Gelonch-Viladegut, A.: “What is art?”

Compiled by Antoni Gelonch-Viladegut
For the Gelonch Viladegut Collection

Sant Cugat del Vallès, September 2014


What is art? The question is very clear, but the answer is very difficult, and there is probably a large number of answers. The answer is diversified at different eras and levels and for different actors. And it depends, also, on the position of the player: it’s not, normally, the same for an artist, a critic, a collector, a gallerist, but… we need to have an answer! Well, here is my proposal now…

To determinate this positioning, the helpful support of Wikipedia has been determinant. Thanks guys for your work!

In my mind, Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities; this text focuses primarily on the visual arts, which includes the creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media. Architecture is often included as one of the visual arts; however, like the decorative arts, it involves the creation of objects where the practical considerations of use are essential—in a way that they usually are not in a painting, for example. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature and other media such as interactive media, are included in a broader definition of art or the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as “a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science”. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.

The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.

Creative art and fine art

By a broad definition of art, artistic works have existed for almost as long as humankind: from early pre-historic art to contemporary art; however, some theories restrict the concept to modern Western societies. The first and broadest sense of art is the one that has remained closest to the older Latin meaning, which roughly translates to “skill” or “craft,” as associated with words such as “artisan”. English words derived from this meaning include artifact, artificial, artifice, medical arts, and military arts. However, there are many other colloquial uses of the word, all with some relation to its etymology.

Few modern scholars have been more divided than Plato and Aristotle on the question concerning the importance of art, with Aristotle strongly supporting art in general and Plato generally being opposed to its relative importance. Several dialogues in Plato tackle questions about art: Socrates says that poetry is inspired by the muses, and is not rational. He speaks approvingly of this, and other forms of divine madness (drunkenness, eroticism, and dreaming) in the Phaedrus (265a–c), and yet in the Republic wants to outlaw Homer’s great poetic art and laughter as well. In Ion, Socrates gives no hint of the disapproval of Homer that he expresses in the Republic. The dialogue Ion suggests that Homer’s Iliad functioned in the ancient Greek world as the Bible does today in the modern Christian world: as divinely inspired literary art that can provide moral guidance, if only it can be properly interpreted. With regards to the literary art and the musical arts, Aristotle considered epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry and music to be mimetic or imitative art, each varying in imitation by medium, object, and manner. For example, music imitates with the media of rhythm and harmony, whereas dance imitates with rhythm alone, and poetry with language. The forms also differ in their object of imitation. Comedy, for instance, is a dramatic imitation of men worse than average; whereas tragedy imitates men slightly better than average. Lastly, the forms differ in their manner of imitation – through narrative or character, through change or no change, and through drama or no drama. Aristotle believed that imitation is natural to mankind and constitutes one of mankind’s advantages over animals.

The second, and more recent, sense of the word art as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art emerged in the early 17th century. Fine art refers to a skill used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of more refined or finer work of art.

Within this latter sense, the word art may refer to several things: (i) a study of a creative skill, (ii) a process of using the creative skill, (iii) a product of the creative skill, or (iv) the audience’s experience with the creative skill. The creative arts (art as discipline) are a collection of disciplines which produce artworks (art as objects) that are compelled by a personal drive (art as activity) and convey a message, mood, or symbolism for the perceiver to interpret (art as experience). Art is something that stimulates an individual’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. Works of art can be explicitly made for this purpose or interpreted on the basis of images or objects. For some scholars, such as Kant, the sciences and the arts could be distinguished by taking science as representing the domain of knowledge and the arts as representing the domain of the freedom of artistic expression.

Often, if the skill is being used in a common or practical way, people will consider it a craft instead of art. Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way, it may be considered commercial art instead of fine art. On the other hand, crafts and design are sometimes considered applied art. Some art followers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with value judgments made about the art than any clear definitional difference. However, even fine art often has goals beyond pure creativity and self-expression. The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically, spiritually, or philosophically motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. The purpose may also be seemingly nonexistent.

The nature of art has been described by philosopher Richard Wollheim as “one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture”. Art has been defined as a vehicle for the expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a means for exploring and appreciating formal elements for their own sake, and as mimesis or representation. Art as mimesis has deep roots in the philosophy of Aristotle. Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate from one person to another. Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood advanced the idealist view that art expresses emotions, and that the work of art therefore essentially exists in the mind of the creator. The theory of art as form has its roots in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and was developed in the early twentieth century by Roger Fry and Clive Bell. More recently, thinkers influenced by Martin Heidegger have interpreted art as the means by which a community develops for itself a medium for self-expression and interpretation. George Dickie has offered an institutional theory of art that defines a work of art as any artifact upon which a qualified person or persons acting on behalf of the social institution commonly referred to as “the art world” has conferred “the status of candidate for appreciation”. Larry Shiner has described fine art as “not an essence or a fate but something we have made. Art as we have generally understood it is a European invention barely two hundred years old.”

