Monday, March 18, 2013

What Art Means To Me

If you ask anyone who cares, and maybe even those those that say they don't, art is a very personal and emotional subject. I have had many a discussion with artists about art, what is art and who is it that decides what is great art. The answers are always a mixed bag. The simplest statement might be, "Art is in the eyes of the beholder."

Art, whether it is a painting or craft design or even a newsletter that I have designed, is an expression of how I want to world to be perceived. Gone is the terrible news, catastrophes, wars, violence that seems to surround us. Instead my art is my vision of a more perfect, beautiful and some would say more colorful, world. Art being the highest achievements of man, not his worst. Art is my means of expressing what I feel and or what I hope to feel about the world, my world, my being. Art is in many ways my attempt to become the best seer of the world.

I asked the question awhile back questioning whether Andy Warhol was an artist. Not only would most people today (and trust me, most didn't back in the day) would say he is a pop icon! The question that still remains though is Warhol a great artist, in the same league as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Titan, David, Monet, Whistler, Picasso, even Pollack? There can be no doubt that what he created is known by more than a few. But is it really art? Who has the right to say?

Probing more deeply into the subject though, brings forth the question, what is great art and who determines what it is? Does it really MATTER whether Warhol is great or not if he has an admiring public? Museums and private collectors that now pay millions for his art? Is money the determining factor?

If Warhol's art qualifies as great art then the next question has to be, what IS art and what makes one piece great and another not?

Take this plate here. Its an original design of what a plate might look like if you glued strips of cloth to its surface. If it had been cloth, is it art? In this case the "fabric" is painted on so there is no danger of the fabric getting stained. Being painted on, it will certainly last a long time (if not thrown away) in its near original state. Since this was acrylic paint over a wooden surface and sealed with an acrylic varnish, it could last a long, long time if the owner(s) feel that its colorful surface, its fabric like design is worth keeping. Is it art? Does it have some deep seated vision of the world?

Quilts are the perfect metaphor for art. They take a whole collection of fabrics (colors), are cut (laid out), sewn (painted) and somehow, miraculously become something. Something artistic.

The inspiration for this came from observing my wife laying out a variety of fabrics before making a quilt. The fabrics are all different yet somehow she manages to turn out a variety of beautiful quilts, table runners and such. To look at the beginnings though, it looks like "the house of chaos."

A patchwork quilt is even less structured than a crazy quilt coverlet. You can just gather whatever fabric you wish (except those fabrics you REALLY WANT?) and sew away. Or, in this case paint away.

So again, what is art? Is what you and I create any better or worse than a Van Gogh? He was considered crazy in his own time and one of world's greatest painters in ours. Does your vision have any more or any less relevance to what you think and feel than some artist people may know?

I would guess, that the ability to convey what you create is the secret. Or, if you are Thomas Kincaid, "the painter of light," how your promote yourself as well. What do you think?


P. S. Check out this patchwork plate at

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