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Topic: Artsy-fartsy Craft  (Read 928 times)
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« on: March 07, 2011 05:34:56 AM »

I am a fartist.
Not a flatulist, I am a fartist.
Following my decision to major in Crafts, my mother shared a story with me about one of her college professors. She majored in ceramics at the University of North Carolina, specializing in creating small hand-built boxes and vases. She took several classes with a ceramics professor who only created ceramic sculpture. This professor was prone to monologue about the detrimental effects of functionality on the art world, referring to all craft objects as “artsy-fartsy”: pretentiously artistic. He would rail against throwing pottery for a living; he considered potters and craft artisans unworthy of the label “artist”.  This professor and others in the art world who degrade craft are right. Craft fits the definition of artsy-fartsy; it is pretentious to declare that a bowl is a work of art. But if that bowl communicates a concept and invokes a response, why should it not be an art object?
When my mother recounted this story, the professor’s concept of craft irritated me. I take pride in the traditional basis of craft in functionality. The commonly cited definition of fine art demeans the very aspect I celebrate in craft: fine art has no other purpose than to invoke a response. A craft object has concept and function; it’s a combination of the best aspects of product design and sculpture with a basis in traditional techniques.  Fine art and Craft are a flower garden and a vegetable garden: both can be beautiful and inspire an emotional response, but the vegetable garden is considered more humble because it serves a purpose, to provide sustenance.
The artsy-fartsy professor story has stuck with me throughout my college years, but it was suddenly brought to my mind last year. I was exiting the Fine Arts building at Virginia Commonwealth University after one of my Crafts classes (Fine Arts houses the Craft department…ironic), but I stopped abruptly when I noticed the license plates of an SUV parked next to the building: “FARTIST”.
That was my moment of epiphany. Instead of fighting the labels of Craft, we need to embrace and own them, creating the image of Craft instead of always trying to fight against the stereotypes.  Take the work of Stephanie Syjuco for example: in one project, Counterfeit Crochet, she had people across the world crochet imitations of designer handbags as a critique of political economy. Crochet handbags as art? Absolutely Artsy-fartsy, but this exhibit traveled the world. 
I create beautiful, functional, objects; I can elevate a quilt or bowl or chair into an object worthy of display in a museum and use in your home. I create pretentiously artistic objects that are, in fact, Fine art.
I am a fartist.
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011 01:07:34 AM »

I am a fartist and i like to fart other than that burping is good better out than in i say =P,  I think everything can be categorized as somewhat of an art form or another as long as there is some effort of a person or thing. i saw a documentary of men who get paid by the city to clean graffiti  and the paint that covers up the graffiti was considered artwork over artwork.

 if you bump in to a glass on a table filled with paint and it falls on a paper or canvas, is it considered art? but if you have the intention to bump the glass to land on the canvas, doing so considers an effort to create something we can call art.

after all that it goes thru who or what made the artwork. ex: a splat of paint on a paper from Salvador Dali will cost $100,000  a splat of paint on a paper from lady gaga will coast $500, a splat of paint on a paper from someone Unknown  = ?.

the more effort put in to creating something the more higher rank it can get in artwork consideration.  Cool

my 2 cents.

Illustrations, paintings and other knick knacks.

Party time all the time.

« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011 08:50:11 AM »

The definitions of art vs craft often come up with my web activities. The sad truth is that it seems much of the difference between art and craft is related to price. If a piece is elevated to "art" it can carry a higher price. Someone crochets a doll using multiple materials in an abstract way, calls it an 'art doll' and they can easily get over $500 for their work. Someone else crochets a doll using the same materials in a more traditional way and they'll be lucky to get $80 for it. Doesn't seem to matter if the skills required are identical or the time spent creating is fairly similar.

As I write this, perhaps 'art' refers more specifically to something unique.

I too disagree about the usefulness of an object precluding it from being elevated to art - almost every art museum has vases and other pottery or glass pieces. I would consider the works of the Tiffany and Steuben factories art and not craft, yet most of their pieces were designed for a practical use. Would any in the art world refer to King Tut's sarcophagus as a craft, somehow less worthy than a work of art by a painter? It too was designed with a purpose but it would be doubtful anyone would classify it as being a "craft".

I guess in many ways it's a shame that there is any distinction between the two. Both are born of imagination and created by hand. But, in lieu of an alternative, the concept of being a FARTIST certainly has merit. I just wish it was spelled differently.  Roll Eyes

« Last Edit: March 16, 2011 08:52:18 AM by itscribe » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011 08:29:51 PM »

Bonesaw: in terms of graffiti and art, take a look at what yarn bomber Magda Sayeg added to a work by Banksy.

itscribe: I sit through so many art history classes in awe of the craft apparent in art. If someone accepts the definition of art as an object without function, then they throw away years of rich, beautiful, artwork. Contemporary fine art would not be where it is today without such great works as the Taj Mahal, the bronze vessels used in ancestor service in China, the Lips Sofa by Salvador Dali.
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