|Reaction #1: Excitement Reaction #2: Whatever Reaction #3: The Intense & Helpful Idea|
"The Helpful Idea" has been by far the most telling. I have spent half my life, a bit here, a bit there, steeped in art. Most people haven't and as a result their conception of art is fundamentally different to mine. It reveals itself in their ideas about what I could do. The ideas tend to be intense and range from the useful to the insulting to the laugh out loud bizarre but they have one thing in common - Art Is Pictures.
I do not think Art Is Pictures. I certainly do not think Pictures Is Art.
Last night, on my Business Studies course, I was asked to do an elevator pitch. The idea of this is to explain your business to a stranger before they've had a chance to escape out of the lift you are both in. Its purpose in the real world is to help find customers and in the classroom is to help you clarify your own understanding of your business. This was the first time I had spoken to the group as a whole about what I get up to and some words came tumbling out as I tried to explain.
"You can have a relationship with a painting. Look at that photo on the wall, you can get everything you ever will get out of it in a couple of glances, but if you hang a decent painting on your wall then even if you look at it every day for a year you'll still be getting new things from it and you'll still be engaging with it." By things I mean pleasure, emotions, thoughts, the spotting of links, insights and so on. From the reaction I got it was plain that some people there had never thought about art as anything more than a pretty picture and certainly never considered owning any. Those few words generated a frightening amount of curiosity. Next week, ready or not, I have to bite the bullet and take my work public as a result.
So for now, my working definition of art is this:
"Art is a [insert art form here] with which both the creator and the viewer can have an ongoing relationship"
and frankly, even if I say so myself, that is the best and most succinct definition I have ever come across!