What is the purpose of art?

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From mikeartnz/Michael (64) Send mail to this user on August 5, 2004 6:35:25 PM CDT

What is the purpose of art? What should it stand for and why do we need it? Well I've been thinking that art should speak to people, that it should communicate a simple idea that they can understand and appreciate, and not to a minority of high-educated academics who think they know what’s best for everyone else. I was just interested in what any one else thought, wither art is becoming more and more dissident for every one else to understand.

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From elenadeluca/Elena (858) Send mail to this user on August 6, 2004 1:19:59 PM CDT

to me as an artist, it gives me pleasure to create something. my pieces of art are like my children. plus we can create things that maybe do not exist except in our minds or we can create something that we can't even take a photo of. for example, i have drawn people with a certain movie star or entertainer. they may never even get to meet this person, but they have a drawing of them together as though they met. art is fun. there should be no rules in art. art is however you see it & feel it. there is no right or wrong. if you had fun creating it & you enjoy looking at it, then that is all that matters. i always said that if i ever became an art teacher i would tell my students that. i had an art teacher once that gave me an F on a drawing of a horse because i did not draw it the way she draws. she did not tell us how to draw it-she just said to draw this statue of a horse from where you are sitting. she also drew it with us. a technique that works for one person may not be right for all. i drew it the way i felt comfortable & i was done before her & it made her mad. i never drew a horse until just recently. i am 38 now & i was in 6th grade when this happened. i never forgot that. i also vowed to never make someone else feel the way i did at the time. i didn't draw for a year because i thought i was doing it wrong. in art there can be helpful hints & suggestions, but it is all up to the artist how he or she completes a piece. i paint because it makes me happy. it made my mother proud. she passed away 7 years ago on christmas eve & i believe i am still making her proud. i will draw & paint until i can no longer do it. that is my right, my passion & my joy. thank you for looking at my work. sorry this is so long. i had to get this all down. take care elena deluca


From ansaman/Sanford (177) Send mail to this user on January 1, 2005 1:44:59 PM CST

The purpose of art is communication. Everything else is technique.


From savialeigh/Rikki (3,698) Send mail to this user on January 1, 2005 11:45:29 PM CST

I think the purpose of art is expression. Communication is a nice by-product, but it's the expression that fuels art. If you look, you see that some of the most dreadful works are loved by someone - every piece 'speaks' to someone, no piece can speak to everyone.

In commercial art, we see pieces that appeal to many, but those pieces don't particularly speak loudly to anyone. I suspect those pieces don't express much for the artist either - they are made to appeal to masses, not to relieve the inner itch of the artist. The personal works of commercial artists are usually quite different from what they present to a buying public. Though occassionally an artist does manage to create very personal works that have mass appeal - for the most part, I think that is uncommon.

The key thing to remember, I think, is that no matter what the artist 'says' with a work, what the viewer percieves may be vastly different. 'Starry Night' might be very peaceful to one person, and quite disturbing to another - and utterly inane to someone else! Art is becoming more self-expressive, I think. Humanity is more tolerant of differences within humanity, and so more receptive to differences in art. It isn't that fewer people enjoy or understand art, it is more that because there are so many more accepted forms of expression, there are more people able to find forms that they closely relate to. That makes it harder to be The Artist, but easier to be An Artist.

Returning to your 'simple idea' concept, we would lose so much wonderful expression if art were limited to communicating simple ideas! For a start, we'd have to toss out Munch and Rembrant, among others. The underlying themes are what make those artists known so long after their deaths. If we think about cartoons for a moment - the cartoons created in the mid 20th century - they were layered endlessly. Tiny tots appreciated the action. Mid-sized children got some of the humor, teens got more of the humor, but you had to be an adult to get most of the humor. Additionally, the humor was not limited to visual or aural jokes - it was often tied to the music that scored each cartoon. Those layers are neccessary for the art to grow with the viewer, whether in a cartoon or a painting, sculpture or written work. We relate to different things at different stages of life. Songs about broken hearted lovers don't touch us until we become broken hearted lovers. Paintings like Munch's Scream don't convey real depth of despair until we have experienced great life-wrenching loss or deep depression. If you've never been frustrated enough to scream, how can you 'hear' what that painting is saying? Art must express what the artist experiences, and in doing so will communicate to those who are ready to hear.


From artspeak/Cory (4) Send mail to this user on January 24, 2005 3:05:43 PM CST

Your use of the word "dissident" is sort of awkward. Don't you mean "difficult"? It seems like every time I go to the library and I peruse books on art theory, there are several books with the infamous title, "The Purpose of Art." For some reason I refrain from reading them, but I'm always happy to pick up something on modernism, mannerism, medieval-"ism" etc.--topics a little more specific. You know there have to be as manner answers to this question as there are molecules in space, shadows in the sea, and stars in the sky. Let me first ask you, "What (to you) is art," and then I might feel like I could begin to address your question with some coherency. I think you'll find that the more general the question, the more general the answer, and maybe that's what you need at this point, but I think it would be more constructive to question different modes of artistic production, and then create within your own value system a sort definitive framework to this question. I typed the keywords into google, and found this: And this one's a bit scary. A very narrow answer to a very open-ended question.


From brusherman/François (378) Send mail to this user on January 29, 2005 1:01:15 AM CST

God is a Creator and it says we're made in his image --- hence our need to create something. Everyone in his / her life has created something - even if it was a mud cake.


From dawnebryant/Dawn (2,535) Send mail to this user on January 29, 2005 3:42:31 PM CST

Mike -- To me, art is something that gives me pleasure. For a buyer, it needs to be something that gives them pleasure. If you strive to hard to please the buyer instead of yourself, you won't be putting out true art. Stay true to yourself and practice the art that gives you pleasure.


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