Art with a Capital A
What is art? Who is an artist? And most important, do I lay claim to that title for myself and my photography?
Is it possible to define what art is? I’m not sure. Art is subjective – as with the concept of beauty, determining what is art does indeed lie in the eye of the beholder.
When I think about art, my mind immediately creates two distinct levels: Art (with a capital “A”) and art (with a small “a”).
Art and Artists, with a capital “A”. This is Art with serious purpose, with intellectual and historical underpinnings. This Art often explores dark emotions; themes of life and death. It exposes corruption and prejudice. It speaks for the down-trodden, the disenfranchised. It is a mirror, forcing us to confront inequality and the nature of our society.
It poses questions about spirituality, mortality, our place in the cosmos. Deep thinking; big questions; multi-layered. It speaks in metaphors and allegories. We are often uncomfortable in its presence.
This type of Art is important; it is discussed and studied and critiqued. It generates art movements; attracts followers. People collect it, argue over it and write about it. It stirs controversy and seeks to make an impact.
And then there is art, with a small “a”.
This is my kind of art. The art I create and with which I surround myself. My art is about individual creation; about answering that yearning to make something that is mine. That brings a small bit of beauty to my world. That teaches me to look closer and see further. It is small and personal. There are no big questions being answered or even asked. I do it because it brings me happiness; it stimulates my mind; it fills my days with meaning. I want my art to be pretty; to be accessible. To simply be beautiful.
Do not misunderstand. It is not my intent to judge, holding one as better than the other. And I am certainly not saying that meaningful Art cannot be beautiful.
Perhaps Art and art are simply opposite ends of a continuous spectrum. A spectrum that represents the creative urges of all human beings: that impulse to bring forth something that did not exist before. Both are needed. Both have meaning and purpose.
I suppose this distinction between Art and art exists only in my mind. Perhaps I do not feel deserving to claim the title of Artist, with a capital “A”.
But I do claim “artist”. And that’s something, isn’t it?
Written for “Find Your Eye: Journey of Inspiration”