What is Art?
Is it a dumb Ocean Rock with Sharpie Drawing on it? or………….
“Obviously, an artist is someone who creates art, just a baker is someone who makes bread, and a plumber is someone who installs and repairs plumbing. These are simply trades and professions; that is, means by which different people make their livings.
Unlike plumbing or baking however, the difficulty lies in defining “art.” Art is pretty much whatever anybody says it is, and an artist is similarly anybody who says he is one. This leaves any definition of “artist” and “art” so vague as to be meaningless. Does the act of creation, be it ever so humble or idiosyncratic, suffice to allow one to lift the laurel of “artist” to his brow? Anybody can call himself anything, but the test is whether or not you actually are qualified. A plumber would not dare to call himself a plumber unless he were qualified in the opinion of others to do plumbing, and had experience and credentials to prove it, and actually got paid good money for his work. The same is true of an automobile mechanic, elementary school teacher or newspaper reporter. You can’t just call yourself a college professor or medical doctor and expect anyone to take you seriously. You need to have something to back it up. The term “artist,” unlike “electrician,” or “dog trainer,” neither conveys qualification, nor is it specific enough to shed much light on what a person may actually do.
There are classes of activities that often fall under the term “art,” such as the lively arts, the performing arts, and the like; thus a dancer could reasonably be called an artist within the context of dance. But if you were to ask a dancer what she does, and she were to reply, “I am an artist,” you would not be much the wiser concerning her activities. It would be far more illuminating for her to say, “I am a classical ballerina,” or “I am a choreographer.”
A person may be exceptionally good at something, so much so that he may be called “a culinary artist,” or “a musical artist,” or “a con artist.” This implies that he transcends the ordinary, and does something creative in his trade, so much so that by the standards of cooks, or con men, he is an “artist.” But it would be misleading for that person to say, “I am an artist,” when asked what he does for a living. Far better to say “I am a cook,” and …….
leave it to others to call you an artist.”
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