“We are made to create. We feel useful when we create. We release our ‘stuckness’ when we create. We reinvent our lives, tell new stories, and rebuild communities when we create. We reclaim our esteem, our muse, and our hope when we create.”
There is no one universal definition of visual art though there is a general consensus that art is the conscious creation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination. The definition and perceived value of works of art have changed throughout history and in different cultures.
Expression became important during the Romantic movement with artwork expressing a definite feeling, as in the sublime or dramatic. Audience response was important, for the artwork was intended to evoke an emotional response. This definition holds true today, as artists look to connect with and evoke responses from their viewers.
Immanuel Kant was one of the most influential of the early theorists toward the end of the 18th century. He believed that art should not have a concept but should be judged only on its formal qualities because the content of a work of art is not of aesthetic interest.
There are as many ways to define art as there are people in the universe, and each definition is influenced by the unique perspective of that person, as well as by their own personality and character.
Stop judging your work. Nothing kills creativity faster than comparing your work to someone else’s. Your job is not to judge your work. Your job is to put it out there. To see what will become of it. Give your creativity every chance of survival.
Don’t fuss over details as you move forward. What matters is that you get something done. Every day if you have to.
The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done. Give yourself time in your life to wonder what’s possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.
You will screw up in the process but it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake or making a wrong choice. It will only lead to self destructive behavior.
Lower your expectations of yourself and your work. Realize that you don’t have to create a masterpiece every time you enter the studio. If you go in and fingerpaint and it feels good, you learn something, you stretch yourself, and enjoy the process, that is a success.
You don’t have to say something huge with every artwork that you make. Take the pressure off and you will enjoy yourself along the way.
Art, like life, is messy. The process is the exciting part and one that others love to take part in. Remind yourself that by showing your process you have one more opportunity to connect with other people about the chances you are taking, the details you see, and the messiness of it all.
It also helps people understand your final work. Showing works as they progress can be great teaching moments for people who weren’t trained as artists in seeing just how much work and skill go into a piece.
Even if you draw a stick figure, it is art. Don’t let other people’s definition ruin the meaning of art to you.