slightly wonky

Art rant!
December 5, 2014, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , ,

Bear with me, but I need to vent a little…not about the “art world”…but about the world’s view of art.

WHY is it…that WE (as a society) think that ONLY people who are supremely talented at art, should make art?  WHY are we SO judgmental about the art that non-professional artists make?

Let me put this into perspective…

Does a father and daughter who go out to throw around a baseball fill their minds with critical thoughts like, “I can’t do this at all…my throwing sucks…why can’t I catch better?”  We don’t consider that reasonable thinking…it sounds hyper-critical and judgmental, right?

People accept that someone can throw a baseball around JUST FOR FUN.  It doesn’t mean that you think that you’re a major league player.  It doesn’t mean that you think that your playing is better than anyone else’s…you just like to PLAY.

So…please tell me…WHY IS IT DIFFERENT FOR ART?  Why can’t people just “play” with art?  Why can’t we just enjoy making marks and daubing paint because it’s fun?

It would be obnoxious to go to a little league game and scoff at the players, who are total “amateurs.”  But, for some reason, we feel justified in scoffing at amateur artists.


I’m sick of it.

I’m not saying that ALL art is worthy of being in a museum or gallery.  Just as there are the major leagues of baseball…there are the major leagues of art.  Fine!  So be it!  I love going to a museum to see what FANTASTIC things the hyper-talented can do.

But, for everyone else…can’t we just make art because we love it?

If everyone’s activities were critiqued through the lens of, “is this outstanding?”, no one would do anything.  Instead, we bake/play baseball/ride a bike free from this burden.  Why can’t we paint/draw/sculpt with an equal amount of freedom?

This blog post is dedicated to all of the non-professional artists out there who do it simply for the joy of it. Keep your chin up, and your hands dirty.

I’m one of you.




3 Comments so far
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Yes – that is a good question! Why are we so critical of ourselves as artists? I think for many, it starts with how we see ourselves. Most young children have no problem thinking of themselves as “artists,” and therefore having a great time making art. Unfortunately, that changes as they get older. By late elementary or middle school, most kids have stopped seeing themselves as “artists” – that word is reserved for others – not themselves.

It’s amazing the change that happens to people (especially adults) when they are able to put those negative thoughts aside. They really begin to enjoy playing with the materials!!

Wish I had the answer. Maybe it has something to do with valuing the process more than the product. Or, maybe it’s Jeff Koons’ fault. 😉

Comment by Natalie S.

Thanks so much for your comment, Natalie S.! I think that the word, “artist” is very loaded. It’s a label that inhibits play. I kind of prefer the term “maker,” as it doesn’t imply anything about the final product. “Craftsman/person/woman” is just as loaded.

Comment by slightlywonky

“Maker” is better – definitely!

Comment by Natalie S.

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