Since before it had a name, art existed as a form of expression. Early men and women documented history through painted pictures in tombs and caves to both commemorate and share life experiences. Some might peg this work as solely practical due to the historic nature of the wall paintings, which begs the question, what qualifies a work as art? You might not look at an outdated post office and think art, and yet the art world celebrates Frank Gehry’s architectural design in the Walt Disney Concert hall. What qualifies art: the person that made it? And if so, how does one become a qualified artist? Is there a set of specific rules one must follow and how concrete are these rules?
As important as these questions are, I will disappoint you now in telling you that I will not disclose my personal answers. Why? Because, like tastes in art, the important answer is your answer. Ultimately, art is what both the viewer and the artist decide. A self proclaimed artist may spend weeks or years making what to you appears to be chicken scratch, but to the creator, it is a masterpiece containing layers of depth and inner expression. I may see a scrapped page of someone’s doodles and see playfulness and beauty. Can this unintentional scribble still be considered art? Can a “bad” artist still claim the profession? Yes. As viewers, we will explore art’s limitations and how artists have ignored and stretched the boundaries of their various genres in order to create new art and new experiences. You may not agree with my critiques or even with what I consider art, but neither of us will be right or wrong; that’s what makes art so interesting. Art is and isn’t at the same time.