The great french writer, actress and journalist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette once said that there were no ordinary cats. I completely agree with her and find that all cats are extraordinary creatures. I also believe the same thing of art. There is no ordinary art.
Recently, in several of the art groups to which I belong online, the question, “what defines good art and bad art?” has been raised. Personally, I consider this question silly. Art is art…….period!
I am not saying that all artwork is beautiful in the eyes of the viewer. No, not at all. I readily admit that though I appreciate all art, I would not personally want to hang all pieces that I see on the walls of my home! Obviously, taste is personal and that is fine. What I am saying is that the next time you see a piece of art that you do not like and might possibly immediately dismiss as “bad art”, take a moment to consider what that art really conveys.
When you see an artwork, whether you realize it or not, you are gazing upon years of trial and error, joy, frustration, fear, success and failure from the artist. You are truly glimpsing a piece of the artist’s mind and heart and soul through his or her art.
The great Leonardo da Vinci said that the artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of. I would agree, and would expand on this to say that an artist takes this vision and embellishes it so that others can see it, too, but as more than just a glimpse. An artist essentially begins with very little: a germ of an idea and a support such as a blank canvas, or a piece of paper, or a hunk of clay. The ability to visualize the finished creation when you are looking at essentially nothing and then channel that vision into a finished artwork is simply amazing. It is communication and it is truly extraordinary. So next time, you see a piece of art that you think is ugly, that’s ok, but do try to imagine just for a moment all that is contained of the artist in that one piece of art.
I will leave you with another quote attributed to both Colette and Sigmund Freud, “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” Time spent with art is never wasted either.