There is a bank that I pass when I commute to and from work. I could not tell you the name of the bank – that escapes me at present. On the bank sign is a slogan, “The Art of Banking.” This attracts my attention each time I pass. How many companies use that phrase, “The Art of…” and trick us into consuming their product? There is the art of banking, the art of competition, the art of… I don’t know.
This makes me want to consider what art should be as a definition. According to the Oxford Dictionary, art is, “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” I think this definition encompasses a portion of art but it is so much more than the sum of its parts.
When I was in grad school, I took a class that was designed around the idea of the aesthetics of music. What makes a person like one style and not another? What is beauty? How is this obtained? I think this was one of my favorite classes because it encompassed not only the music but also the philosophy. You should all know by now that I like to think and think and think.
During this class, some topics and ideas kept resurfacing. One of these included the idea that art is poetic and evocative and is not meant to be interpreted literally. How do works of art relate to the world and to other works of art? One of my favorite ideas is that works of art come from great love and not hate. There is a very thin line between the two and it is visible in art – whether in a painting, a performance, or writing. We should not be afraid of what art is within us.
So, I come back to the point of what is art and how do we perceive great art? Is great art solely within the liberal arts education? Can a well-produced spreadsheet be considered art? I am going to go out on a limb and say yes. I have a sister that is of the business and accounting world and she would probably argue with me the value of art within her career. I have another sister that is a teacher and would probably argue the art connections within hers. I do not think my brothers would argue their points but the same might be said of them.
Art is all around us. I will be one that will always fight for arts in the schools. By this I mean that I will fight to keep music, art, and the like in the public school system. It does so much good for the students. I cannot discount, though, the art that is being taught and used in different mediums throughout the world.
Math is art. Marketing is art. Gardening is art. Cooking is art. Mechanics is art. Art is everywhere. The real problem that exists in our world is the fact that art is so discounted as being something that is not worthy of our time and money. If you were to list what you wanted in life and what you wanted in art, I think that you would be surprised by how similar the two lists would be to each other. In fact, I want you to create those lists and then report back to me your findings.
Art is beauty. Art is emotion. Art just is and we should not have to justify or defend it to anyone.
Go view the world with new eyes. See the art that surrounds you.
Peace and Love,
The Mad Pianist