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Yeah, another post. Friggin deal. - Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist — LiveJournal
Yeah, another post. Friggin deal.
Been meaning to poll on this a while. You should comment to expound on your answer. I suspect many of you have strong beliefs on this matter.

Poll #1044028 What's in a name?

The term "artist"...

is something I apply to myself.
should be applied to me by others.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

22 comments or Leave a comment
graydancer From: graydancer Date: August 23rd, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)


This is such a can of worms. You sure you want to go here?

For me, and my artsy-fartsy degree, it's about intention. If I start to do something, anything (yes, anything, read Kaprow to learn why) and I call it art, then it's art. Period. Regardless of whether you think I'm an artist or not. The intent to make art makes the resulting creation art.

However, whether or not it's GOOD art...well, that's where the can of worms, is, isn't it?
abmann From: abmann Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ugh

So, to you the how society, either as individuals or a whole, doesn't matter to you? Interesting.

Would you then say that you do art for art's sake?

As for worms, I'm just curious what others think. I'm not looking for a debate necessarily. :)
graydancer From: graydancer Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


...art for art's sake. No other reason is worth the trouble, except maybe tryin' to get hot chicks.
quincidence From: quincidence Date: August 23rd, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yep...

can I do it for the hot men? oh please!?! and the chocolate?!? cause seriously, the chocolate at the showings ....errr. [shuffles off]
lqqkout From: lqqkout Date: August 24th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ugh

Alright, Mr. Nawashipants ;)
tokudama From: tokudama Date: August 23rd, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm, I don't really know how to take this.

In one sense, I would only ever call myself an artist in the sense that I like and appreciate 'art.' Do I create anything? No, so I don't call myself an artist. However it's even more unlikely for someone else to call me an artist because of my utter lack of creativity and skill in that regard.

My mom and I have had, in the past, a discussion about art. I maintain that anyone can learn to draw, the caveat being unless they have innate talent, they aren't going to draw well. She disagrees, maintaining that it's not teachable, and can't be learned. She's the one who went to art school. In retrospect, I think we're actually agreeing: that without some sort of innate ability, there is no art in the sense of what others would consider art. I can call myself a duck, but that doesn't make it true.
alyska From: alyska Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
there's a similarly-heated divide in the art vs. craft community. i have a whole massive post about it in my head that needs to come out one of these days, but there was an analogy in there that i really liked.

the discussion was about the recent popularity of beading and jewelry design among your average consumer, and how jewelry artists (who did it professionally) felt about it -- were they threated by it, did they think it diluted the art/craft, at what point does the creator have the right to call themselves an "artist," etc.

one of the people in the discussion likened it to cooking. i think everyone should be able to know how to cook, but not everyone is going to be a chef.

at a certain point, there are skills to be learned, and anyone with the dedication can likely pick them up. beyond that, i feel that a person who takes this to the next level has some sort of innate ability that allows them to do this. this innate ability is what brings a person to the status of "artisan" or whatever word you'd prefer.

i also don't generally slap labels like that on myself because i think they're earned, not self-given. i know a lot of people will argue with me on that point, but it's a whole lot more validating for someone else to view my work as art, than for me to put it out there and tell other people it's art. (doing so feels much more egotistical to me -- don't tell me what it is. create it and let me decide for myself!)
abmann From: abmann Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you need to produce something creative to be an artist or do you need to have some sort of talent to be considered an artist, using your view of "artist?"

I interpret what you write in that an artist must have some actually ability with their chosen medium to be an "artist."
tokudama From: tokudama Date: August 24th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um, split my comments paragraphs into two separate points/arguments.

paragraph one was me musing about the either/or application of the term artist as it appeared in the poll - does it come from within, or without. And I was roundabout saying that I couldn't answer that because I don't consider myself an artist, and nobody else does, either.

the second paragraph is how I prefer to look at the issue of 'what makes an artist,' that being some innate talent, ability, and dedication (I may have skipped over the dedication bit before but I feel it's important), and yes, you interpreted that part correctly.
quincidence From: quincidence Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with graydancer. if you think you made art, then you did. But most, seriously be honest here... most artists want the outside "viewer" appreciation, so that is when it should be applied to me by others.
If nobody appreciates it, but someone still got something from it, they may still call you an artist, even if they call you a bad one...

abmann From: abmann Date: August 23rd, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why did you answer unlike graydancer to the poll then?
quincidence From: quincidence Date: August 23rd, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
because in my opinion, the first option is practically ***"assumed*** by the act of creation. But the title of artist, really, is both, and most, as I said, want more, to have OTHERS call them an artist, which helps them feel comfortable calling themselves an artist.
Not all artist, in fact, in my opinion, subjective or objective... perception of the art.
seventyeleventy From: seventyeleventy Date: August 23rd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
graydancer is right on the money.

I believe that any definition of yourself should, indeed, be self-applied... at least in the categorical sense. As far as ability and skill go, those things are a general consensus in the external sense.

