Is it art?

Here's a thought that's sure to ignite passions . . .

If you create something and no one else ever sees it, is it art?

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17 thoughts on “Is it art?”

  1. Is that not the equivalent of the old question if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it still make a sound? OF COURSE! Its art if I say its art….its art even if no one else likes it or sees it. I don’t necessarily consider a urinal art but obviously someone did. The matter of making art is a most personal journey, whether we choose to show it to the world or not does not diminish its value or meaning as art.

  2. I agree with Michelle. Why not? Why does a piece of art need a viewer to exist? I think of art as a transformative force. First, it transforms the artist who made it. That’s enough – that’s powerful! Then, if others see it, they, too, have the opportunity to be transformed. But the art existing in the first place is enough. Some people never want to show, and that doesn’t negate their efforts. Cynthia

  3. Daniel Sroka: Notes from the artist's studio

    a tree falls in the forest

    Today on her blog, Alyson Stanfield coyly asked:
    If you create something and no one else ever sees it, is it art?
    I think some of the best art are the small private things you create just for yourself, and then let fall away. The sketch you make on a f…

  4. Art that someone sees, maybe even appreciates, completes a creative cycle. But it’s art the moment it leaves our body-mind-spirit and goes to the page or canvas. Maybe it’s art even in our imaginations?

  5. How could it not be? I suffer from chronic depression, and have found by bitter and recent experience that the work and stress of exhibiting is not for me; it makes me too ill to make art at all. Which, of course, is not the point. So I keep making the work, and making the work, because it is who I am.

  6. I’ll weigh in on this prevailing limb as well. Some of what I make will never be part of the conversation between another viewer (other than me) and the piece of work. But I am always, on the other hand, a viewer — I”see” it and sometimes what I make as art reveals something to me in the process of making, as well as in the final product. I suppose if one were blindfolded, painted something or stitched something, and never looked at it, the piece would never have been “seen.” But the muscle gesture would still have been part of one’s experience as an artist.

  7. The way I see it, art is first and foremost a very personal and spiritual experience. At the very core of being an artist is the idea that there is a purity in the self-expression of a creative individual that is meant for that individual alone. However, there is another side of the coin; through sharing one’s creative expression with others, that individual has a lot to gain in many ways (including recognition, satisfaction of sharing one’s creative vision with an appreciative audience, etc.). But art is art, and the creative individual’s personal goal for that art is what counts the most, in my opinion.

  8. Some of the great artists of all time left drawings of art work that was or was not completed, also some unfinished works. Perhaps no one ever saw them during their lifetimes. But, ages later, having been found, they are considered masterpieces and exhibited in the best galleries. As always, art is very subjective.

  9. Is it art? I don’t think the question should be asked. I’m sure at times fantastic work has been created, then, for some reason destroyed or hidden. How can the question be answered? For me, if and when “art” is seen and the “creator” has to explain to me what it is, then I call it decor, not art. Wow! I can’t wait for the reactions to that.

  10. I was going to say “no” – for the simple reason that I consider art to be a form of communication, (on a very high level, but communication nonetheless), and with no one there to communicate to, it becomes just another “thing” … BUT, many of the others above, I think, have a very good point about the work’s transformative effect on the primary viewer, the artist himself. Communication occurs when and as the idea becomes reality on the canvas, and back again to the creator of the work. So I agree – yes, it is still art! Fun question.

  11. I think the best and most pure artworks are those small private things you create just for yourself, and then let fall away. The sketch you make on a frosted window pane. The impromptu song you hum while walking the dog. The doodle on a napkin before you throw it away. The “music video” you edit in your head as you listen to your iPod. The one act play you create in your head from an overheard conversation. These are the most meaningful and personal works of art, quietly made, quickly discarded, and never shared.

  12. Yes I believe it is art. I drew and painted for years before I ever showed my work. The creative process was still very fullfilling, challenging, and I learnt the most important lessons in art while no-one was watching. I played, I failed, I threw things out, I became deeply involved in my painting and my creative processes. If that’s not art then I don’t know what is.

  13. Surely it depends on what you are creating. I think this could get into the age old agruement of what is art and what is craft. It depends on your viewpoint. Also, we have a blind man coming to demonstrate his acrylics on canvas in a local art club and he says he can feel the differences in the colors! Yet he cannot even see his own art. He knows it is art however.

  14. Creativity is art. The art of making love is an example of a creative lover. To draw from within and put forth into this world in the form of leaving good feelings with the receiver is the art of sharing an emotion. To share our personal art in the form of material art or emotional art is a gift only artists can share.

  15. I believe Merle has pin-pointed what every artist should feel about their work, whatever that might be. An Artist is a creator and the medium is the tool used to create. It can be oil, watercolor, bronze, scrapes of metal, or a variety of objects put together to express something inside the Artist. The finished product comes from within and is first seen by the artist and the Artist decides if it is complete. Therefore, it becomes a piece of art. Yes, I believe that even if the artwork is never seen beyond the creator… it is still ART!

  16. It is most definitely art! Art is about the process of creation – highlight on the PROCESS. While it is ultimately part of the plan to have others enjoy the finished artwork, art is still about the idea turning into something bigger. Whether another sole ever lays an eye on it is somewhat irrelevant.

    Think of all of the amazing pieces of jewelry that Egyptians bury with their dead. We call that art but the intention was never to have the public see those works. They were created with another purpose – which doesn’t affect how later generations see them.

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