Open Thread-Imma share this post in full

Art: Will My Paintings Become Famous Now? by Artist Jeff Zarb Artiste Chic
Will My Paintings Become Famous Now? by Jeff Zarb Artiste Chic

…because it’s short and relevant.

Marketing guru Seth Godin said:

My definition of art contains three elements:

  1. Art is made by a human being.
  2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
  3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.

By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work. 

If you’re a regular reader, you’re likely here because you’re  an actual artist, know an artist, aspire to being an artist, or just plain like art.

How does this definition jive with you?

Author: Amie Gillingham

all-around geek girl and co-founder of EBSQ

14 thoughts on “Open Thread-Imma share this post in full”

  1. I agree this definition is a “part” of what I consider “art”.

    I don`t think it comes close to encompassing the idea in it`s entirety.

    I have too many caveats concerning the definition in my mind.


      1. I think my caveats would mostly be ad hoc standards of what “Isn`t” art concerning the creative process or lack of it.

        My community has had some controversial deabtes about what is and isn`t “art” concerning our public displays.
        It`s gotten quite heated.

        For example dealing with just these three standards Godin has raised.

        !.Art is made by a human being.

        I`d word it differently…

        1: Art is made by the human mind.

        “Art” can be copied,stolen,licensed,mass produced by human hands but any type of original creatiivity requires the human mind.

        2:Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.

        As has been mentioned here by other commentors sometimes art is made to influence/express ones self and has nothing to do with what others take from it.

        3:Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.

        This is right on.
        It isn`t the material product of the artistic process that defines “art” .
        “Art” is the concept/creativity/ideas that caused it`s production.

  2. I am in total agreement with # 1 and #3. #2 is good also but I would say that art is either to have an or respond to an impact to others and indeed ourselves.

    1. upon posting it occurred to me that I would add that art is more of an external expression of the internal. Driven by the intimate need of the artist to convey. How people respond to it does not make for good art only good marketing.

      1. I really love your point. Is it the response that makes it art or is it something inherent within the creation (or the act of creation itself) that makes art ART?

  3. Interesting. I just don’t see #2, but I might be missing something and I’m certainly no expert on the world of art. What about the writer who sits up at night and writes a little bit a beautiful novel every night after her kids go to bed and doesn’t actually complete it for 25 years, which is when she first shows it to someone? Was she not an artist until the intent to impact someone came into the picture? Or, what about the reclusive man who did quirky pieces in his home and showed no one while he was alive, only to have them discovered after his death and have him launched, post mortem from obscurity to fame? Or the famous artist who creates a series of paintings for his own personal enjoyment, after suffering an emotional and psychological breakdown, painted right onto the walls of his apartment, without ever making an attempt to show anyone else? They don’t seem to be made to impact, but they would seem to be art.

    Is it possible for art to be just for you and no one else?

    1. I think its possible for art to be just for you and no one else. I guess going by Seth’s proposed definition, it’s art if it would have an impact on others if they saw/experienced it, even if they never do. If our art becomes artefact, will it be classified as art by future generations?

  4. I have to agree, that #2 does not completely jive with me, not do I think this is an encompassing list. To begin, I will just address what is here.

    Two and three – I would replace “is” with “may”.

    When I create I *may* change someone…or maybe I just change me. I may create a piece that evokes a response from the viewer, but perhaps doesn’t change them, per se. That’s okay. If it takes them to a time and place, great. If they appreciate it for its beauty, great. If they relate it to something in them that has absolutely nothing to do with what caused me to create it, that’s great too.

    Currently in my pile of soon-to-be-finished works are a couple of environmentally related pieces. Do I expect them to change anybody? Not really. Maybe, just maybe, I can hope to raise someone’s consciousness about caring for Mother Earth. I suppose that is a change of sorts, but not in the way Seth is implying, I suspect.

    Art can be a gift, in many ways. It is most effective when it is a gift to one’s self. For many of us, to be complete, we create. That is the best gift.

  5. 1. Yup, no issue there.
    2. Impact is a necessary component of art. If there is no impact, the art doesn’t matter. Whether you love it or hate it, the main thing it that it should elicit a reaction. It may or may not change you. But it can certainly be created for its own sake, and any impact it may have is only a by-product. There is an age-old debate on whether art should be created for its own sake or whether it should convey a message, have a purpose other than just existing.
    3.I don’t agree completely. The gift is the gift of the artist’s self, whether it is to oneself or to another. The art is more than just its support or material.

  6. My take on this is the impact is a aspect of the viewer, not the creator. We say things like, “That art speaks to me” which is the whole point. You have to be listening. first. Art is in the viewer’s eye and it appears uniquely to each of us as we view it. It speaks implies communication. We tell a story from our perspective and in doing so, reveal so aspect of ourselves and our relationship to the world to the viewer which can include ourselves as we address things that might be part of our unconsciousness. So all art is self portrait, is communication and requires a viewer. Just my thoughts.

  7. Thoughts on number one: Monkeys can draw and paint but speaking just for me, I don’t think that’s art. Animals can do lots of other things and we might say it’s art. But humans are the ones saying it, not monkeys. They could probably care less.
    Thought on number two: Well, consider the source…he IS a marketing guru.
    Thought on number three: Art is a gift, I agree, but the rest I thought could be interpreted several different ways, and was kind of vague to me. That’s just one person’s opinion. It is interesting to see others interpretation though.

  8. I don’t know about art being created to “change someone else” but I’ve read several times that art is something that evokes a response/emotion. That emotion can be negative or positive, it doesn’t matter, as long as it makes a person feel something it is art.

    This is not something that occurs to me when I’m painting or even brainstorming for a painting. I most often choose to paint something because there is something “right” about the arrangement of elements or the combination of colors – just like a photographer catching an incredible image from just the right angle. Another photographer could take the same picture but from a slightly different angle and the “rightness” is lost.

    I apologize for not explaining this better. For me it’s not really something that can be described – it’s like an innate balance found in the natural order of the universe. Maybe some people call that beauty and for them it causes an emotional response. Creating in the opposite of this balance also evokes a response.

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