Purpose of art

Art has had a great number of different functions throughout its history, making its purpose difficult to abstract or quantify to any single concept. This does not imply that the purpose of Art is “vague”, but that it has had many unique, different reasons for being created. Some of these functions of Art are provided in the following outline. The different purposes of art may be grouped according to those that are non-motivated, and those that are motivated (Lévi-Strauss).

  • Non-motivated functions of art

The non-motivated purposes of art are those that are integral to being human, transcend the individual, or do not fulfill a specific external purpose. In this sense, Art, as creativity, is something humans must do by their very nature (i.e., no other species creates art), and is therefore beyond utility.

  1. Basic human instinct for harmony, balance, rhythm. Art at this level is not an action or an object, but an internal appreciation of balance and harmony (beauty), and therefore an aspect of being human beyond utility.

    “Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. Next, there is the instinct for ‘harmony’ and rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this natural gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry.” -Aristotle

  2. Experience of the mysterious. Art provides a way to experience one’s self in relation to the universe. This experience may often come unmotivated, as one appreciates art, music or poetry.

    “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” -Albert Einstein-

  3. Expression of the imagination. Art provide a means to express the imagination in non-grammatical ways that are not tied to the formality of spoken or written language. Unlike words, which come in sequences and each of which have a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and ideas with meanings that are malleable.

    “Jupiter’s eagle [as an example of art] is not, like logical (aesthetic) attributes of an object, the concept of the sublimity and majesty of creation, but rather something else – something that gives the imagination an incentive to spread its flight over a whole host of kindred representations that provoke more thought than admits of expression in a concept determined by words. They furnish an aesthetic idea, which serves the above rational idea as a substitute for logical presentation, but with the proper function, however, of animating the mind by opening out for it a prospect into a field of kindred representations stretching beyond its ken.” -Immanuel Kant-

  4. Ritualistic and symbolic functions. In many cultures, art is used in rituals, performances and dances as a decoration or symbol. While these often have no specific utilitarian (motivated) purpose, anthropologists know that they often serve a purpose at the level of meaning within a particular culture. This meaning is not furnished by any one individual, but is often the result of many generations of change, and of a cosmological relationship within the culture.

    “Most scholars who deal with rock paintings or objects recovered from prehistoric contexts that cannot be explained in utilitarian terms and are thus categorized as decorative, ritual or symbolic, are aware of the trap posed by the term ‘art’.” -Silva Tomaskova-

  • Motivated functions of art

Motivated purposes of art refer to intentional, conscious actions on the part of the artists or creator. These may be to bring about political change, to comment on an aspect of society, to convey a specific emotion or mood, to address personal psychology, to illustrate another discipline, to (with commercial arts) to sell a product, or simply as a form of communication.

  1. Communication. Art, at its simplest, is a form of communication. As most forms of communication have an intent or goal directed toward another individual, this is a motivated purpose. Illustrative arts, such as scientific illustration, are a form of art as communication. Maps are another example. However, the content need not be scientific. Emotions, moods and feelings are also communicated through art.

    “[Art is a set of] artifacts or images with symbolic meanings as a means of communication.” -Steve Mithen-

  2. Art as entertainment. Art may seek to bring about a particular emotion or mood, for the purpose of relaxing or entertaining the viewer. This is often the function of the art industries of Motion Pictures and Video Games.
  3. The Avant-Garde. Art for political change. One of the defining functions of early twentieth-century art has been to use visual images to bring about political change. Art movements that had this goal—Dadaism, Surrealism, Russian constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism, among others—are collectively referred to as the avant-garde arts.

    “By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired by positivism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole France, clearly seems to me to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made up of mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting plays. It constantly feeds on and derives strength from the newspapers and stultifies both science and art by assiduously flattering the lowest of tastes; clarity bordering on stupidity, a dog’s life.” -André Breton (Surrealism)-

  4. Art as a “free zone”, removed from the action of the social censure. Unlike the avant-garde movements, which wanted to erase cultural differences in order to produce new universal values, contemporary art has enhanced its tolerance towards cultural differences as well as its critical and liberating functions (social inquiry, activism, subversion, deconstruction…), becoming a more open place for research and experimentation.
  5. Art for social inquiry, subversion and/or anarchy. While similar to art for political change, subversive or deconstructivist art may seek to question aspects of society without any specific political goal. In this case, the function of art may be simply to criticize some aspect of society.

