What is Art Anyway?


So what is art anyway? Coming from an emerging fine art graduate and young artist just starting out on the scene, I thought i’d give it a crack at sharing with you peeps what art is all about…

This speculation emerged after very recently watching footage of a debate at the Turner Contemporary. It was a discussion with a panel of contemporary artists, critics and fine art curators upon the age-old question ‘what is art?’ A ‘Question Time’ sort of affair, really. The audience threw questions at the panellists , one of which commented on whether art can re-invent itself when “everything in art exists already”. I must admit I do get her point. It seems as if everything has already been ‘done and dusted’ as it were. You sit in the library, burying yourself in artists’ research wondering ‘why am I doing this? What can I possibly do that hasn’t already been done before?’, and you walk home with a sense of disgust for subjecting yourself to such a practice. Believe me, it’s happened to the best of us. But hey! It’s not about ‘doing something that has never been done’ but rather how creating a work of art brings fulfilment and joy to your life; and besides, there can always be something innovative that has never been approached before artistically. A panellist from the debate very confidently mentioned that “you can’t control imagination”. She’s right, you know. Our imagination is constantly alive, so inevitably new forms of art can be processed. It is just about finding the right approach, the right moment.

But back to the original question – what is art? Well, from my experience (not decades of experience but it’s still something) art is a substance that requires attention from drawn life experience, an expression of a particular concept deemed reminiscent to the artist whom feels said concept must be shared and invigorated by members of the public (ok, I’m getting all philosophical here, but hey, I’m an art student) or rather the entire human condition. Art is a visual, verbal and/or musical depiction of aspects of life that we either embrace, revile from or experience with an aura of acceptance. We cannot turn away from life if we want to carry on ‘living’ so how can we turn away from art? (ok, so my philosophical side just went up a notch) because if art and design did not exist then what would? Art and design is all around us. We live and breath it. The design of the clothes you were, the architecture of the home you reside in, the ceramic style of the cup with which you sip your daily cup of tea, were all possible with artistic creativity and imagination. Art is life itself in a sense (I just dropped a massive ‘hippie bomb’ with that one).

Whether or not you agree with me, art is all around us and you cannot deny it. Art is what you see, what you live through. There can be no specific definition of ‘what art is’ but rather our own depictions of it. Art is what it is and that’s that I guess.

Now, it’s time for this hippie chick to get some sleep…

Feature image by Alexander Mavronicholas.


Currently the Winchester Editor of Wessex Scene, Kalisto is a fine arts student, keen writer and emerging artist with a mighty love of coffee...

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