Art: What does it mean to you?

2014 has been a year of hurdles for me.                                                                                                                                               And to be frank, I was never really good at running hurdles even during High School. (I mean it!)

I had studied Science in High School with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology as my main subjects. After High School, I had decided that I am really not into Science, and was more into the Humanities and Arts. Unsure of which course to pursue for my Undergraduate studies, I decided that wasting a year would be meaningless and unproductive. Hence, I decided to do a year long foundation course in Art and Design. In my culture, such a step is considered to be equivalent of wasting an entire year and ridiculous even to switch from Science to Arts. But I had the support of my family and that was great!

My course has a lot to do with practical work and research and is very modernized to meet International standards. Plagiarism is forbidden and it is impossible to get away with it. The faculty are professionals in their respective fields. Cutting it short, it is a very intense and enriching course.

Since the past few months, I have taken to water colors and have been trying to get better at it. I never liked water colors and having painted using oil paints before, I disliked water colors entirely. One fine day as I was reading the short story Third Thought by E.V.Lucas, I came across the great romantic water-colorist  J.M.W. Turner. I looked him up on Google. His paintings awe inspired me. Reading up more about him and his works, as well as his artistic life and the artistic style that he used in his paintings motivated my mind to change my opinion about water colors. One of my mentors for this year long course is an accomplished water-colorist himself and I was encouraged to experiment.

I have been doing mainly human portraits since then, discovering a certain joy in being able to artistically portray human faces. I began to appreciate the human body better as I realized how difficult it was and the time consumed to paint a realistic portrait. I also realized that painting portraits sapped the energy out of me. I spoke to my mentor about this, and he said that he felt the same about portraits. I reckoned it has something to with human beings themselves being so energy draining that even portraits would naturally make you feel the same. And so for the time being I turned my mind away from portraits.

Here is where I got into a discussion with my mentor. The topic was the definition of art and the credibility of modern art. Abstract art and Expressionism was never my thing. I never considered art that did not affect your mood, emotions or your five senses as absolute rubbish. I am more attracted to art that is aesthetically pleasing and one that is beautiful. Romanticism and Impressionism are two art movements that I adore. Certain art like ready-made art and conceptual art is not in my favor in the least.

‘Everyone has a different opinion about Art, and I respect your opinion. I believe that art must be expressive and even abstract art can be expressive. I want you to find your identity as a fine artist’, said my mentor.

I agreed, but I still was of the firm opinion that Art must be beautiful and worthy of being called ‘a piece of art’, and it can only by worthy when considerable amount of skill and an original approach is directed towards it. Both of us agreed that the original Art that is, is the art found in nature and the natural environment around us. And a piece of art that is able to make us imagine the kind of stimulus it might have on our senses were we to witness it in reality, is good art.

I have reached the conclusion that anything that is beautiful and that affects us in some way or the other is art. Yet, I am open to other’s opinions and respect them.

There is this certain fellow who claimed a glass of water to be an oak tree. I do not remember his name, and certainly do not wish to recall. Nevertheless, his claim and his ‘art’ is quite famous and also controversial. I am sure by now you know what I might think of him and his ‘art’.

What according to you, is Art?

Do leave a comment below. 🙂

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