    Graffiti art and other types of street art are graphics and images that are spray-painted or stenciled on publicly viewable walls, buildings, buses, trains, and bridges, usually without permission. Certain art forms, such as graffiti, may also be illegal when they break laws (in this case vandalism).

  6. Art for social causes. Art can be used to raise awareness for a large variety of causes. A number of art activities were aimed at raising awareness of autism, cancer, human trafficking, and a variety of other topics, such as ocean conservation, human rights in Darfur, murdered and missing Aboriginal women, elder abuse, and pollution. Trashion, using trash to make fashion, practiced by artists such as Marina DeBris is one example of using art to raise awareness about pollution.
  7. Art for psychological and healing purposes. Art is also used by art therapists, psychotherapists and clinical psychologists as art therapy. The Diagnostic Drawing Series, for example, is used to determine the personality and emotional functioning of a patient. The end product is not the principal goal in this case, but rather a process of healing, through creative acts, is sought. The resultant piece of artwork may also offer insight into the troubles experienced by the subject and may suggest suitable approaches to be used in more conventional forms of psychiatric therapy.
  8. Art for propaganda or commercialism. Art is often utilized as a form of propaganda, and thus can be used to subtly influence popular conceptions or mood. In a similar way, art that tries to sell a product also influences mood and emotion. In both cases, the purpose of art here is to subtly manipulate the viewer into a particular emotional or psychological response toward a particular idea or object.
  9. Art as a fitness indicator. It has been argued that the ability of the human brain by far exceeds what was needed for survival in the ancestral environment. One evolutionary psychology explanation for this is that the human brain and associated traits (such as artistic ability and creativity) are the human equivalent of the peacock’s tail. The purpose of the male peacock’s extravagant tail has been argued to be to attract females (see also Fisherian runaway and handicap principle). According to this theory superior execution of art was evolutionary important because it attracted mates.

The functions of art described above are not mutually exclusive, as many of them may overlap. For example, art for the purpose of entertainment may also seek to sell a product, i.e. the movie or video game.

To start the understanding of this matter, the art, we have met 100 quotations by the very relevant people. From Seneca to Rabindranath Tagore, from Aristotle to Konstantin Stanislavsky, from Leonardo da Vinci to Keith Haring, etc. etc., relevant people (writers, painters, philosophers, printmakers, physicists, sculptors, actors, emperors, dramatists, scientists, essayists,…) of different eras, cultures and regions we gives us your understandings, your approaches, your attitudes confronted with the divers possibilities to think about the art. Thanks for your engagement and for your light. And for you, have a good intellectual trip!

(in chronological order)

“Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.”
Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC)

“All art is but imitation of nature.”
Seneca (mid-1st century AD)

“No form of Nature is inferior to Art; for the arts merely imitate natural forms”
Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180)

“Nature is the art of God”
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

“Art is the most passionate orgy within man’s grasp.”
John Donne (1572-1631)

“Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.”
Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658)

“It appears that nature has hid at the bottom of our hearts talents and abilities unknown to us. It is only the passions that have the power of bringing them to light, and sometimes give us views more true and more perfect than art could possibly do.”
François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

“Nature diversifies and imitates; art imitates and diversifies.”
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

“So vast is art, so narrow human wit.”
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

“The biggest problem with every art is by the use of appearance to create a loftier reality.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

“Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death. God is Jesus.”
William Blake (1757-1827)

“Art is a reality, not a definition; inasmuch as it approaches a reality, it approaches perfection, and inasmuch as it approaches a mere definition, it is imperfect and untrue.”
Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846)

“The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.”
John Keats (1795-1821)

“What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.”
Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

“Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

“Simplicity is nature’s first step, and the last of art.”
Philip James Bailey (1816-1902)

“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.”
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

“The beautiful is always bizarre.”
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

“Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.”
Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910)

“Nature is a haunted house–but Art–is a house that tries to be haunted.”
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life.”
John Lubbock (1834-1913)

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

“An art which isn’t based on feeling isn’t an art at all… feeling is the principle, the beginning and the end; craft, objective, technique – all these are in the middle.”
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

“While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality… true art lies in a reality that is felt.”
Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.”
Henry James (1843-1916)

“Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

“In art as in love, instinct is enough.”
Anatole France (1844-1924)

“The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art’s audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.”
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.”
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

“It is through Art and through Art only that we can realize our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.”
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

“Art is the beautiful way of doing things. Science is the effective way of doing things. Business is the economic way of doing things.”
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“The secret of art is love.”
Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929)

“What is Art? It is the response of man’s creative soul to the call of the Real.”
Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941)

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947)

“Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”
Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938)

“There is no must in art because art is free”
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)

