I made this to submit as a possible logo for an event. Ultimately I’m pretty meh with how it came out, but making it started me thinking about art. Thanks to technology my generation in particular has seen quite a change in the creation, and potentially the definition, of art. Bearing that in mind, is this creation of mine art? Is it even my creation? The owl began a photo I did not take, as did the moon. The background originates from an image I did not create. The text is in a font I did not create. They’re all found items that I digitally manipulated – some dramatically – to suit my purposes. So is this art? Is it just theft?
The music on The Beastie Boys 1989 release Paul’s Boutique, ranked 156 on Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest 500 albums of all time, is comprised almost entirely of samples. It’s an album that, thanks to changes in laws, would be impossible to make today. The cost of securing the rights to all the samples would be enormous. Here’s just a partial list of samples featured on the album.
Is Paul’s Boutique art? Is it just theft? And, if Paul’s Boutique isn’t art, then what of Warhol? Shepard Fairey? Banksy? Where is the line drawn?
PS: Three things.
1. The word “art” doesn’t mean “good.” There’s bad art. Obviously that’s mostly (entirely?) subjective. So simply not liking something doesn’t make it not-art.
2. Obviously I’m not putting anything referenced above on equal footing. They’re all examples of projects created from existing media or artists known for works created from existing media.
3. It’s my personal opinion that, for the most part, art is the product of exercising creativity. To that end, every time a person picks up a guitar and plays something they came up with, it’s art. Even if they never play it again, and no one ever heard it other than them, for that moment there was art afoot. I believe a carpenter can be an artist. A cook can be an artist. I do not like the line some people try to draw between “art” and “craft.” I understand that crocheting something from a pattern is different from crocheting something of your own inspiration, but too many critics use the former activity to label the medium of crochet not-art. You can make art out of anything, dammit. And art doesn’t have to be paid for or displayed to be art. Art doesn’t have to be shared at all. The pictures my son draws, pulled from his own mind, that he discards once he’s done with them… they’re art. Rare art at that.