay, getting little more serious, I'm have the same idea as c.cloud; that art is created by an artist. Artists are those who create art. Ever since da-daism came along though, I think our ability to define "art" has been thoroughly, and utterly trashed. I could stack a bunch of blank postcards in a manner that is interesting to me, or maybe not terribly interesting to me but maybe I did it with some sort of plan or pattern—or not—call it art, and it would be art.

    Then again, you also seem to be wondering how an artist thinks manaheim, and maybe that's something that I can help you with. It's all right hemisphere wonderfulness, it is. Many times, ideas come without apparent reason, even without stimulus. The artist's mind is constantly rearranging previous experience, tossing in recent experience, and coming up with something new and interesting. Sometimes that comes from the most unexpected sources. I've had inspiration to write a story based on how a girl looked at me on the bus, inspiration for a piece of music after hearing the rough interval of a creaking door hinge, and inspiration for a photography project from listening to a single verse of music (hopefully I'll be allowed to use the darn music though...I hold out no hope for this, because Canadian record labels suck...a lot).

    And sometimes, what the artist comes up with makes almost no sense at all. It's radical, "out there", odd, not the norm. In photography this could be complete abandonment of traditional "rules" of composition. Perhaps it is art? Perhaps it's just a snap, or motion blur, or a crappy photo. It will depend on who's looking at it, and perhaps how closely the viewer can think in the same "artistic" sense.

    It's also, for me, a way of thinking that is almost without process. Using photography as an example, I don't set my f-stop with precision for a shot; I guess what'll probably work alright, and accept the snap judgement. Same for shutter speed and ISO; granted this is oft based on experience too. Music may even be a better example. I play jazz, and thus improvise fairly often. While there are established methods that can help a musician improvise (quoting other tunes, memorizing a few riffs, playing in a key that has a particular relationship to the current chord progression, varying ryhtmic patterns in a procedural way, repetition with variation, etc.), I find that most of the time, the notes I play are almost completely snap judgements with no rational thought behind them; the left side of my brain practically goes to sleep.

    There were a lot of "I"s in that post. Sorry if I sound egotistical, but I think it's best that I try to explain the thought process using my own experience.

    One last thought, and a personal example. This photo. Is it art? I'm sure some would consider it a horribly blurred image. Perhaps some would ask wtf I was thinking when I took the shot. And others yet may consider it ethereal and artistic. Art is entirely subjective.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    6,111
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Art is truly subjective and an artist is one that endeavors to create something artistic. How others see it, doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that the creator define their efforts as either artistic... or not.

    Personally, Chris, I think you are close to a personal revelation in the terms of what art means to you. I myself was a world class musician and international competition 1st place winner 12 years in a row and I was called an "artist", a "virtuoso", and other all equally useless labels. I have no idea what art is to anyone but me, and I know that I, as an artist, am in the same place you are... lost in trying to find the meaning. :)

    I am not letting that feeling of being lost dissuade or deter me, because I know one unequivocal and unshakable truth... it is not the final result and resultant labeling of something as being or not being art that is important... it is the pleasure you derive from the journey in photography and your drive to create art in all it's infinite forms... that is. Edification and pleasure is in the journey, not the reaching of the final destination.
     
  10. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    NH
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    agree with jph...art is def subjective.

    the short answer for ME, is that art is something that evokes emotion. but now that i have typed it, and i sit here thinking about it more and more...i dont know if that answer flies (even in my own mind). is beauty [emotion] in the eye of the beholder, or the creator?...sometimes it's both...sometimes just one. art can be accidental as well...boy...i am NOT ready to contribute to this conversation. i think i would like to watch from right here. :D
     
  11. Baaaark

    Baaaark TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North or South Pole... it depends
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You won't like my answer, but I urge you to think about it.

    Art simply is. No way to define, or corral it into a set of words with in an attempt to describe it. Sometimes things in life can't be defined. Words have their limits.

    I guess if there was one word to describe it, it would be subjective.

    Edited to add: I don't understand why people need to have things defined so much. Think of how many arguments on here have been because of trying to define the undefinable. What's the point of it all?
     
  12. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Whitstable
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    It's what seperates civilised man* from all other animals.


    * Obviously in the sense of 'human'.
     

Share This Page