ARTH101: Discussion Topic 3, The Artistic Process


Q: Who makes art? Do you think artists have innate ability or acquired skill (or both)?
A: As I discussed previously,

Talent and desire are both state of minds, and skill is an acquired practice. How it is acquired and honed is again very subjective and can vary.
Our definitions of art is very relative, hence whom we perceive as interpreters of seeking the infinite, through finite tools are all artists. In that context humans, and even other organisms are artists.

If one observes the link, the puffer fish creates a sand art with visual splendor beyond expectation. The mathematical precision with which organisms work is one of the clues humans have always been exploring through ages.

sand art by Andres Amador.
I believe that both Andres and the Puffer fish are both working with the same objective principals. Their role can be compared as distinctive to context, and interrelated at the same time.

Q: How do artist’s role change due to different cultural considerations.
What an artist produces can be either
1.) Reactive ( to an incident, idea, occurrence or observation)
2.) A compulsive urge to translate the energies flowing inside of ones mind or body
The first can be subjected to cultural contexts and have purposes of definite need to communicate with other human beings.[eg. the Totem Poles of Northwest America]

The second is an ehimeral quality that will find repetitions in pattern, form or even purpose, irrespective of culture or animate life forms. [ eg: The similarity in the work of Andres Amador and the Puffer Fish]


Discussion Topic 3: The Artistic Process
Who makes art? Do you think artists have innate ability or acquired skill (or both)? How do artist’s roles change with different cultural considerations? Support your answers with examples, and provide any links or images that help in your explanations.

The answer to who makes art is not a very simple question. People make art -that’s true. But certain kinds of animals can make art too. I remember being at the circus once and they had an elephant that could paint. Someone from the audience was brought forward and the elephant painted her portrait. It was not exactly realistic but you knew that it was supposed to be her specifically. I would consider that to be art. Birds can sing very unique tunes, specific to themselves alone. I would consider that art too. So my answer to who makes art is that Anyone can make art.
There is some innate ability in making art, some people are born with a knack for doing something that someone else might find difficult, and there is also acquired skill that you have learned from someone or something else.
An artist’s role changes based upon the ideas of the culture they live in and in particular - who they are creating that piece of art for. I frequently create paintings in very different styles, I would paint something very different for a star wars fan than I would for someone’s elderly grandmother.


Making art is uniquely human. An artist can have an innate ability or acquire the skills to create art. As with other endeavors just about anyone can achieve anything, but only the people actively pursing their passion get to call themselves a scientist, or an athlete, or an artist. And to be clear all this effort may not lead to fame and fortune. An unknown Sunday painter is still an artist if he works consistently.
An artist’s role changes dependent upon his audience. A muralist may tailor their art to meet the needs of a public commission, a patient undergoing art therapy will make art for their own satisfaction and well being, a commercial artist will make art dependent upon what they are asked to advertise. Different cultures will have their own iconography, symbolism, metaphors, and even color meaning, that these artist’s will then use to make their mural, or therapy art, or advertisement.


Art is an innately human act. No other species produce art in the respect of what we as humans consider art. With that being said, humans are the makers of art in its various forms. This includes art in the form of music, sculptures, paintings, drawings, writings, metalwork, and so much more.

In my personal opinion, I believe that certain traits are present innately in artists that are then refined to produce a certain amount of skill necessary to produce art that is both pleasing to the viewer as well as to the audience. For example, a child may have the innate ability to apply paint in a way that an animal may be seen however with practice the skill of applying that paint in a way in which the animal is more life-like. See the figures below (the original artist and title could not be found however the images were found on Pinterest).


The roles of an artist no doubt will change depending on the culture the artist is a part of and what the artist has been employed or is expected to do. From as early as the cave-dwellers, there have been humans creating art. The cave-dwellers often created works of art of the walls of caves that either acted as reminders that the hunting was good in this area or that there were many dangers in this area or even to tell stories about their environments. The artist’s role in this time may have been that of storyteller to other humans.

Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil. Dated to: 28,000 to 6,000 B.C. | In this national park, paintings of jaguar, tapir and red deer (shown here, c. 10,000 B.C.) interact with human figures in scenes that include dancing and hunting. (Niède Guidon / Bradshaw Foundation):

In the Middle Ages, art often depicted religious symbols such as that of Christ or the Virgin Mary. Artists were often employed by the Church or other religious leaders to produce art that could be displayed in the church or used to bring others to Christianity. One such piece is that of the “Madonna and Child” by the Italian artist Berlinghiero in the 1230s. The role of the artist here is that of religious portrayer. See the image below of Berlinghiero:


In the Victorian era, wallpaper became a modern luxury that the growing middle class could finally afford. Artists developed very ornate designs most often of floral designs that included bright greens, reds, and darker hues as well. These colors and ornate designs were to portray the middle class as that of status and no longer poor peasants as they had been before. In this role, the artist was that of encourager because people could finally afford to have things that had previously been a luxury only the wealthy could afford.


Over the course of thousands of years, art has changed in the style, form, medium, and moveability. One example of art that is moveable and that resonates with so many people of the time is that of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. The wall is moveable and people are able to view the wall, find the names of their loved ones, and share emotions with people who have also been affected by the Vietnam War. The role of the artist in this sense is that of unifier by unifying the emotions of so many who were affected by this war.


All in all, the importance of the artist cannot be overstated with how much the artist has contributed to each society and each culture over the course of humanity. The roles of the artist may change but the importance of the artist as one who highlights the cultures he or she is inspired by will never change.

Lords and Ladies. (2017). Middle ages art. Lords and Ladies, 1-2.

Marchant, J. (2016). A journey to the oldest cave paintings in the world: The discovery in a remote part of Indonesia has scholars rethinking the origins of art-and of humanity. Smithsonian, 1-10.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2018). Madonna and child. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1.

Victorian Era. (2018). Victorian era wallpapers images, design patterns. Victorian Era, 1-3.

Westlake High School. (2018). Westlake high school’s virtual Vietnam project. Westlake High School, 1.


I do agree art is in many ways like music can be a form of art too. I love when the Native American do their arts bead working are very cool to learn.


Q. Who makes art? Do you think artists have innate ability or acquired skill (or both)?

A. Anyone can make art, it’s a learned skill like anything else humans can do. Are some people better equipped through genetics, upbringing or background to make more compelling visual art? (remember Congo the chimp - presumably a basic interest and skill in making visual art is in our primate DNA somewhere) Sure! So what? That doesn’t mean that just about everyone can acquire the skills.

Q. How do artist’s roles change with different cultural considerations?
I am not sure I understand the question. There seems to be a trend now, at least in Canada, to remove the cultural-receiving end of the equation about the object (i.e. decorative, functional, etc…) and just call everything ‘art’. So you will see native Totem poles and canoes, diverse religious artifacts, and other crafts all alongside your more traditional artifacts like graphic design, sculpture, painting and drawings.

I am not saying I completely agree with this but it certainly seems to be the thinking behind at least public-funded arts institutions and museum administrators.

Though I would argue that people don’t necessarily act as if this is true (institutions and administrators included), there is still a cultural significance or importance to the word ‘art’ that is not shared by ‘craft’ for instance, so you will notice they leveled the playing field by calling everything ‘art’ rather than everything ‘craft’, and most institutions and schools are dedicated to ‘art’ rather than ‘arts and crafts’ or ‘crafts’. So maybe it’s just some typical Canadian hypocrisy, making sure that everyone feels validated, but in reality most people still see a difference.


exactly, this is how we express our self or our alternative personalities.