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Topic: Difference between crafts and art  (Read 1810 times)
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girlonjourney
« on: August 16, 2005 03:34:57 AM »

What are your thoughts on what makes something a "craft" versus "art"?  I make wreaths, and people tell me that it is "art" but I just can't bring myself to call it that. And, I hesitate to apply to "art" shows as I think my stuff does not fit this criteria. Does anyone have a good idea on what makes something art versus craft?
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the littlest ninja
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2005 05:15:43 AM »

Now, I probably don't have the most unbiased opinion on the matter, but here goes....

In theory, art is whatever the artist/creator/whatever determines is art.  The whole beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder thing.  Something spawned from the light of creativity or whatever.  IMHO, this is a load of hooey.  If I crap on a canvas, hang it on a wall, and call it art, does that mean it's art?

In reality, art is whatever the *consumer/viewer* decides is art.  Of course, the artist/creator can be considered a viewer too, but it comes down to a more social and possibly economic opinion.  A lot of people take issue with this idea, because it's practical and not a spiritual or "beautiful" opinion on the subject.  So, take my "Crap on Canvas" thing, hang it on the wall, and someone decides they like it and will give me $30,000 for it.  Is it art now that the consumer has deemed it so?  I would say more so than if I were the only one calling it art. 

Craft, on the other hand, can pretty clearly be defined as something created through a person's technical ability to fulfill a useful and/or aesthetic need.  Can crafts be art? Sure, but you don't necessarily need make a craft pleasingly aesthetic.  Can art be craft?  Sure, but you don't necessarily need technical skill to create art.

Now, I work with egotistical bastard art students all the time, so, my view of art and artists is a wee bit tainted.  Although I'm an art student, I still consider myself a craftsperson first.
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girlonjourney
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2005 04:57:36 PM »

Thank you SO much for that response! I needed some input on the issue from someone outside of my circle. ...this is probably just me projecting my own insecurities onto other people...but I have felt in the past like what I create, a craft,  is less than art and to be called an artist is somehow superior to crafter. Maybe I get this from trying to apply to certain shows and also responses from others who create and sell beautiful and expensive pieces of art. Or maybe it is my own fear of failure...blah blah
I will bookmark this page and refer back when I start my self-doubting again!
Now, do you think crap on a canvas would sell best in a gallery or an outdoor show?
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meg4568
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2005 05:01:04 PM »

Craft becomes art, in my opinion, when it goes beyone being functional and/or decorative. (either by making a statement, breaking one or many of the rules of craft, being genuinely abnormal, etc...)
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girlonjourney
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2005 05:06:07 PM »

I see, that makes sense.
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meg4568
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2005 05:29:36 PM »

your wreaths are pretty artistic, tho
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2005 07:36:10 PM »

In my mind, the definition of "art" and "artist" lost a lot of its significance and esteem with the advent of the Modern Art movement.  Maybe I'm just an old crabbypants, but technical skill and ability, and even artistic tuition, have simply become secondary in the art world, and the only thing that matters now is how easily you can bullshit other people into buying your crap-on-canvas.  Of course, it's one of those things, like beauty, truth, or ethics, that eludes a standard definition, and varies depending on who you ask.  So, in lieu of an idealized or aesthetic definition of art, I have adopted a very practical definition of it.  Needless to say, there are a lot of people who disagree completely with my definition, and actually get offended by it.

Honestly, I hold craftspeople in higher esteem than most so-called artists I know, simply because craftspeople take technical ability and quality of work to be as important in the process as aesthetic result or cultural impact.  Maybe I just hang out in the wrong circles, but many so-called artists consider themselves artists simply because they have a canvas and paint, and huffily refuse artistic criticism because, hey, they're artists and they don't have to please anyone. 

So, don't sell yourself short.  It's entirely possible that you are both a craftsperson and an artist.  I also have a hesitancy to call myself an artist, but I'll take the compliment if someone else gives it.  It's difficult to judge yourself, also, because people often have a difficult time being completely honest with themselves.  So, in such a gray area, it's best not to definitively stick yourself in either corner, and take the praise, whether artist or craftsperson as testament to your abilities.

As for "Crap on Canvas," I'd go for the outdoor exhibition, because...you know...the smell...
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2005 07:51:08 PM »

I think either way it takes SKILL to make art or craft, otherwise, ANYONE could do it. And if anyone can do it because they all have that specific level of skill, then that's different, because at least everyone has that skilll...But say someone has acces to a bunch of paint, and then they dip a brush in and splatter it on a canvas...that's not art unless there's a hidden image or such. Otherwise the splatter could be just a design that is pleasing in a particular space. Like on all those design shows a bunch of stuff they do isn't "art" to me but a little craft that requires some small skill and looks good in the room.

And then there are designers...That takes skill to be good, but I wont call it art always. Like Andy Warhol, I don't call that art, I call that a design. (the multicolored stuff) It's not bad, I just don't consider it art.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2005 07:53:28 PM by humblestumble » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2005 08:11:44 PM »

I went to a Contemporary and Modern art museum in D.C. (as in the American capitol) with my Geologist brother and his fiance. We enjoyed ourselves but my bro said, at the end, something like, "A lot of that stuff was really good, but I think I could do some of the other things!"
I'm both an artist and a bit of a crafter, so I tried to explain my views on the whole, "Is this art???" issue. I told him that, yeah, he could probably find 28 frames, paint them beige, and fill them with completely black images. And, yes, he might be able to find a piece of an old jungle gym and wire old neon signs to it. What he needs to ask himself, however, is would he? Would have ever occured to him to do either of those things?
Personally, I also thought some of the art he questioned was crap, but that's not the point. Art, I believe, is anything that a person creates to express a part of his or her self. If that really means sticking a tampon in a teacup and calling it a day (anyone here a fan of Ghost World?), then by all means go ahead. And if it means drawing Don Knotts because you just like Don Knotts, than that's art, too.
Wreathgirl - I don't think that you're wreathes are art because you hesitate to call them that. When you feel comfortable with the term, then they will be.
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meg4568
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2005 08:14:17 PM »

I think either way it takes SKILL to make art or craft, otherwise, ANYONE could do it. And if anyone can do it because they all have that specific level of skill, then that's different, because at least everyone has that skilll...But say someone has acces to a bunch of paint, and then they dip a brush in and splatter it on a canvas...that's not art unless there's a hidden image or such. Otherwise the splatter could be just a design that is pleasing in a particular space. Like on all those design shows a bunch of stuff they do isn't "art" to me but a little craft that requires some small skill and looks good in the room.

And then there are designers...That takes skill to be good, but I wont call it art always. Like Andy Warhol, I don't call that art, I call that a design. (the multicolored stuff) It's not bad, I just don't consider it art.
what about jackson pollock? personally, i think he was a revoutionary genuis.
and when the idea coes up "anyone could do that" greenwhimsy, you pinned it on the nose!
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