I think there's a line when it comes to craft, but I consider those to be skill-related ventures. I think people with good hand-eye coordination and a little creativity can go a long way, but it takes that desire which surpasses the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs that makes one an artist.
(Deleted comment)
not_a_girl From: not_a_girl Date: August 23rd, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
annan_dum From: annan_dum Date: August 24th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
My Dad likes to say that "One man's junk is another man's treasure." I think this applies to art as well. I've seen pieces of art that sell of tens of thousands of dollars and are considered sheer genius by some people that I think are a waste of supplies. And I'm sure others have the same feelings about my junk. So I base my judgement on two things:

a) I value process over product. If it's heart-felt, if it meant something to create, even if it was only an experiment and you consider it a failure, then it was art.

b) there is a difference between "art" and "good art."
You didn't ask what it takes to be called "a good artist."
abmann From: abmann Date: August 24th, 2007 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
The distinction between "good" and 'bad" artist is far more trivial, in my opinion, than that first leap to "artist."
lady_fox From: lady_fox Date: August 24th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Neither for me.

If I were to start doing something creative, THEN people were to want whatever I had created, whether to buy or to have, THEN I'd consider myself an artist. And would expect them to as well.

It would all depend on the desirability of my work. Once I got a decent response of "ooh, could I have that?" or "Neat! Could I buy that?" that's when it would seem to me as if I were an actual artist.
fiendishx From: fiendishx Date: August 24th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Neither. The term "art" doesn't have any meaning, so you shouldn't ever call someone an artist. It's a bullshit word that people created to arbitrarily elevate some people over others. Nothing is art in any objective sense, so the word adds nothing to the language.

Here's a mathematical proof of why "art" is bullshit.

You cannot define the "art" set as being the set of everything or the set containing everything or everything man-made. That is the definition of the "everything" set. The "everything" set may be a subset of the "art" set, and the "art" set may be a subset of the "everything" set (perfect equivalence), but they do not have the same creative (a word that I've co-opted to mean "that which creates") definition. The definition of the "art" set that creates that set requires that things exist outside of it, otherwise you wouldn't be making the distinction. The definition of the "everything" set does not allow any such restriction. Since such a situation for the "art" set is not possible,it cannot both contain everything and not contain everything at the same time, such a set cannot exist where "art" is equivalent to "everything" and is thus a contradiction. The reverse is not true, however. If we start with the "not art" set, and say that the "not art" set is now equivalent to the "everything" set, we do not have this problem since the creative (again, meaning "that which creates") definition does not necessitate that things exist outside of the "not art" set. Therefore, everything may fit nicely inside of the "not art" set, while nothing may ever fit inside the "art" set. Thus everything must be "not art".

This is a proof by contradiction, to put it in math terms, that you cannot allow everything to be called "art". All that is left is either calling nothing art or calling some things art. If you call only some things art, then there must be a fixed set of non-subjective classification criteria for things that are art and things that are not.

For me, and my artsy-fartsy degree, it's about intention. If I start to do something, anything (yes, anything, read Kaprow to learn why) and I call it art, then it's art. Period. Regardless of whether you think I'm an artist or not. The intent to make art makes the resulting creation art.

Then everything has the potential to be considered art, and that is mathematically not allowed. See above for why. And further, the person's intention says absolutely nothing about the actual creation itself. The problem is that you are using circular reasoning. This could very easily lead to the following conversation...

Person 1: This is art.
Person 2: Why is it art?
Person 1: Because I said it is art.
Person 2: Why did you say it is art?
Person 1: Because it is art.

That conversation leads to the inevitable conclusion that the term is meaningless, even under such terribly subjective premises.
fiendishx From: fiendishx Date: August 24th, 2007 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I forgot to say at the beginning of the proof that any definition of a concept, i.e. the collective phenomena from which one can derive the form of the noumena, must be culturally derived and objective from an extrapersonal reference. Since the closest thing that anyone has ever been able to come up with is "art is in the eye of the beholder or some equally subjective drivel as quoted above", that strictly places art in the "everything fits" category. That isn't allowed, and the proof goes on to explain why.

Further, the conclusion of the proof seems to leave the possibility for defining some things as art. This is not a true possibility, since no objective definition could ever be constructed that would satisfy everyone.
abmann From: abmann Date: August 24th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, this is why I wasn't asking "what is art." My question can't exist if art doesn't exist.
fiendishx From: fiendishx Date: August 24th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which is why I started off with saying you shouldn't apply the term artist. :D
You're a pretty good photographer (probably other things as well), even if you do Photoshop the hell out of your pictures. The Photoshop doesn't make the end result any less good. Consider that most people given the same tools wouldn't achieve results nearly as enjoyable. I suggest being content with entertainment and expression through a medium without calling it a word that has no real meaning, even if that word feels really good. Sure, it feels nice to be called an artist. Maybe it makes us all warm and fuzzy to know that people would lump you into a category populated by a lot of famous names. But I think that it's only because the word brings up a mental image of famous people, many with skill in the medium far surpassing our own*, and people who are famous are certainly to be respected in our culture, when it's really about as useful as being called a gnorflab.

* - I find myself automatically discarding any people who produce works that I don't enjoy and/or envy. I wonder if that's not just me.
fiendishx From: fiendishx Date: August 24th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that both of us could be satisfied by expanding your question. Why limit it to any particular term? Why not "carpenter" instead of "artist"? Why not "African" or "doctor"? With this perspective, my answer would be that you do not get to apply terms to yourself. If I call myself an African, that doesn't make it true. If I call myself a doctor, that doesn't make it true either. If I actually do that which in my own mind would make me a carpenter, but everyone else in the world agrees that I am not a carpenter, then I am not a carpenter by any meaningful sense of the word. Saying "I am XXXX" must necessarily imply "Other people would call me XXXX". Words are mechanisms for communication. The meanings attributed to words must be decided by larger social bodies and cannot be true only to yourself.
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