Art Blogging 9: What is art?

I think today’s art blog has the risk of becoming rather philosophical. And I have done notoriously poorly at philosophy in the past, so I suppose take my musings with a grain of salt today.

I asked the question “what is art?” because I think it’s one that I have heard at the beginning of several art classes that try and teach you to be a more well-rounded artist than just a painter, sculptor, etc. Now, do I think it’s a fair question to ask? Maybe, maybe not. To be honest I’m not so much into the philosophy of things, I tend to overanalyze as it is. But today I present the question anyways.

Lately I have been considering the question of free will, and whether people are free or living within a prescribed universe. The best conclusion that I came up with is that people do not have free will except in regards to superfluous creation. By this, I mean that we are fundamentally required to do activities that sustain us (eating, obtaining shelter, cleaning, working to sustain these things), but there are many activities that do not really fall into these categories. These are what I regard as superfluous creation, things that we make or do not to perpetuate our own existence, but for the pure sake of the action.

Now, it could be argued that this creative activity is necessary on a spiritual level, something necessary for the maintenance of life that is less tangible. I’d buy into that, but I don’t think that’s a universal truth. Many people I know and love are not creators and do not seem to spend their time in creative ventures (then again, maybe I don’t know. I suppose each person’s definition of a creative venture would be different).

I don’t want to go into an extended philosophical discussion here, so I think I’ll leave my answer to the question at that. Art, for me, is sometimes a luxury and sometimes a necessity. I am not a particularly word-driven person outside of my writing (and blogging!) so I use art for wordless expression and stress relief. I suppose that’s not such a bad thing, and I feel lucky to have such a thing at my disposal.


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