What is Art

I've been looking for a working definition of what art is since I started espdigiart.com and I kept finding the opposite of a definition if that's even possible. It's crazy to try and answer this question because honestly I've seen people literary sell garbage as art, on the other hand I've watched people create beautiful works of art that have yet to be recognized. I've been on both sides of art (creation and consumption). Every time I look for a definition I've mostly found people rewording the lack of a definition. The only exception being that I've heard that some people will say that if you have both form and content there is a case to be made (which is actually a valid thought).

I'm not you stereotypical art gallery type who thinks everything should be undefined and nobody is wrong. I'm to analytical to ignore something so ridiculous as a something in the world having a total lack of definition for to very long. So all those people who would prefer that the definition of art remain unclear will just have to come back down to earth and live with the fact that somebody got sick of whoever had the "bright" idea that art can possibly be everything and nothing and nobody is ever really wrong to call it artwork.

Since it's become pretty clear that the we a clear definition doesn't exist, nor do people evidently want a definition to exist, I'm going to say it's better to forget trying to define art for a moment, there does have to be a way to define artwork but since no body can seem to put their figure out what it is let's take a look at the finger prints of that definition:

Instead of trying to define what art is (or isn't), let's start in a place that can be clearly defined. Art serves a function (or set of functions) in the world, so for something to be defined as art it has to serve at least one function that art exists to serve.

What is art for?

So much of peoples lives are spent covering their needs, then their wants. Art is about expression and imagination the step above want.

I've sometimes thought of art as being something meant to bring beauty, evoke emotions for those looking at it and express the emotions of those creating it. Capture and stimulate your imagination, and make a person think (preferably to think something more than “what the heck is that?”).

People might buy art for beauty, setting a mood, or stimulation of thought or imagination, and some will buy artwork as an investment because there are only some many pieces of art that an artist can create in a life time, but being an investment piece alone doesn't qualify something as being art.

What is popular, and what is considered art will change as the world changes. Some art forms will become so out of demand that they might well become the lost arts. Other art forms will rise up in their place. People will always love the to create artwork just because it can be therapeutic, and very enjoyable, but what of these will be popular with anyone who is willing to pay for the artwork will change. All this being the case popularity is a non-criteria for this definition.

Art is a profession where people who get into it probably think it's going to be easy, create art, get it out there where it will be noticed, sell the artwork, cash big check. I'll be the first person to tell you that's not how it works. An artist has to create something people really want to buy, and often they sort of stumble into it, they won't know what it is until after they have struck gold. This is a highly improbable but entirely possible situation for an artist to end up in. And even if you've got that something in your artwork, you still need to be able to sell it. This being the case it's safe to assume that how well it sells probably isn't part of the definition.

Since creativity results in art not the other way around being a creative outlet or creative activity is also a non-criteria when asking if something is art.

There you have it the answer to the question “what is art?” There may be more functions that art but as long as the something serves the function of art it then it is art. This definition by no means references the quality of art, it is possible for something to be art and be lacking in quality.
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