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Self Expression Vs. Art

Who decides what is art? When does self-expression turn into art?

These are questions prompted by my Intuitive Painting class I teach regularly at the Arlington Center for the Arts. The class is designed to help students find their own unique content through a variety of directed exercises.

Does the individual alone decide to call something art? Does it depend solely on the maker's intent - i.e. if I say it is art, then it is art? Do we need an outside critic to declare something art? Does self expression become Art with a capital A when the maker distances his or her self, and edits the work? I believe the latter is true, but it really doesn't matter in the long run.

Sometimes the best thing to do is stop thinking about it and just do it.

What do you think?