ARTZINE: What is Art Anyway?

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This Month – What is Art Anyway?

There are many definitions of art online, but my favourite is the one on Wikipedia:

“Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities.”

I also found this:

“The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works, usually visual, to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”

And there was this:

“A skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.”

I asked my husband what he thought, he said …

“Real art should be something that inspires the higher states in man.”I asked him for an example, he said … “The music of Bach!”

I asked my 12 year-old step-daughter what she thought, she said …

“Art is about people creating things from their own imagination.”I asked her for an example, she said … “Songs, games, drawings and oh, the Mona Lisa!”

The Mona Lisa by ‘Fatcatart’

The paintings ‘made better with cats’


I asked my 13 year-old step-son what he thought, he said …

“Art is about self-expression.” and “Art is in the eye of the beholder!” When I asked him for an example he disappeared for 20 minutes and returned with this fresh pastel creation …

One Tree Hill by Reemon
One Tree Hill by Reemon

When I told him how beautiful it was he said it was awful. So I reminded him of his earlier definitions of art.

I didn’t like Mondrian’s square’s, but he’s considered to be one of the world’s greatest pioneers of abstract art. I only started to understand why when I started to experiment with abstract techniques myself. There was an article about an upcoming exhibition in the news last week. You can read about it here …  Liverpool Tate to host ‘largest’ UK Mondrian exhibition .

What do you think? 

What does art mean for you?

This years Turner Prize nominees are a little unusual. They’re not traditional or even well known, so what makes them so special?

The Turner Prize Nominees 2014

Duncan Campbell – A film-maker, nominated for his video called ‘It For Others’. The video is a reflection on a French, 1953 documentary about African art. Check out his website hereDuncan Campbell Artist

Ciara Phillips – A print-maker, nominated for her temporary print studio, a 2-month project in London, where she invited artists, designers, and local women’s groups to create new screen prints. Check out her website here: Ciara Phillips

James Richards – A film-maker, who uses clips from videos on YouTube & bits of old VHS tapes to make video collage, nominated for a 13-minute black  and white video entitled “Rosebud”. Check out his work in this informative profile / interviewMore Than A Feeling: An Interview with James Richards

Tris Vonna-Michell – A story-teller, who combines the spoken word with slide shows and printed images, nominated for an installation in Brussels using slide projections and audio narration toconvey something of  his mother’s childhood in Berlin. Take a look at some of his work in this profile: Tris Vonna-Michell

Take a look at the Tate’s page to read more about them and the Turner Prize 2014, and Turner Prize 2014: What’s the verdict?  to read some of the reactions to the list …

Not a painting, drawing or sculpture in sight, but then who remembers Turner Prize 1995 …

Damien Hurst
Damien Hurst’s Winning Installation – “Mother and Child Divided”

Mother and Child Divided was composed of a cow and a calf sliced in half  and preserved in glass tanks of formaldehyde. That was almost 20 years ago, and it received many mixed reactions from the general public, as did the following work.

This piece was shortlisted  for the Turner Prize in 1999 …

Tracey Emin's Bed
Tracey Emin’s “My Bed”

… like it or not,  Tracey Emin’s My Bed sold for £2.2m at auction  just a few days ago!!!

  ♦ ♦

For this month’s contributor’s …

What did you think art is or isn’t?

Should it be beautiful, meaningful or just what it is?

Share with us your interpretation of art!

Do you have something to share this month?

Your post can be anything from an image of your favourite work of art 

to a full scale essay of your opinions. The choice is yours.

Include “ARTZINE” in your title and tags so that other readers can find it

and link back to this post to be included here.

To find out more visit the “ARTZINE” page 

And remember it’s all for fun, you don’t need to be an artist or an expert, you just need to turn up to take part.

  ♦ ♦

Next Month on “ARTZINE” …

Sunday, August 3rd – Do We Own Our Art?

Take a look at how original work is being re-used today.


22 thoughts on “ARTZINE: What is Art Anyway?

  1. Hi 🙂
    I find to me art of others is an emotional response; I found the cats funny, for the first few I saw, but then enough was enough 🙂

    I also disliked Mondrian, but I can see his place both in kitchens, where I have an, it looks better but I wouldn’t want it in mine, kind of response; and in the modern Huff hauses, where I think it works beautifully.

    I, as always, am not worried, and find amusing, The Bed, but my disgust is reserved for the one who didn’t look round the world and find better use for a spare 2.2 million.

    The cows disgust me, then I find I have to ask myself…. well don’t we cut up animals to eat them; quickly followed by the yes but of, displaying as art well that’s not nice; ie: I react, turn over my responses, but in the end find, look you just don’t like it so stop beating yourself up about it.

