This morning I came across a post from one of my daily reads. Go look at her here if you like happy stuff. She is upset today over some twitter messages that got posted over the weekend. I recommend reading the post so that you can see what I am talking about.
Not one to get into twitter flame wars OR to take self help classes, I took something else from her upset.
Art. It's subjective. Really.
There is no specific definition of the term "art:". Likewise, there is not real job description for the designation of "artist". One person's art is another person's doorstop.
You have people with a natural aptitude for portraiture, color composition, the building of amazing structures. You have people who spend a lifetime in school to be able to do those very same things.
You have people who ejaculate on a canvas, paint it, and put it up for sale. I wish I was kidding. I wish I wasn't being literal. Not my style. Or my doorstop.
I study art every day. Not because I am a critic or a student, but because I love to see what a human can accomplish. Simple line drawings, vvibrant paper crafts, quilts, paintings, colorful soap, sculpture. Things that make me go, oooh. It is inspiration to me to see the beautiful things that other people make. A well made piece of anything will make me want to go home and create beauty for myself. I love to go to the state fair and look at the things people have made. Fine furniture with impossible curves, carefully hand stitched quilts, photography that takes my breath away.
There is a lot of what I would consider crap out there. But it is not my business to question the creator's belief that they are an artist. I will question whether they should sell that glitter encrusted pile of poo they found in their yard, (It's angel poo! see the halo?) but it is my choice not to buy it and regretsy's job to post it where I can look and giggle. Or gasp in horror.
I'm also not a fan of modern art. I can see the Nevada Museum of Art from my desk and I will be the first to tell you in not very nice terms that I don't care for the sculptures out front. But someone liked the design enough to commission them. And since they hold up to the crazy weather here, they must be well made. I recognize that even though I wouldn't put those sculptures in my yard.
I guess what I am not getting at, is although I may not like all of it, I would never tell someone to stop creating. I can't imagine questioning their ability to make something, and never tell them they should not share the knowledge they have. What makes an expert? Time in the field? Schooling? How about life? Intuition? How can one person's talent, schooling, and/or experience be more valid than another person's? What gives me the right to say, "I am an artist and you are not"? I may sometimes exclaim, "Good Lord! You have got to be kidding me!" across the cube farm, but I also accept that folks may say the same about my creations.
And they have, just not in so many words. I recently mentioned my Butt Soap in a forum and the response was "It's just brown". I didn't argue. They were apparently looking for something different (Pink, actually, but I say, not all butts are pink. There are plenty of perfectly valid brown butts out there.) and anyway, the name makes me giggle and draws attention to my product. Can't fault that. It may not have been what those people were looking for, but I have sold enough Butt Soap to know that some people are.
There are also those who would tell you that I am a crafts person, not an artist. And that's fine too. I don't need a label, I just need to create. Wanna come over and glue glitter to random stuff with me?