Lately I’ve been gleefully pondering at the slogan of an app in my tablet that says “Where everyone becomes a great artist.”
If you happen to be a smart phone user who are into taking pictures and tweaking them, you’ll probably know which app I am talking about. Yes, it’s the PicsArt!
The question I’ve had is: if everyone can become or actually becomes a great artist, then will the art still be art?
I’ve always thought of Art, the art, as something more or less lofty, refined, and a uniquely creative product that comes from a talented and/or well-trained individual (the artist), not something that can be produced and reproduced mechanically (or digitally in this case) by anybody and massively.
That question has prompted me to check what the art actually is by definition. And these are some of the more common definitions I’ve got online:
The Wikipedia, the most accessible encyclopaedic reference for a common folk like myself, says of the art simply as “a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many endeavors (or artforms) united by their employment of the human creative impulse.”
Now that makes more sense. If art is just what the Wikipedia says it is, then the slogan is just fine. No big deal. Everybody has creative impulses, and most of us do something about these impulses.
Even when the definition is narrowed down to mean visual art — of which PicsArt’s business is all about — what Ms Wiki says would still hold: visual art is nothing more than a branch of art with a narrowed down focus, that is the production of images and objects.
Then of course we know that in the long bygone days, art (the same word that makes the art or Art with capital A) simply meant any skills or mastery that was not differentiated from crafts or sciences.
However, still with a bit more curiosity, I tried to explore further and opened one of the most trusted dictionaries I have. And this is what the Oxford dictionary says:
“art [mass noun] 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“.
That part that I underlined had me ask further: what are these things called beauty and emotional power?
By this time I realized that the answer to the initial question I asked was not as simple as I would love it to be. Beauty and emotional power are a subject of vast discussions, philosophical and scientific wise. So, I think I’d just stop there for now. Perhaps I should just believe that whatever the slogan means, art has been or has once again mean simply something that our creative impulses want us to make; let the questions of beauty or emotional power be as anybody wants to interpret it. Let the art be popular, let it belong to the masses, let it be produced and reproduced ‘infinitely’ by any means, and let it be the source of happiness — even if it means just a shroud of clouds that protect us from getting burned by the harsh realities of the everyday.
Warsaw, 26 January 2014,