Friday, May 1, 2015

Ⓥ "Art"

Last weekend, my sister and I went to an art/craft sale in Morgantown. I took my jewelry and she took some of her photographs. The idea of the sale was to get some exposure for local artists. I have always thought of myself as a creative person, but not necessarily an artist. I have never been entirely certain about what actually classifies something as"art". It has always been my opinion that art should have a message, a goal, something to say, as well as an appeal.

Of course, whether or not there is a message present in a certain piece is pretty subjective. I know there are people who see deep meaning in things that I don't. I also know that there are plenty of people who don't like the kind of things that I make; my jewelry, poetry, etc. So I try to refrain from criticizing other people's art. However, there are some times when I think criticism is forgivable.

There was one person at the sale who brought a puzzle (not a hand-made puzzle, but one that they bought and put together) of a baby pig, with letters cut out of a magazine and glued to it. The letters read "When I grow up I want to taste great." I'm sorry, but that is not art. If it had been intended to, in some way, shed light on the absurdity of that statement, then sure. But I don't believe it was, and anything that does nothing but shamelessly defend the status quo, with absolutely no justification or alternate perspective, earns no artistic merit. As far as I'm concerned, this is the artistic equivalent of replying "Mmmmmm bacon" to a logical debate.

I have also recently seen many stories online about various "artists" torturing and killing animals to use in their art. Anything that requires the suffering of another being is also devoid of artistic value. I have seen artists who use their own bodies for their art, sometimes inflicting great pain on themselves in the process, and this I feel can truly be called art. To sacrifice your own body, or comfort, for the sake of expressing your message to the world shows true commitment to that message. To use the body of another in that way, only conveys your own sadism.

In my opinion, true art should have a soul, a conscience. It should have empathy and compassion, that is what gives it its power. Art without those things is empty, meaningless. Art should open our eyes; make us see things differently. It should make us want to be better people.
My favorite piece, by one of my favorite artists, Amanda Moeckel

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