If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
John F. Kennedy
John F Kennedy said that society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him but who, and what, is an artist and art? Every forum I have ever been on has had this question thrown up at one time or another and some of the answers are … well just strange.
Since time immemorial we have drawn. We capture moments, tell people stories, open our hearts using art or words. Before we spread the words with words the ruling people of the day would send out picture cards with threats, news, events. We call these cards now ‘Tarot’ but, back then when people were mainly illiterate, they were the leaflet of the day.
Cave drawings are turned up now and then from eons ago, where the hunters of the day would show the family and tribe what had happened on the last hunting trip. In medieval times people spent hours creating tapestries depicting large battles. When we started printing, illustrations became an important addition, bringing books to people to whom the written word was still foreign…or, for that matter, allowing foreigners to detach meaning.
Like cave painting, the first purpose of dance is probably a tribal group appeasing a spirit or accompanying a rite of passage…or a re-enactment of that weeks hunt, fight, event. Looking at the America Indian, often I have seen their dance comprises of stories….same with Chinese dance and Indian.
At present I am bedridden and yet, even now, as I look around the bedroom I see nothing but art. It’s on the designs of my curtains… the art on the wall ….the adverts on television I’m watching ….the teddy bears who were crafted, which is part of art.
I have an old antique wardrobe and there are sculptures on the panels
My clothes have been designed with an artists mind and, over in the far corner I can see three guitars ( a classic and two electric ), a part of music which is a part of art.
Actors in the plays I watch are called artists. The writer is master of his section of the art world.
Art is not just photography or painting with a brush on canvas. Art encompasses a lot more than that and is all around us. There are few places in this world we can go nowadays where there is not some form of art to see.
So the question I asked at the beginning, basically, what is art, is the question without an end. The answer is all around us in everything you look at. It could be what you are listening to now. It could be something as small as looking at the design on the curtains in your room. It’s on the leaflet just dropped through your door. It’s on the billboards and notices in the cities and towns. It is in the words on the page you are reading now.
This to me is art. What is it to you?