Editor’s Note. Thi s is an old post I was working on a couple of years ago. I will likely come back to the Art question. I re-read this over the weekend, and it seemed to sort of offer a glimpse into my state of mind…maybe, I don’t know, but I figured I would publish it anyway.
I have been considering an idea for the last couple of weeks. “What is art?” I’ve kind of walked in to it, more or accidentally, but it keeps coming up, or I keep coming back to it. I really don’t have a great answer to the question.
Merriam-Webster defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings; works created by artists; paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings; the methods and skills used for painting, sculpting, drawing, etc.
When I started the blog, I had been searching for something for a long time: an outlet. I had tried to write many times over the years, but couldn’t seem to turn off the filter, or the editor (those of you who have read these posts may find that hard to believe, J) I bought the notebooks, the good pens (I love a good pen) the whole thing, I was going to write. I could never seem to get started. In many respects, nothing is as intimidating as a blank page. I kept putting it aside. Now, I have recommitted myself to writing here. I seem to have found the off position for the filter and the editor.
Immediately after starting the site, I was pretty proud of myself. I declared that I was going to start the blog; I registered the domain, wrote the first post, and shared it with some friends. Woo Hoo!! I was a writer!! Ready to join the community of great writers I’ve long admired. That euphoria faded pretty quickly. My mindset shifted to that which really didn’t consider this any great work. It was and is important to me. I get an opportunity to be creative, express my thoughts. It remains an outlet.
In the recent contemplation about “What is Art?” I’ve reached a point where I can’t tell you what the difference is between creativity and art. I have finally decided that this blog is creative. I really don’t believe it is art, but it is creative. The words/thoughts/construction/composition are mine; I “created” them, so I think I get to call this a creative endeavor.
When I was a child, art was something that was in museums, and the subject of annual field trips. We were all big art fans that day because we got an adventure and a day away from the classroom. It didn’t seem to really have a place in everyday life. We had art classes, but I don’t think there were any Rembrandt’s or Picasso’s in Robert C. Jones elementary school. I guess there is a distinction there, between art and ART; or art and “ART”. We had art classes, but we weren’t making what I would consider then (maybe even now) “Art”. We were in art class; we weren’t necessarily making “Art”.
In college we were required to take Humanities classes. For reasons that escape me now, I took classes that really didn’t interest me, Greek Mythology, types of things. I was in college, I had more interest in beer, playing cards, and meeting girls that I did about school work, but even then, Art was still something that was not really a part of my everyday life, as seen from the perspective of a college age Paul.
It’s really been over the past year, and it’s really been in the forefront of my mind in the last month how important Art is to me. Yet, I still can’t define it well. Maybe I’ll defer to Justice Potter Stewart: “”I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it,..:
As I stated way back in the second blog post, writers have always resonated with me. Novelists, song writers, newspaper columnists, I have favorites among all of those. That’s probably why a blog. I get to write, without the constraints of someone else’s paper or ink.