Often when a bunch of artists get together for a conversation, the question arises – “Well, what is Art anyway?” Each person in the group tries to clarify what Art is from his or her own perspective. Rarely do they agree on a clear definition. One dictionary defines Art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. Yet how many times have we looked at a painting and had an adverse reaction to it’s graphic ugliness. How many times have we looked at a painting of lines on a canvas and thought – "what’s so special about this piece that a museum paid thousands of dollars for it?" Has this always been the case? Back in the day, the definition of Art was much clearer as there were consistent rules by which artists created. Those who broke the rules were rejected; denied opportunities to show and sell their work. Artists made choices to stay securely within the fold or to become part of the avant garde and alter the meaning of Art.
What we can probably agree on about Art today is that it usually sparks an emotional response of some sort. The meaning of a work of art for both the painter and the viewer varies, depending on what experiences they’ve had in their own lives. Art itself is a component of our culture, influenced by the events, economics and social movements of it’s time and place. Most significantly, Art is always changing and is too fluid to pin down in any one simple definition. It certainly doesn’t hurt each of us as artists to consider what Art is, but the question we will probably ask ourselves is not what is Art but how will I interpret Art today?