    This last point brings up the often thrown at us conflict of: emotional vs intellectual; in the way of me replying to being asked of a sculpture or painting, ‘what do you think of it?’ –
    ‘I don’t like it’;
    and then being handed the –
    ‘well that’s because you don’t understand it’
    as though I were some idiot who just didn’t have the years of training/mental ability to be able to comprehend the infinite subtleties;
    no mate I just don’t like it, because it’s disgusting/ugly/nasty/cruel/tedious pick the word my emotional response brings up;
    and what I understand when I look at the pile of bricks is that yes we can choose to see and interact with something in many different ways, but the feelings are what counts for me; along with the sense to not shell out squiggliions of spondoolies on something I can pick up down the builders merchants, or dance around my own bedroom 😀

    This again brings up a further point about art; how many times do we look at something shown us in a gallery, and know we could do as well as that; so what stops us; we all have the creativity within us; I think we just need two things, beyond the obvious of time and space, and those are, first, to cross that doorway line on the floor of, trying, just trying, and being willing to explore different mediums, until we discover what brings us the most joy in expressing ourselves and the world; the second is to know it our emotions we are working with, and that to bash ourselves is to create blocks inside us, blocks of I can’t; and they are the real sadness to us.

    So yes, I think art should be meaningful, to us, and that it feeds our souls, both to share what others have done, and to create our own. Thanks for this weeks ARTZINE I love doing it 🙂


    1. Wow, fabulous response Phoenix. It’s a shame there isn’t an award for brilliant comments lol.
      I really agree with your point about a better use for 2.2 million, & I had exactly the same debate about the cows with my husband. (He eats meat, I do not). I don’t think art is something you should have to understand, & understanding it doesn’t guarantee that it’s good either. Deep, hidden meanings are an aspect of art of course, but I think a work should speak for itself. When I look at something it either moves me or it doesn’t. No amount of explanation is going to change that.
      Your point about our own creativity is wonderful & I couldn’t agree more. I have always preferred living art to petrified art. Art should be about the individual expressing their creative essence, rather than idolizing the art of others. I lived for some years in a very creative community of pagan artists & musicians & it was a wonderful time for me. Art can be very healing as it creates an energy flow that is very liberating. It enables people to express all manner of things that might otherwise stay bottled up for years if not lifetimes.
      Thanks for leaving such a meaningful comment Phoenix 🙂


      1. Now that’s one of the, for me, deeper aspects of the meaning of art; one that the lack of causes me pain and so I have pretty much shied away from speaking about it, and that is, that ‘art is freedom’. One of the things I have always wanted is to live in one of those communities; the lack of being in the right place for you; I’ve touched on it, hinted at it, in my own words, but it’s like a cage on which your soul batters the bars; I think many people have lived their lives curled up cramped into the too small space; gee lol that wasn’t a cheery:little ramble, I’d best go out for awhile, be with nature )


          1. I think I will transer my ARTZINE posts over onto one page of their own; then I wont lose them all over my blog lol 🙂


            1. Sounds like a good idea. I didn’t realize you had more than one blog at first, I thought I was imagining things. I kept finding myself in different places lol. I think I’m following them all now. How do you manage? I can hardly cope with one 🙂


              1. lol I’m used to it; Floats is my ‘experimental’ one; for the new-to-me try-outs; the other blogs are easy as I start with, then follow, a choice; but Floats has been a bot of a pest; I’m just not used to, nor comfortable with, the bits of this and that; I love some of the challenges, for example ‘Wordless Wednesday’ but I can’t do them myself as for me, photo’s go in my nature photo blog, and other photo’s go with poems or songs; I have discovered I can’t cope with a photo on it’s own, lol how odd am I; but it has been interesting trying out all these new things 😀


                1. I agree, it’s nice to add some words to a pic. I have the same problem with poems, I always need to add a pic. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t got my poetry gallery posted yet. Plus I’m not so good at poetry lol. Yours is great though 🙂


                    1. well, I read it, and I can’t say I agree with him; though he did say each person is different; I think he is painting with a broad brush 🙂


                    2. You don’t say what it is you disagree with Phoenix. Shimon writes about so many different aspects of the artist, the individual & human consciousness in this short post, & his perception of human suffering & self-expression is so clear, that I can’t believe you disagree with it all.
                      You were talking about freedom & self-censorship in previous comments, which is why I thought you might appreciate his view that only when we liberate ourselves from external rules & opinions does our creative force truly start to flow.
                      I’m off to check out your link now 🙂


  2. I don’t care so much about definitions, I just know what I like. Although I can’t see how that bed could sell for that much and be nominated for a top prize 🙂

    I like the revamped Mona Lisa. Everything is made better with cats.


    1. Absolutely Al, I know what I like too. I really believe art is about doing rather than looking. We’re all artists of some kind & we all need to express that somehow. The cats are cool though, aren’t they, if a little silly lol 🙂


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