A fellow on the Fiction Writers Group on LinkedIn started a discussion about defining what “art” is in relationship to writing. I had to weigh in on that discussion, because I have tried to look at that issue in two other parts of my life. Plus, its a philosophical discussion and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
This is how I responded to the issue:
“The concept of what art is could be batted around until we’re dead, buried, and the Earth is a crispy cinder.
When I was a Fine Art Major in college, art was defined as “…created to engender an emotional response.” We can argue that nearly anything is art if it evokes emotion, even if that emotion is gut-deep revulsion.
In my life as a bladesmith, we bandy about when high craft transcends the barrier into fine art. Once again, there’s no consensus, except the expectation of high design and exquisite craftsmanship.
Perhaps, as writers, we’re going for a combination of those things. Exquisite craftsmanship with words that evokes an emotional response in the reader.”
At this point in my career as an author/writer, I am less concerned with creation of art than I am with telling a good story. Could I argue that a good story is art? Probably, but that’s beside the point.
Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, bladesmith, goldsmith, ceramics artist, woodworker, or writer—if you love your craft—you’re going to spend your life improving your skills. Will you reach “art”? I don’t know. I don’t know that I will, either. I do suspect that the more you love what you do, practice, and pour yourself into it, the more likely it is that art may appear when you’re not paying attention.
So, to all the artists, best wishes!