“Who speaks of art speaks of poetry. There is not art without a poetic aim. There is a species of emotion particular to painting. There is an effect that results from a certain arrangement of colors, of lights, of shadows. It is this that one calls the music of painting.”
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

“In art, truth and reality begin when one no longer understands what one is doing or what one knows, and when there remains an energy that is all the stronger for being constrained, controlled and compressed.”
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

“Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

“Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.”
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

“The whole of art is an appeal to a reality which is not without us but in our minds”
Desmond MacCarthy (1877-1952)

“Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible.”
Paul Klee (1879-1940)

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

“If you could say it with words, there’d be no reason to paint.”
Edward Hopper (1882-1967)

“Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.”
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

“I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products.”
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

“In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.”
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)

“The art of a people is a true mirror of their minds”
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)

“Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… now you tell me what you know.”
Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

“Art is pattern informed by sensibility.”
Sir Herbert Read (1893-1968)

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
Martha Graham (1894-1991)

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

“The real essence of art turned out to be not something high up and far off – it was right inside my ordinary daily self – If a musician wants to become a finer artist, he must first become a finer person.”
Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998)

“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
Stella Adler (1901-1992)

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

“It’s really absurd to make an image, like a human image, with paint today, when you think about it, since we have this problem of doing or not doing. But then all of a sudden it was even more absurd not to do it.”
Willem De Kooning (1904-1997)

“Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist metaphysical value judgments.”
Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

“If I wasn’t an actor, I think I’d have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life- it’s an exhalation of life and I think I you probably need a little touch of madness.”
Sir Laurence Olivier (1907-1989)

“All good art is an indiscretion”
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)

“Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.”
Albert Camus (1913-1960)

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Dom Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

“Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.”
John Ciardi (1916-1986)

“Art is the great democrat, calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or colour”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)

“The one and only substitute for experience which we have not ourselves had is art, literature.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.”
Dr. Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990)

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is the greatest art of all.”
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

“Art doesn’t transform. It just plain forms.”
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

“Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. Pointless and yet necessary, that’s hard for a puritan to understand.”
Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”
James Baldwin (1924-1987)

“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”
Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)

“Art is a private thing, the artist makes it for himself; a comprehensible work is the product of a journalist. We need works that are strong, straight, precise, and forever beyond understanding.”
Kenneth Tynan (1927-1980)

“Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.”
Roy Adzak (1927-1987)

“For the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how is one.”
William McElcheran (1927-1999)

“Art is a product of man in which materials are skinfully ordered to communicate a human experience”.
Nathan Knobler (1927-2006)

“If I didn’t think what I was doing had something to do with enlarging the boundaries of art, I wouldn’t go on doing it.”
Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929)

“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.”
Susan Sontag (1933-2004)

“It is not hard to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall it’s a painting, and if you can walk around it it’s a sculpture.”
Tom Stoppard (b.1937)

“Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.”
David Hockney (b. 1937)

“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”
John Lennon (1940-1980)

“Creativity is an act of defiance.”
Twyla Tharp (b. 1941)

“We are only human sculptors in that we get up every day, walking sometimes, reading rarely, eating often, thinking always, smoking moderately, enjoying enjoyment, looking, relaxing to see, loving nightly, finding amusement, encouraging life, fighting boredom, being natural, daydreaming, travelling along, drawing occasionally, talking lightly, tea drinking, feeling tired, dancing sometimes, philosophising a lot, criticising never, whistling tunefully, dying very slowly, laughing nervously, greeting politely and waiting till the day breaks.”
Gilbert & George (b. 1942-1943)

“Our humour turns our anger into a fine art.”
Mary Kay Blakely (b. 1948)

“Life is like art. You have to work hard to keep it simple and still have meaning”.
Charles de Lint (b. 1951)

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to BE art.”
Carrie Fisher (b. 1956)

“You don’t have to make something that people call art. Living is an artistic activity; there is an art to getting through the day.”
Viggo Mortensen (b. 1958)

“I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.”
Neil Gaiman (b. 1960)

“Art without emotion it’s like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag.”
Laurie Halse Anderson (b. 1961)

“The first step – especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money – the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”
Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962)

“Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. … It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world’s greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.”
Ann Patchett (b. 1963)

“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.”
Rick Riordan (b. 1964)

“Art is what’s left over after you’ve defined everything else.”
Michael Vitale (b. 1968)

“In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.”
Elizabeth Gilbert (b. 1969)

“Art is the reason I get up in the morning, but the definition ends there. It doesn’t seem fair that I’m living for something I can’t even define.”
Ani DiFranco (b. 1970)

“Art and love is the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”
Chuck Klosterman (b. 1972)

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
Rainbow Rowell (b. 1973)

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