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.
1. Who makes art?
To answer this question it is a good idea to define Art. The definition below comes from Dictionary.com, it is not the only definition by any means, it is a limited definition and of course you can go into minute detail but this has the advantage of simplicity:
Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
This is a limited definition in that it does not mention the other muses - music, design etc. But it is good for our purpose in this course as it emphasises the key aspects of art:
- Art is made by humans
- Art required skill and imagination
- Art evokes beauty and/or emotions
So to answer the question, art is made by humans who use skill and imagination to evoke beauty and/or emotion. However, to do this the human also requires some life experience if they are trying to evoke specific emotions. Here the list can be long.
2. Do you think artists have innate ability or acquired skill (or both)?
As with many aspects of life, some of us have higher levels of innate skill and capability in certain areas than others, e.g. maths, language and or course art. But that does not mean that they do not need any training or skills development and even education in art history and context. This is necessary to enable the artist to ensure that the viewer of the work can “see” the cultural content and what the artist is trying to convey. One can look at the work, but is there anything to see, other than the physical picture, that puts the work into context.
3. How do artist’s roles change with different cultural considerations?
The role of the artist is of course strongly culture dependent. You can think of the way that art has developed over the centuries in the west to see how is has changed as “civilisation” changed and is still changing and also how art differs when embedded in different cultures; the many and varied different approaches in indigenous art are good examples.
In addition to the cultural setting, art has been controlled by authorities in some cultures for example (among others):
Catholicism: see Catholic Art:
Islam: Quote from “Heilbrunn, Timeline of Art History” -
With its geographic spread and long history, Islamic art was inevitably subject to a wide range of regional and even national styles and influences as well as changes within the various periods of its development. It is all the more remarkable then that, even under these circumstances, Islamic art has always retained its intrinsic quality and unique identity. Just as the religion of Islam embodies a way of life and serves as a cohesive force among ethnically and culturally diverse peoples, the art produced by and for Muslim societies has basic identifying and unifying characteristics. Perhaps the most salient of these is the predilection for all-over surface decoration. The four basic components of Islamic ornament are:
geometric patterns, and
Soviet Union: From Wikipedia: Officially approved art was required to follow the doctrine of Socialist Realism. In the spring of 1932, the Central Committee of the Communist Party decreed that all existing literary and artistic groups and organizations should be disbanded and replaced with unified associations of creative professions. Accordingly, the Moscow and Leningrad Union of Artists was established on August 1932, which brought the history of post-revolutionary art to a close. The epoch of Soviet art began.
China: A good example is what happened to the dissident artist Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei - The Law of the Journey
(Prague National Museum)
A comment on the inhumane treatment of refugees by the Australian Government.
In some of these cultural settings the artist had to adapt their art to the imposed cultural norms or face expulsion, or worse.