What Is Art?

Photo by Luiz Rogério Nunes on Unsplash

Children love art, and adults love art but, what is art; is art a carving on wood and stone? Is art painting and drawing on paper? This is what most of us grew up to believe what art is; pencil on paper, brush strokes on canvases and chisel marks on woods and stones. Thinking like this is not entirely wrong, but, it’s not entirely right either.

In primary school, almost every student in my class loved it when it was time for the Creative Arts teacher to take over the class, mostly after the math teacher had bored us to the core with additions and number lines. Our art teacher made us feel at home.

He taught the class how to paint, draw, and assemble objects to create artistic pieces. I remember one time he made us dip our legs in violet ink and stamped them on plain white A4sheets. After this was done, we hang our works on the classroom walls. This idea made the class, including me, think that art was just limited to paper and paints (colours), but we thought wrong.

As humans develop, art evolves too. I have come to define art differently. I define art as the process of creating uniqueness (something remarkable, special, unusual, peculiar, and rare).

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines art as the use of the imagination to express ideas or feelings, particularly in painting, drawing or sculpture.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines art as the making of objects, images, music, etc. that are beautiful or that express feeling. OR — the activity of painting, drawing and making sculpture.

Merriam — Webster Dictionary defines art as a skill acquired by experience, study, or observation. OR the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects.

Both Oxford and Webster agree on the use of imagination to make something. The Cambridge dictionary is also right by saying art is the making of objects, images, music, etc. that are beautiful and express feelings (I think I love the definition of the Cambridge dictionary more).

The most important key from all three definitions is the act of making or producing. That is who an artist is; a person who makes.

Defining art as a process of creating uniqueness makes sense because every art piece goes through diverse procedures or stages to arrive at an ultimate destination; a desirable finish.

This makes you know that every finished piece goes through a process to arrive at a beautiful finish; something that did not look so desirable in the beginning becomes attractive in the end.

Understanding this makes you know that great artists deceased or living went or go through some sort of process to create.

Art then, can be defined as the process of creating an object or a thing with a plan of a vision of the finish or the process of creating something with an intended finish in mind.

If an artist creates without knowing what he wants, he creates nothing. It’s difficult to create what you don’t know, but with a vision of what you want to create, you can easily begin and by this, we know that art is bigger than just putting a pen or pencil on paper. If you can start a project with an idea in mind and finish it, you create art.

Art is no longer limited to what it used to be; a sculpture piece, drawing or even painting. Art is the process of making or creating. A creator makes art. You cannot be called an artist if you do not make or produce anything. A singer is producing art. A poet produces art. A businessman creates art. In simple terms, art is creation; bringing a thing to exist.

This is an excerpt from my book Reclaim Your Creativity: The Breakthrough Process. If you want to have a copy, tap on this link to purchase.

You’re an Artist.

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