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Never formally studying art, but being devotedly devious on dA for quite some time, I found myself pondering the very meaning of art; what is it, what defines it, and what does it mean to my fellow deviants? I thought back on deviant stereotypes of the general galleries and how some have been so outraged or passionate about deviantArt's definition (and sometimes lack of) the very thing that has us all so deviant, art.
I turned to my friends here on dA, and wrote a short questionnaire, posting it in my journal. I figured, who better to ask about art than the artists? Who better to clarify my foggy ideas, who better to voice their opinions on the matter? This little experiment means a few things to me. I would like other deviants to read this (as well as comment their own opinion) so that we all may know how other's view art for our own personal progress. I would like for you all to consider (and maybe reconsider) your own definitions of your own art, as well as others. But mostly, I would like to find my own interpretation as the lines and definitions are clarified by my comrades.
Please, feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments and engage in conversation. Please do not slander an person quoted or any gallery on deviantArt/
1. What is art to you?
"A way to share what we're having to say via a certain form: It may be photography, painting, words, etc. As long as it share a vision." ~julienpier
"Art is a personal expression of a thought, feeling, idea etc.
Art should always have a purpose, be it some deep and meaningful This photo will change your life! purpose, or simply to create something thats aesthetically pleasing and puts he audience in a certain state of mind." ~justaLITTLEbitter
"Anything and everything." `thespook
"To me, art must be creative and skilled. If I could replicate something similar to the 'art' on display in about 5 minutes, I'm not so likely to think of it as art, or if it seems like the 'artist' is trying to be too clever by half, eg with a flickering lightswitch or an unmade bed, I'm less likely to think of it as art." `joannastar
2. How would you define Art Photography and differentiate it from other photography?
"To me, art is...a mirror for the truest - even if not always purest - human emotion, and feeling them and seeing the world as they see it is, in itself, art to me. When an artist creates, he/she is, even if they try not to, exposing some portion of their soul - what they think, what they like, what they dislike, how they feel, what they want, what they need..." =BlendedPaths
"I think this depends wholly on the type of art presented, as all aspects of life and art particularly everyone has different views, taste's and opinions. I think art photography ( to me ) has a concept before execution as does a painting in the same way, whether it be in the execution of editing or composing of a single photograph.
Myself I prefer to have a concept in mind and then to think how to express that through a photograph rather than in the editing, but everyone works differently and it works either way in my opinion." !papaspaulding
"I consider Art Photography to be pieces with deeper meanings, or those in which the message isn't obvious right away. They convey emotion or invite you to figure out the artist's intention or make up your own. As for how it differentiates from other photography...that depends on what you mean by "other photography"" =silber-englein
3. Do you view photomanipulation as an art? What types of photomanipulations do you not view as art?
"I think it's just as much as an art as photography or painting. I think the only exception would be taking a myspacey picture, converting it to black and white, leaving the eyes and lips in color, and blurring or darkening the edges. Haha." ~Ericana
"Photomanipulation is art, though at times it can be an easier or shorter method of creating art. The problem I see with photomanipulation is that people view it as a 'cheat' -- especially those who create it. You can't cheat good art. Just as much time and effort needs to be expended in a photo-manipulation to make it aesthetically pleasing, and it's very easy to tell which photo-manipulations accomplish this task and which fall short." ~Inqy
"I believe that true photomanipulation is art. It takes a highly creative individual to take stocks with no background and sometimes no story, and transform it into a living, breathing inspiration." ~bewarecalamity
"Photomanipulation is as much of an art as any other. Just as the Mona Lisa is of better quality than a kindergarten painting, some photomanipulations are better than others. However, when a deviant simply takes a stock image and increases the contrast, adjusts the colour or applies a filter, I do not view the deviation as a photomanipulation let alone art." ~justaLITTLEbitter
"[I don't view] Very basic/trivial manipulations of someone else's original image [as art]." ~johohanna
"Photomanipulation is an art. Albeit, a trashy tabloid making Angie look 90 pounds fatter to sell magazines isn't exactly classy, but PM is a skill, and can be used for good or evil
There's an obvious difference between someone dicking around with Photoshop and sticking their head on Popeye's body and an actual piece of art Photomanipulation. There's a lot to be learned about textures, colours, and creating new, seamless worlds with the bits and pieces of unrelated ones.
And hell, some of the greatest art works on the 20th century were photomanips! Look at Hannach Hoch." *Buuya
4. What gallery do you participate/post to on dA, where you see a difference between art and what you consider "not art"? What is that difference?
"Photography and textures are my main galleries. Sometime you can see people treat the photography gallery like a photobucket, but I haven't really noticed this lately. As for textures, and this applies to all of Resources, sometimes people seem to think their junk photos would be useful to people, so we'll see a lot of blurry/useless textures submitted to Textures. Again, it's all about intention. If someone intended for a photo to be a useful texture that someone would use, it'll have some redeeming qualities about it, but if it's just some throwaway 'dud' photo, I don't know why they even bother submitting it." `thespook
"In 3d > Characters > Female, I find a lot of the 'inflation art' to be 'not art' for me. A lot of it - though not all - is badly executed (it doesn't pass my, 'I couldn't replicate this with little effort) test, and uncreative - I mean, how many images do we need where the entire point is large boobs?" `joannastar
"I'm a photographer so... I'd say that in photography there is a fine line... so fine that sometime it's hard to separate what is and what's not... I'd say that not art is something that's been overdone, like the same old pose that's been used over and over again! With no Innovation!" ~julienpier
5. Is art in "the eye of the beholder"?
"Yes. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions and interpretations. That's what makes art, art." ~mode-de-vie
"I would say it is, as everyone has his or her own ideas and cultural influences." =silber-englein
"I believe if someone as an artist presents something to the public as a piece of art then they have there reasons of doing so as long as it can be backed up i respect that, whether i like the art or not I still respect it as a piece of art.
