We're an online artist community sharing ways to create and sell art. Try one of our easy websites for artists or just browse around and enjoy!

What is art, you ask? It must be definition day.

But won’t it be easier to define art by what it ISN’T? Perhaps. Actually, probably.

So here’s my take:

1. Art isn’t the thing you hang on your wall to match your sofa.

2. Art isn’t the thing you hang on your wall, that you are sure your friends will approve of because they all have a copy hanging on their walls.

3. And on that note, art isn’t a copy or reproduction of an original piece of art.

4. Art isn’t something featuring the year’s top five “decorator colors”

5. Art isn’t something you made because you think somebody will buy it.

I wish I had a list of inspirational quotes from great artists of the past regarding art. We can see that they knew what it was, because of what they left behind: ART.

And THAT makes me think of the time I saw Van Gogh’s Starry Night at the Art Institute in Chicago.

The place was packed with other people all trying to see the paintings as well. You were supposed to be polite, look at the painting, and move on. . . nope. I was rude and I stopped. For a long time I stopped, because the painting required me to look at it for a long time.

That’s art. It makes your eyes not want to leave. It makes you not want to leave.

But realistically, it doesn’t have to be Starry Night, or Luncheon Of The Boating Party, or Young Girl Writing to be art. Even you or I can make something that is truly “art.”

All it needs is to have at least a smidgeon of something that all three of those paintings have—it has to be INTERESTING.

Maybe it matches your sofa, too. That’s OK. If it’s interesting then you can call it art. Your eyes want to look because it’s interesting, not because it matches your sofa.

And maybe it does contain all five of the current year’s top decorator colors—but forget that, if it’s so interesting that you want to look at it all the time, then it’s art.

OK, and one more thing. . . besides being interesting, “art” also has to be real.

There are two kinds of real—there’s “real” as in honest-created-from-the-heart-real AND there’s “real” as in original, not-a-copy, not-a-reproduction.

A poster of Starry Night I can leave. It may be interesting, but it’s just a poster. Starry Night, the original, made me want to stay.

And look some more.

Now that’s art.

For more articles by Karen Cooper, please visit her art blog.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Describing what art is, is like describing what air is: it's just as intangible.

But the difference with art is that it's also very subjective. . . so it truly IS something different to everyone.

One theory says that art is the outward. . . read more

If you're looking for something else. . .
Love the Easel?

Subscribe to our totally free weekly newsletter for artists. Sign up today!

Art Contests
More art contests. . .
Other Stuff
EE Writers
Cassie Rief Niki Hilsabeck Lisa Orgler Carrie Lewis Aletta de Wal Phawnda Moore

If you'd like to write for EmptyEasel, let us know!

We love publishing reader-submitted art tutorials, stories, and even reviews.Submit yours here!
© 2006-2018 EmptyEasel.com About Contact Sitemap Privacy Policy Terms of Use Advertise