Friday, May 14, 2010

Does it Matter?

I am often asked “How long did it take you to make that?” There are so many answers to that question – how long in terms of technical skill – how long in terms of artistic development – how long in terms of inspiration – how long in terms of interpretation and on and on – so is “how long” an important part of the definition of “art”. Is that a question that should even be asked when viewing a work? Is a work a piece of art if it is put together in 15 minutes? Should there even be a thought given to the “time” a work takes to complete? Is a work that takes six months “better” art than a work that takes 6 days? So I would think the better question to ask is what does the work say? Does the work speak to you? Does it send a message to viewers? Is the message one that you wanted to convey to the viewer? Do you “get it”?

Then there is the “is it good” question. As I look at art works today I am often puzzled at why this work is considered “fine art” or “a work of art” and to me it looks as if my grand daughters made it. The colors are awful, the composition is awful, there seem to be no skills used in the production of this piece of “fine art”! So how does a work become considered “art”? Does the infamous “they” make the rules as to what is acceptable “art”? In looking at the journey art has taken over the years I’m thinking the rules change with society’s ideas, thoughts and views. What is considered a “major work of art” in today’s times most likely would have seen the maker or artist run out of town on a rail 50 or 60 or 100 years ago. How do we as artists make this happen? Are the artists the ones that are actually providing the viewers the works to mould what is “a work of art” or are the viewers molding the artists?

So the bottom line for me is – it doesn’t matter! I “make” because I like what I’m doing. I “make” because I have something inside I want to express. There are times that need is only to say – hey look at these colors – aren’t they pretty! Sometimes that need is to express something deeper - regret, loss, anger. It may not be so “pretty”. If a viewer is touched by my work then they get it. I have been successful in conveying my message.


  1. Hooray for this post Laura. You said it all I believe. I think all artists get thta questions from many who look at their pieces. Another question is....are you a craftsman or an artist? Where is that fine line? So many questions. I "make" because I enjoy it so much, and I also enjoy listening to others when they look at what I've made. Some love it and some ask "How long did it take you?", or What are you going to do with that, it's not useful." Oh each his own I guess.

  2. I agree with you entirely. I remember having this discussion in my literaure and art classes. I believe art changes as society changes. It transforms it because art has always been the means which humans express their dreams, emotions, desires, thoughts,etc. For example after WWI art was used to express the trauma caused by the war, thus dadaism, the complete void of rationality and the focus of the subconscious irrational expression of the human condition. So I wonder what does art say about us now. What is the human society trying to express now?

  3. Truer words could not be spoken...I love my slow cloth processes and you have the right approach. Who really cares? It is like breathing to me! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  4. Well stated, Laura. Thanks for this wonderful post.