Thursday, December 27, 2007

This post brought to you by a very giant latte

I really want to open the can of worms that is: Art vs. Craft. The knock down, drag out, nobody wins contest of definitions that alienates everyone!
No, wait, I don't think I want to go there after all. Oh well, here goes:
I've just been doing a lot of thinking lately about the nature of art and the nature of craft, and I really would love to hear all of your opinions. lists the first definition of art as: "The quality, expression, production, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance."
For Craft: "An art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, esp. manual skill."
So in other words: Craft is just the skill(s) with which we create Art.
But in the common vernacular, we accept Art as certain things: Painting, sculpting, drawing, etc., and Craft as a different set of things: Doll making, woodworking, embroidery.
They're all creating, they all require particular skills which have to be learned. So what differentiates Art from Craft?
I think it really boils down to the intent you have when creating something. Art seems to satisfy that spot in your brain that needs to shout and rifle through ideas. But any medium at all can satisfy this- I simply couldn't rule out any form completely: "This is an art, this is a craft". It depends on who's using it and for what.
James Kochalka wrote a very thought provoking book called "The Cute Manifesto". While he speaks mainly about comics, a lot of what he says relates directly to all arts. (His opening essay: "Craft is the Enemy".)He makes a point that art is primarily about expression and play, creating an alternate universe within your work. It's not about communicating something you already know, but about exploring.
Interesting concept.
In the end, these labels really are meaningless. They're just another way to bring your ego into it and possibly keep you from creating stuff. Oh, but isn't it fun to dither on about it!
Well, that's what I have to say on this incredibly slippery topic. Let's move on to something with pictures:

Aaaahh, that's better. These brand new birds are heading to the Bird Show at the Cool Cat Gallery. (That's a pretty volatile combination.)

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