What is Art? 

By Anjali Nayak 

Art is important. Having the potential to do anything a human can do, life interprets art the same way that art interprets life. With every poem, piece, and score, an artist creates potential to hurt, enrich, and empower their audience. Whether it’s learning how to dance as quickly as possible or play the guitar with a smooth tone, millions work their entire lives to supply hard labor to satisfy the demands of art. 

But what is art? What separates the artists from the amateurs? The Da Vincis from the duds? 

At first glance, it’s obvious that art is created to display beauty. Why would anyone want to listen to a song that sounds bad? Or look at an ugly painting? However, an alternative viewpoint would be that beauty only exists in art. A thing is not beautiful in itself, but the artist transforms it into beauty. Simply, there is no beauty in the world without artists. Beauty is not in the external world, but is a semblance produced by the artist. I might think that a flower is pretty, but it is only beautiful because I (the artist) give it intention and beauty. 

So, art does display beauty, but only with the intention of an artist. Is that what we should be worrying about? Should we be tracing the intentions of the artist? The intentions of an artist can best be described by the emotion one hopes for the audience to feel or express. Basically, art is a medium in which an artist can convey an emotion to their audience. If it is successful (the audience feels the emotion the artist is hoping to convey) then it is art. 

For example, if I tell a joke with the intention of making someone laugh, and my “audience” laughs, that is art. However, if I tell a joke with the intention of making someone laugh, and they don’t laugh, that is not art. 

Thriller was meant for the dance floor. The Shining was made to terrify. Through emotion, art can unite a group of people. 

Attempting to give art value, humans have poorly kept visions of artists and dreamers. For example, the most expensive painting to ever exist is Salvador Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci. By creating a value or monetization of a piece of art, we have warped our ideas and interpretations of what art should be. If something is worth a lot, it has to be better, right? 

The reality is, everyone is an artist, as long as someone is displaying emotion, or conveying emotion to others, they are an artist.