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Monday, September 14, 2015

Is it Art?

I write a lot about technology in this blog. I’ve already made the case that technology is eating up jobs. So, what are we going to do when all the jobs are gone? How about art? Even if computers can do art, we would rather experience human art -- except for maybe the stuff a five year old does. Only a parent could see beauty in that crap. I guess you’ve gotta start somewhere.

I’ve noticed that most people associate “art” with the visual arts. If I ask a friend if they are an artist, they might say something like, “I can’t draw for shit.” My friends have foul mouths. Lot’s of things are art though. Obviously, music is art, but what about food? People who cook use a pallet of ingredients combined with various equipment to produce an olfactory and gastronomic experience that, like a good painting, runs the gamut from nasty (see 5 yr old art) to amazing.

I have some friends that do woodworking. They just call it woodworking, but I call it art. The crap I make, you wouldn’t put in your attic. The stuff they build, you’d probably pay good money for. Why? Because it looks good -- just like a good painting.

Some people design their own clothes. Others vandalize the neighbor’s trees with toilet paper. I think that looks really cool. Once, the kids in my neighborhood put toilet paper in one of my trees. I went out and added more. I didn’t feel their work was thorough enough. My neighbor asked when I was going to “clean it up.” I said I already had. It looked much better.

After a few days, it rained and I had to pick up the paper off the lawn. I thought about mowing it, but decided against. If you’re from Ann Arbor, you will know that green and white doesn’t go over big with the locals. My point is that art is where you find it. There are no rules about art except that you generally need to do something to create it. Here’s me with my band Sweet Melissa making some live art. I’m the guy who’s not allowed to sing (but they let me talk) who is just playing bass.

Here’s a pizza I made. Sure, it was dinner, but it was also art. Treating the things that you make as art makes the effort more fun and probably improves the results too. Whether something is art or not is more a matter of the creator’s attitude than the type of thing produced. Maybe you’re an artist after all!

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