Thinking about Art

Art is so subjective, isn’t it? Trust me when I tell you I’m not 100% sure what ‘art’ even means…and I have a degree in it!

I’ve been doing creative things to try to keep busy during the last 4,112 days of being told to stay home but I’m not sure what is a craft and what is art. Or if they are the same.

What makes something art? Is there a difference between good art and bad art or is that just a line drawn by some random arbiter who someone somewhere decided was an expert in ‘art’.

I’ve seen children make handprint turkeys and almost every one of their parents will tell you it is a beautiful piece of art. I mean, they made it in art class, right? Does that make something art?

Looking around my home I have two freehand watercolors of New Orleans over my desk, They are loose and almost smoky and very much a drifting expression of laissez le bon temps rouler. I have a giant oil painting painted by an artist I know of a NYC street in the rain behind the dining room table and I swear I can almost smell the wet concrete. I have a very small piece of abstract art made with alcohol ink in my living room that looks like seaweed moving and floating on the tide. On the wall behind the television I have two drawings of kachinas and several small Navajo pots that make me yearn to be in the places they were made, and which seem almost magical. Then I have two paintings painted by my grandmother in my bedroom that remind me of growing up and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I consider everything on that list a piece of art. And yet, what makes them art? I find them beautiful and also decorative? So does some frat brother somewhere who thinks dogs playing poker on black velvet is the best thing ever. I wouldn’t hang it, but does that mean it isn’t art?

What about printings of original art….is only the original piece art and the copies are all just, I don’t know….something? Or are the copies all art as well? What about the intricate lace making of generations past? The work is original, it is exquisitely detailed, is it art? Is it fashion? Is it both?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes something art this week because I just finished a piece of embroidery and posted it on my Facebook and got so many comments about how it was beautiful and I did such a good job. I thought of it as a way to practice a skill. I used to embroider and I wasn’t sure if I had forgotten how. I didn’t see it as a thing of beauty. I saw it as a way to practice stitches I hadn’t tried in a long time. I’m posting pictures so you can decide for yourself. Is it art? Is is a craft? Is it arts and crafts? Is it decorative? Or is it something else entirely?

I don’t know. What do you think?

Screen Shot at 7.43.49 PM



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s