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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What is worthwhile art?

Artist: Sophia Elise
Media: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 25cm x 25cm

Today I'm pondering the question - "What is worthwhile art?" This question was provoked by an email I received today. Not an email directed at my art - but a general comment about worthwhile art having a specific voice and means to be heard.

I had never thought of art being classified as "worthwhile" before - well more precisely that some art wouldn't be considered worthwhile in some peoples eyes. Ok, admittedly, some art is not be to my taste - or maybe it doesn't have the technical finesse of other artworks - but I never thought about it not being worthwhile. At the very core of it - at the very least - it is a worthwhile artwork for the person who has created it surely. It is something they have enjoyed, felt compelled to do, have expressed an emotion or shared a scene - to them it was worthwhile.

To me - It is worthwhile if that artwork has helped someone in some way - be it the creator or the viewer. If it has put a smile on someones face - made them feel something within - evoked a conversation - created a connection - then that is worthwhile to me. A child's artwork is worthwhile to the parent who receives it and the child who has created it with love. The artwork that we see as a "mistake" is worthwhile to that child that loves it and retrieves it from the junk pile to hang in their room. Or the artwork that is donated to charity to raise funds for a cause. Or simply the one that is beautiful - which of course is in the eye of the beholder.

Perhaps my art may not be termed worthwhile by academic circles but to the hundreds of people that have purchased my art and who enjoy hanging it on their walls it's worthwhile. It was worthwhile to me to be able to create it and share part of my spirit on canvas. It was worthwhile to my children who hang it on their walls and proudly tell their classmates that their mum is an artist on google (how cute is that! lol) It was worthwhile to the artists I have swapped artworks with. It is worthwhile to the charities that have benefited from the artwork donations I've made.

So - Who is the judge of what is worthwhile? What is the criteria? Is there criteria? Is it arrogance to state some art is worthwhile and other art isn't? Is it an intellectulisation born out of academia? Or is it a real life issue? What are your thoughts?


Heide E. said...

Hello Sophia!

You are right - I make the same experiance as a musician, too. Especially in academic circles they use to charge and smaler all kind of different music, just as if it's less worth, or even clutter!
They damn all commercial music and are often unable to realize and to cherish heartful music, played by "normal" people.
Julia Cameron wrote a book about that subject ("The Artist's Way")

I have once been guard at an exhibition. In the room was a grand piano. Suddenly a handicaped man came in, together with his family. They asked me if he is allowed to play the piano, because he has always dreamed of playing one day.
So he sat down and started to play - and believe me it was magic!!!! He has never played before and he didn't play "Bach" or "Mozart" - he just played out of the now - AND I recognized the musician he was - he played with love and passion, soft and intense and he PLAYED - meaning that he had no limits and even no handicaps in that moment! How much more handicaps do academics have, or far my thoughts to your blog - by the way, we are friends at FB, do you know me? Love Heide

Eyes Wide Digital said...

I like the artwork, that could work as a funky deckchair!