Inspiration: What is Art?


I saw this piece of art in a restaurant and thought it was colorful and bright. It also made me think about ‘what is art?’ This piece uses color and letters to illustrate the word ‘art’…and that turns out to be art. As I looked at this piece hanging on the wall – instead of listening to the conversation at my table – I also thought that not everyone would see this as art, and not everyone would like it. 

Art is subjective. What is art to one person may not be art to another person. There is art in tattoos, graffiti, words, shapes, colors, natural forms, lines, clouds, trees, streets, on canvas, in furniture and art can be present in found objects. And yet not everyone can see the beauty or wants to see the beauty in all those things. Some people think furniture is just furniture. Some people think words are just words, not art. And others can find art no matter where they or what they are experiencing. Great artists had critics, and those critics didn’t like their art.

Art is very cultural. Many countries, cultures, genders, or generations appreciate different art. They like different shapes or angles and they love color. Some cultures appreciate more the absence of color and shape. Some families go to art museums, others do not. Some parents want their children to be artistically creative, some parents do not value that. Some countries invest and want the arts to thrive…while some countries stifle their artists by controlling what they are allowed to produce. 

Art can be cheap, art can be expensive. Many artists ‘starve’ while they are alive then their work becomes more valued upon their death. Other artists make lots of money creating and selling their art while they are alive, and market it very well across the globe. Some people see art as an investment and others see it as something to cover their walls…and still others see it as a way to inspire themselves each and every day. Some people do not have money to spend on art, so they make it themselves. Others have money and want to be part of the process while others make art for them. 

When I tell people I like art, I get a variety of reactions. Some want to know ‘who’ I like, and others want to know what ‘genre’ I like. Some people tell me what they like and ask if I like that as well. Some people want to talk art, and others don’t like it at all. Art can bring out some interesting conversations and reactions, blank stares and enthusiastic responses. 

All in all, art is what YOU think it is. Art is what you appreciate and what you want to see. Like so many things in life, art is what you make of it…if you like it, then it’s art. If you don’t like it, then someone else might. If you take the judgement out of all this and allow people to appreciate and contribute in the best way they know how, you will be amazed at what art can teach you!

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