I believe if someone views something as a piece of art who am i to tell them any different and I would not want to take that away from the person." !papaspaulding
"To a certain extent, art is in the eye of the beholder.
Just as not everyone is expected to enjoy the same music, not everyone should be expected to appreciate the same art or form of art.
Although, when it is clear there was no effort put into the piece and it has no concept or purpose, I would not consider the piece an artwork." ~justaLITTLEbitter
6. Would you consider a snap-shot "art"?
"It depends. If it makes me think, I'd say yes." ~twoyearslate
"If it was well executed and held my attention, I probably would." `joannastar
"They can be, look at Polaroids for example, a camera, film and genre that revels in snap-shots and 'bad' photography. Somehow, taking a 'happy-snap' or snap-shot with a digital camera is not art, but doing it with a Polaroid or holga is. " `thespook
7. Would you consider snap-shots of the photographer in a mirror as a "portrait" or "art"?
"Hmmm....well. Again, for me there is a fine line here. I think that sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, just as "snapshots" in general. It all goes back to art being defined by the viewer's eye. For me, most times, this type of shot is not emotion inspiring in and of itself. I have, however, seen pieces like this that have been manipulated in some way, and thought, "wow - what awesome creative efforts!" But, who am I to take that definition away from someone else by putting a value on something that someone else might really love?" =BlendedPaths
"Portrait yes... but art, no! I do this sometime for fun but... I never considered this as art." ~julienpier
"It depends vastly upon the piece in question." ~Inqy
"I would consider it crap! unless there was an artistic reason for doing so other than to show themselves like a myspace shot type thing as in 'look at me dont i look hot' lol no you look fucking stupid and desperate..ok ok i wont rant...hmmm count to ten, next question" !papaspaulding
"The term snap-shot makes it seem as though youre referring to myspace shots with using a little digital camera, though there are some photographs that use the mirror concept quite well and I would most certainly call those self-portraits of the highest quality. For example: [link] I think it really depends on the composition and how well the photograph was thought-through." ~justaLITTLEbitter
8. Do you consider fan-fiction and fan art, art to be posted on dA?
"It clutters up the pages too much To be honest I'm not even sure what fan art is. I never look at it. I think dA caters to a wide-range of "artistic" communities. And everyone has to start somewhere." ~johohanna
"Most definitely. A lot of it might be done by artists still developing their skills, but it is art just as much as any other form." `thespook
"Lol, it's half my gallery, so I suppose I should answer yes
Here's the deal. Fanart is an IMMENSELY broad category. Sometimes, you are merely inspired by something you read/saw. Is this fanart? Sometimes, it's a celebration, or exploration of a character. There can be some really great fanart, if people bring something to it." *Buuya [Author's note: *Buuya's gallery rocks my world.]
9. Would you say that 10+ deviations of the same type (the photographer's face, a poem with the same themes, etc) devalues the original concept and art?
"Again, it depends on their intent, and it's artistic merits. An entire gallery of the exact same passport photo would just make me smile, I'd love that. Endlessly exploiting a theme, however, is a different story. " `thespook
"Most professional photographers will take multiple shots of the same scene/concept. The artistic mastery comes in selecting which few (or even just one) make the most compelling compositions, and which bring across the message they are trying to convey with the most success." ~Inqy
"Absolutely not, because the same concept can be expressed in a million different ways from within a person's soul. As long as it means something to them, even if it means the same thing to someone else (which is what art does - connects people), I believe it will always have value." =BlendedPaths
"Yeah, I guess. Eventually it just gets boring. I use to watch someone on here (unwatched later), not saying who, who took great pictures but only submitted pictures of herself and they eventually got boring and I didn't see anything special in them anymore. But I'm watching her again because she's getting better and amazing me with everything she submits and has other models now." ~Ericana
10. Is there anything else you would like to add on the subject?
"Art can really be anything. It's such an intensely broad concept in our scatterbrained, blackberry-wired, Starbucks-injected society Just make what you like." *Buuya
"My view of art is very open ended, and depends more on my eyes (and other senses, come to that) than on what school the artist went to. I can see art in urban decay, in nature, in city streets, in spilled garbage cans. I see art everywhere and in everything. It does me no good to discriminate, and I have to question the motives of people that do." `thespook
"It shocks me how many people on dA go around telling other people that their art is not art. Or whole galleries are 'not art' or you might produce art but you're not 'an artist'.
To my mind that's born of fear and jealousy. A lot of people who do art in one way perceive artists who do things differently but get similar results as taking unfair shortcuts, and deem their work not to be art because they think it was easier to produce. I think that's silly. If I had a penny for every traditional artist complaining about digital art, every film photographer complaining about digital photographers, and every 3d modeller complaining about poser users, I think I'd be rich." `joannastar
"There can be bad art and good non-art...that's a whole other debate." ~johohanna
"Just the fact that I've been thinking about art quality for a while, and am glad someone is making an article about this!" ~mode-de-vie
"That in art, there is no rules! Only boundaries to be broke and roads to deviate from! So don't be scared to take the muddy road no one take, I am sure there is something awesome laying there, waiting to be shown !" ~julienpier
There we have it folks, now it's time for you to say what YOU think art is.