ARTOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: New blogger Isabelle Leavy struggles to define art

Who am I? I am Isabelle Leavy. I will be writing a weekly blog about art. Today, I will discuss the definition and purpose of art, so as to help you decide whether or not to read my blog. As far as I am concerned, everyone is entitled to their own opinions about art philosophy, but here I will discuss my own opinions and analysis of art and try to make it enjoyable.

What is art? The dictionary definition is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

However, art can be defined in so many ways that it seems almost foolish to apply such a general definition to such a complex concept. For example, model and artist Hunter Reveur once said, “I like art, and by art I mean music, poetry, sex, paintings, the human body, literature…All of this is art to me.”

Art is incredibly vague. It encompasses so much of what we know, whether that be painting or singing or feeling. Art is a way for humans to express the things they know in a visual or more understandable way. This is one of those questions that is so indefinite that it is best for us all to create our own answers to the question. Screw the dictionary definition on this one.

Why does art matter? This could be debated for hours. As with its definition, the reason for art is not clear and varies from person to person. To me, that is in itself, why art matters. Art is universal. People understand it, no matter their origins, lifestyle, personality, age, gender or other factors. By being human, we have the ability to feel, and by feeling we are able to communicate through art.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone can be Van Gogh or master pointillism or become a famous visual artist. But everyone can form images on the backs of their eyelids when they are closed and dance like nobody’s watching and evoke emotions with their words and body. The creation of “art” is a process and a challenge; depicting the emotion one wants to depict in a more tangible way is not always easy.

However, the observation of said art is equally as important as the piece itself, since it evokes so many conclusions and emotions. Thus, I believe that everyone is an artist, whether in creation or observation. Simply by being human, we have a connection to art, regardless of its definition or importance.

As far as I am concerned, art is a way to communicate things that language is not capable of, and everyone can understand. Art is important because it is universal.

“Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.” —Novelist Leo Tolstoy in his essay “What Is Art?”

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