Is It Art?


There’s a strong likelihood that among your circle of friends  and personal and professional acquaintances you know a few creative people. Certainly, most of us do. One’s ability to create, to make something that didn’t exist before, is a gift. Some, if they are lucky, and/or good marketers, use this gift for monetary gain, while others create merely for the sake of creating, improving their skills in their chosen craft, opening their minds and spirit, and as a means of self-expression. Both are important and intrinsic to the human experience since before the birth of communication through common language.


Drawings in the sand and on cave walls were the origins of story-telling. Those who dwelled in those caves used basic pictograms to illustrate their experiences and ideas. Regardless of where they lived, evidence of this type of communication has been unearthed all over the planet, on the walls of caves and in tombs that were inhabited by early humankind. Was that basic form of communication art?


Technically, probably not.


Was it artful?


In many cases, yes. Some illustrations were certainly more creative and detailed than others. And as humans evolved, so did their ability to be more expressive, until one day, someone drew a picture purely for the sake of creating a picture.


Ever since that day humankind has questioned, “Is it art?”


Jumping ahead a few thousand years, we still question what is and is not art. Not just in the subjective – do you like what you see and hear; but objectively – is the endeavor in question of a high enough caliber?


Just because you write, does what you write make you an artist? At the very least, it makes you a writer.
Just because you paint, does what you paint make you an artist? At the very least, it makes you a painter.
Just because you take pictures, does your ability to capture an image make you an artist? At the very least, it makes you a photographer.
Just because you write/sing/play music, do those abilities make you an artist? At the very least, it makes you a composer/singer/player.
Just because you write code to make a computer program, does that make you an artist? At the very least, it makes you a programmer.
Just because one creates, does that make them an artist? At the very least, it makes them a creator.


And these are all good things. You’ve got to start somewhere, so it might as well be with the basics.


Is art, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? It’s an age-old argument.


One needs to commit a significant portion of their life to the creative process to earn the moniker of artist. Creating may not be the only thing one does, but committing to developing the skills necessary to excel and grow, to improve techniques, and maybe pushing boundaries and breaking traditional rules and roles that can lead to one becoming an artist, must be part of their regimen.


Does receiving compensation for creating make one an artist? Those who are employed to be creative in a corporate environment, like web & graphic designers, architects, photographers – any job you can think of that takes even a modicum of original thought to create something that didn’t exist before – are possibly just as much artists as those who starve for their art. We interact daily with the artistry of others, in the ads we see and hear, the movies and television we watch, the music we listen to. Of course, whether you think of any of that as art or not is up to you, but certainly each of those forms requires multiple artists to create them, and I’m willing to bet those creators see themselves as artists!


Again, one doesn’t need to be creating for the sale of monetary reward. Expressing oneself for personal pleasure is great for relieving stress, opening up your mind, and seeing things from a different perspective.


In most cases, artists need to be nurtured before they are ready to market their skills. Any proclivity toward anything creative should be nurtured from the time it is recognized, whether in young kids, adolescents or seniors. We need art. We need to see it, hear it and create it. Whether or not someone thinks of something as art or not, really isn’t the point. The point is to create! To express oneself in a creative fashion, even if the endeavor is only for oneself, with no expectations of anyone else seeing the creation.


When it comes to art, the only opinion that really matters Is that of its creator. So, go ahead and make something. Create something for the sake of pure self-expression. Is it art? Who cares? If it’s art to you, that’s all that matters!


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