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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?


Wendy said…
Hi Adria,
Great question! I think your last statement is the bottom line: just do it. Because it is in the process of creating that the artist's voice begins to emerge. At least this is true for me. I can have all kinds of ideas about what to paint, but until I start putting brush to canvas, I really don't know what I have to say. For me, the creative process comes from a source that is not entirely conscious. I'm a pretty grim person but the images I produce are joyful. So where do they come from? Not my every-day self at all. Are my paintings art? That, I don't know but I'm going to keep doing it. Thanks again for the terrific question. Wendy

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