For myself, valid art is any art which elicits a response in me.
Sure, we all think that way. The question though is whether there is any way we could be wrong about those responses. If all there is to art is, “I know it if I like it”, then unless there is actual evidence of coincidence in art appreciation, there’s nothing to being wrong. The artists Kumar and Melamid did surveys around the world of what people wanted to see in paintings: turned out, most people wanted a landscape with trees and a pond.
Is that, then, what makes a great painting?
In that, I recognize that what is art to me may be merely a pointless scribble, an incoherent combination of words or tones to another. I have to accept that a piece of art which deeply offends me, by my very reaction, defines itself as art. So, I try, not entirely successfully, to maintain the position that there is art which I get, which moves me, and art which I don’t “get”. I try not to decide if it is good or bad.
Sure, but is there something in the art—something ‘objective’—that you’re missing, or is it just that some people like vanilla and some people like chocolate, and there’s no deciding between them as to which is better?
I fabricate architectural and ornamental iron. When I take on a customer, I commit myself to attempting to create work which is meaningful to my customer, but the work does not have to be especially meaningful to me. I feel, as a craftsman, not as an artist, that this attitude is a fundamental part of my craft. It is much easier, and perhaps more satisfying, to create a piece of work for someone with whom I share a sense of art and beauty, but in some ways it is a greater accomplishment to do good work for someone who’s tastes differ. I should admit though, that the difference can be too great to overcome….Anyway, all this makes me think a lot about beauty and art sometimes.
Very cool. Hat’s off to you as an ironsmith.
I see you’re making a distinction between “craft” and “art”. Do you think there’s a real difference between them? Or is it all in the eye of the beholder?
Typically art is seen as ‘self expression’ where craft is all technical capability. But I must admit that the more I think about it the harder it is for me to make the distinction. In a sense, ‘I know it when I see it’, but then also in a sense I think I may just be seeing certain kinds of preconceptions.