View Full Version : What is art?

11-24-2003, 01:43 AM
And what isn't? You have to draw the line somewhere. I'm talking sellable art. When a six year old scribbles a picture of a purple tentacle tipping over cows, I guess that's still art. But no one's going to buy that.

Or will they!? I drew a face on my hand, took a black and white photo of it in front of a fountain and convinced my photo teacher it was art. She thought it was brilliant. Seriously. This is why you find people who buy canvases with splattered ink all over it for $2000. They think it's art. They see a deeper meaning in it, no matter what the artists intentions were. You see that and you think: "I can do that." So why don't you? I mean, put it up on eBay--someone's bound to buy it! Somebody out there on this planet is going to think that your meaningless scribbles are deep and meaningful and they want to hang it above their fireplace. And the artist can come up with some half-ass explanation too! That's the fun part!

Take this scribble (http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/3faef9b7_15f9d/bc/My+Documents/armedandcrappy.jpg?bfvhXw_AYlwmOQdy) for example. I took two index cards and, literally, within a minute and a half, I scribbled that on them (the guns around the shield took up most of the time). Then I spent another two minutes scanning it, mashing them together in photoshop, and saving it as a jpg. What a piece of crap, you say. Well, I can just as easily say I'm offended by that!

This work is a piece of well thought out, beautiful art. The fast, childish scribbles of guns reflect the impulsive, violent nature of our planet's warring nations. The childish characteristic of the picture shows how, like children, these nations refuse to resolve their differences peacefully, insisting that they are the ones who are right. The scrawny little one-eyed creature represents the messy casualities of war.

See? I'm talking out of my ass. The whole time. Throughout this entire post, in fact. But, I'll bet by the end of this week, I will find someone who actually buys into that pile of bantha poodoo.

So, if I may finally get to my point without rambling any further, where do you draw the line? What qualifies art as art?

11-24-2003, 06:10 PM
You really mean "what qualifies you for a profit?". You have to remember that 99% of all cherished artists lived in abject poverty. The only way to make a large amount of money selling art is to gain some sort of following with people who have large amounts of money to spare.

Anyone who buys "Bantha Poodoo #1" from you is doing so because they like it.

Most people with large amounts of money buy art for tax reasons: It's a great investment... that is, IF it's a great investment. They're not going to spend a fortune on it if it's NOT a great investment... the artist is unheard of, he's not critically acclaimed etc etc. (I know LOTS of people like this.)

If you'd studied art you'd know that it's actually about balance, shapes and color (which is why Jackson Pollock et al are regarded). On the flipside of this most people don't appreciate Jackson Pollock, and just see it as a mess.

The "layman" prefers easily recogonizable subject matter laid out in an inoffensive manner. This is why that god-awful picture of elephants is one of the best selling pictures of all time and adorns more living rooms than any work of a "regarded" artist.

Let me take a wild stab in the dark: You're male. You're 14-17 years of age. You're an art student who's been told they're talented, but you're beginning to wonder what "talented" actually means. Believe me, it takes a LOT to become a successful artist, and besides skill and dedicatation (although skill is in direct proportion of your audience's taste ;)) and a LOT (I mean A LOT) of luck.

Consider the amazingly talented artists that LucasArts employ. They don't make a living selling art to galleries, yet they are incredibly incredibly talented.

Take a look at Shag's work. He's the most successful artist living today.


Great use of color, balance and shape. Also easily recognizable subject matter that is very amusing to look at (the retro stylee). I think his work is great, it doesn't make a "statement" about anything. But it's fun, attractive and I like looking at it.

Ok, that's enough philosophy for today. I've not even had breakfast yet and I'm not fully awake :)

~ John

PS - How about a scan or two? :)

11-24-2003, 10:08 PM
There is a chapter on this question in my big book of philosophy, and I started reading it but then I got bored so I stopped. :(

This (http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~ursa/philos/cert11.htm) pretty much sums it up though. ;D

Orca Wail
11-24-2003, 10:50 PM
Originally posted by Owl
And what isn't? You have to draw the line somewhere. I'm talking sellable art. When a six year old scribbles a picture of a purple tentacle tipping over cows, I guess that's still art. But no one's going to buy that.

Damm right:mad: ...wait...not buy?!

Art is...

...what ever you want it to be...


