What is Art?

There have been two instances where the question “what is art?” has been brought up in conversation. One instance stemmed from Dan DeZarn’s lecture where he attempted to give a definition of art, which is a piece of work that had to include craft, design, and content. Another instance was in Cynthia Hawkins-Owens’ where she stated that art can be learned. Upon hearing these statements separately, I had different reactions which I realized are opposite of each other. To DeZarn’s statement, my initial thought was his definition is too constrained. I believe that art is any form of expression; craft, design, and content will not make someone believe that a piece of work is art, however, artwork can also lack one of the three and still be considered art. On the other hand, I do not completely agree with art being something that someone can learn. Yes, people can learn to draw or paint well, but it is the intention behind it that makes it art. It was not until I started writing this blog post that I realized my opposite reactions and how these statements can actually be a both/and.

As I previously stated, to me, art is something that  cannot be strictly defined. This is mainly because we all have our own beliefs of what art can and cannot be. For example, some people will see graffiti and will not think of it as vandalism whereas someone else will see the same graffiti and believe it is art. For this reason, I believe there is a both/and of art being a form of expression yet has to have some sort of meaning behind it. If I were to answer the question “what is art?” I would probably combine both Hawkins-Owens’ and Dan DeZarn’s statements. For me the combination of these statements, where art can be learned but it has to have some type of content/meaning behind it, gives art its freedom to come in various forms but also gives credit to those that take art seriously and their creations come from a place in their heart. The question then becomes, who do we consider an artist? Can someone create art and but not be considered an artist, or must you be an artist to create art? My initial response to this question would probably be you can create art but not be considered an artist. Perhaps with further thinkING I may change my opinion.


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