Monday, 12 August 2013

Art is not a skill it’s a state of mind

Art can only ever be in the eye of the beholder. Art cannot be prescribed or quantified. Art is beyond criticism. The art critic is but a fool. And anyone following the utterances of the art critic is an even bigger fool!

An artist, cartoonist and printmaker that I found interesting and whose work I have enjoyed was Ken Sprague (1927–2004). He once said “everyone a special kind of artist”(which was also the title of a TV series he was in for Channel 4 in the eighties). Now from this I understood him to mean that anyone and everyone is capable of being an artist. I firmly believe this to be true. Everybody can be and is an artist. You create something that you believe to be a work of art then it is art. It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to recognise it as such. But equally they can’t state that it isn’t art or claim it to be poor or worthless art. You may think that this is an opinion of convenience; a metaphorical foil to parry and riposte the judgement of others, and perhaps you are right, as you are entitled to your opinion as much as I am entitled to mine. I remain firmly of the view that art, all art, is down to personal choice and personal choice alone.

Art appreciation can only ever be subjective. This is why I maintain that you cannot criticise art. You can say that you don’t like a work of art but it cannot be judged. There are no measurements of artistic merit. You either like something or you don’t. This is why Art competitions are a nonsense; the instrument of the pretentious. 

Art means nothing, yet it means everything. Does it really matter what the artist was thinking when she or he created their work? Not in the slightest. The beholder should take what they want from a work of art, and they should never take what they are told to take. Art critics, those pompous, pumped up, self-obsessed experts of absolutely nothing know no more or no less than you or I do about a work of art. Believe nothing they tell you.

Art is yours for the liking, if you so wish. No one can tell you what to like. You decide!

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