What elevates something to the level of art? Who gets to decide what, in fact, art is? Just how far can the term “art” be stretched?
Art obviously takes many forms. There’s physical forms that you could hang on your wall or put in your garden or set on a shelf or decorate your house with.
There are monumental works that grace public spaces.
There are temporary installations and works in nature that are ephemeral.
Conceptual or performance art can push the boundaries of existence itself.
Music which inhabits the realm of sound, and has the curious ability to get stuck in our heads.
And, of course, dance. The only form where motion intersects with time.
People choosing to express themselves in any one of these realms range from the most casual and amateur to the pinnacle of professionalism.
To label oneself an artist is to claim the title with words. You just have to say it, believe it, and do it. But that only gets you so far.
Beyond intention lies creativity, diligence, and results. It takes some nerve to claim the mantle and place a high value on a particular piece.
On one end of the spectrum you’ll find folks who create the most wonderful work and never for a moment take themselves seriously enough to be remunerated in some way.
On the other are folks who throw what looks like junk together and pronounce it a masterpiece. If they can find anyone to agree, (and pay the price), well, voilà! They’ve hit the big time!
Then there are the artisans. These are people who create things that may have some function or utility. A puzzle or a piece of jewelry or fine furniture may not be considered ‘fine’ art, but it is all art nonetheless.
When human expression brings delight, provokes thought, or sparks inspiration, the essence of art is manifested.
Having spent most of yesterday wandering about the environs of the annual AMP Show at Fort Mason in San Francisco, my mind is awash with thoughts on the nature of art, commerce, and creativity.
One of my favorite parts about experiencing such creations is to imagine the hours and hours of process that go into the more intricate works.
And then to contrast that with the in-the-moment creativity of motion-within-time, aka dance. One might say that dance is the essence of art for arts sake.
And with that, I leave you to ponder your own process and progress, be it in the moment or drifting through time.
Much love and happy dancing till next week!
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine