What is Art? Discuss (30 marks)

What is art? Its a bit like asking what is love?

By the time it’s been dissected and decided upon, you’ve lost some (maybe all) of the magic.

Art is in essence communication between our brains at some non-verbal level. It’s why I like Banksy, because he’s telling me something, even if some of its subconsciously transmitted. I like to watch and listen because he is clever. 

The communication can come from the artist as a desire to get a message across, but this is a slippery slope. The more linear the messaging the less abstractly it’s received and then again some of the magic dust is blown away. The best art communication is abstract, ephemeral, and meaningful at some deep non-thinking level. 

I have read a lot lately about good art and the importance of authenticity. What a load of old shite. Good art is not about the authenticity of the artists intent. I know this because my six-year-old daughter is just about as authentic as it gets when she is drawing up her landscape, and the result is certainly not worthy (in my eyes) of gallery exhibition. 

The element of authentic does come into it, but instead in the eyes of the beholder. A bit like love, art is what you feel in your heart. 

Art is that bedazzle that you can get when you see something that gives you the heebie-jeebies. In a good way. 

In fear of missing out, some art and artists become like the emperors new clothes. One person feels it and another does a sensory check. Is that a schmozzle? Can I feel it? There’s something wrong with me?! Fuck I will be revealed as a heathen… Oh, of course, I love it. 

People are like stupid sheep with this stuff. What they might be failing to understand is that art is not equal to everyone. He might love it and you might feel nothing. That’s fine. It’s his art. So move along.

I suspect the problem is worsened here when big chunks of people like the art. More chunks will jump on the bandwagon. Again, fear of missing out. The fear worsened by the traveling bell curve. 

You see the same phenomenon in wine snobs. One person says this is a great bottle of wine. Another agrees; prices soar. I once walked into a room of should-know-betters all sniffing and snuffling at some over-priced vino and promptly poured my self a glass from the almost finished bottle. Do you know, the wine was corked. Absolutely tainted to buggery. I laughed out loud at them all (likely a career limiting move I hadn’t properly considered). And promptly poured my quart down the drain whilst shaking my head. Do you know what? They then all did the same. Agreeing that they had had an inkling. 

This behaviour is one extreme of sheepy bizarreness to me. How does fear trump authenticity when a sensible sense like taste is involved?! And if it can: We have no hope when a more a more subjective sense like sight is the modality. 

If you tell me honestly it’s art and moving to you: then I suppose I have to believe you. But the only actual verification I can get is in myself. My own feelings. I trust my own self on these things. I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like; and I am rarely swayed by others views. To this end, when I create art I try to make it in an attempt to please myself. Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I want the admiration of others. It probably depends on how much wine I drank. 

We are all connected through art somehow. It speaks to our humanness and our fear of it. That weakness that might be exposed. Art is fun for that reason and all the layers of people and confusion and culture it creates. 

At the centre is my heart and my connection. That’s my art. 

  
 

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