11-24-2003, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by ThunderPeel2001
PS - How about a scan or two? :)

The only scans I have readily available are some drawings that are actually from 1-2 years ago, before I started taking drawing classes, so, amittedly, they're not the best I've done. For instance, you'll notice that, whenever I can manage to do without them, I simply don't draw feet. I hate feet. Their wierdly shaped and ugly. I still can't draw them worth a damn, but at least now I try.

Mysterious Girl (http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/3faef9b7_15f9d/bc/My+Documents/girl.jpg?bf9Nqw_A0SuUJcSb).

This one (http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/3faef9b7_15f9d/bc/My+Documents/kyle-stab.jpg?bf9Nqw_AwuGp_.LO) is downright bad. No feet, and Kyle looks wierd. The only thing I like about this one is the idea, and the first Stormtrooper.

Clockworkers (http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/3faef9b7_15f9d/bc/My+Documents/clockworkers.jpg?bf9Nqw_AoQYiuZC2). Look! Feet! I like this one, but the scanner quality really takes away from it. I think I was going for a real Magritte feel. I see now that I failed miserably in that aspect. ;)

The Maraca and Syringe (http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/3faef9b7_15f9d/bc/My+Documents/rhino.jpg?bf9Nqw_AWCj67H5a). This one is reeeeaally old. Again, the scanner doesn't catch some details as sharply as I'd like.

Those are the only one's I've bother to upload onto the net. I'm too lazy to upload my good ones--but maybe it's just because they don't fit on my scanner. Sorry for the digression, but I can't resist the oppurtunity to show off my crappiest work. ;)


11-24-2003, 10:59 PM
Originally posted by Owl
And what isn't? You have to draw the line somewhere. I'm talking sellable art. When a six year old scribbles a picture of a purple tentacle tipping over cows, I guess that's still art. And damn fine art at that. But no one's going to buy that.

Originally posted by Orca Wail
Damm right:mad: ...wait...not buy?!

*fixed :D

11-25-2003, 03:36 PM
This post is a piece of crap

The irony of this caption is the art...

11-25-2003, 07:09 PM
Art is when you put something of yourself into whatever you have created.

This can mean hideous abstracts, or nice, technically perfect landscapes.

Where I draw the line is "performance art"(people throwing random objects aroung a stage while naked or wearing tinfoil loincloths and moving in odd manners)

The idea of being paid for art is disgusting. Anyone is a good artist. As long as you put what you want to put on that canvas, or into that clay, or on a rock, and it menas what you mena it to, it's art. Poepl who fancy themselves artist and say how this really means this and that really means that in their work aren't really artists. Or art critics who sya thing slike that. Real art is where you pour what is in your heart out into whatever medium you use. People who say something is art when you think it isn't are fooling themselves. Only you know what is a good peice of work that you have done. Yohu can learn the technical skills of art, you cannot learn art itself.

All of this goes for musics too. Thats why people who don't write their own songs or peices or perform other's songs or peices in an original way are not truly great muscians.

11-25-2003, 11:40 PM
Ooh, deep! Lol! :D

11-26-2003, 01:16 AM
Isn't that nuts? hehe I've actually been trying to think of how to define it for a while, ever sinc eour spanish teacher asked me that question, and then when I was replying to this thread it just popped into my head... But now it seems to fit perfectly with what I always thought it was but couldn't put into words.

12-02-2003, 10:07 AM
"I don't know much about art, but I know what I like" A famous saying from some bloke with too much time on his hands (he says as he types replies into an internet forum).

The thing is, to me, art is what I like. I don't actually like abstract expressionism because it simply doesn't speak to me in the kind of way that other art does. i'm more of a traditionalist, I like narrative art, the kind that tells a story or is inspirational. I don't like art that expresses my emotions of deep depression, but illustrations and well done paintings or so one.

I like art and artists such as Alan Lee (http://www.cabed-en-aras.com/lee23.jpg), John Howe (http://www.cabed-en-aras.com/howe07.jpg), Josh Kirby (http://www.ie.lspace.org/ftp-lspace/images/misc/discworld-postcard.jpg) and Paul Kidby (http://www.paulkidby.com/images/colour/nightwatch-v.jpg). All of which actually took some efort and make a story.

A spash of paint on a canvas may be considered art, but only by those who like it.

12-16-2003, 11:41 PM
No art is art to everyone.

12-17-2003, 11:13 AM
Art is when it looks back at you.

12-17-2003, 10:35 PM
:eek: <-- like that.

12-18-2003, 04:40 AM
Yes. Seriously.

I sometimes prefer simplistic art that has to accomplish something with little resources.