One of my pet peeves is when someone looks at an artist’s piece and states matter of factly, “that is NOT art, my little brother could make that.” Part of me wants to yell, “SHUT UP, YOU KNOW NOTHING! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE” but most of the time I quietly ignore their ignorant comment on someone’s artwork.
Our society is constantly attempting to define what art “is,” and we have been for the last 100 years. The truth is, art can be anything from a blank white canvas on a wall to an exquisite piece painted by Van Gogh. For example, many people believe Jackson Pollock shouldn’t be considered a “great artist,” but I’m going to give you three reasons why that statement isn’t true.
- Pollock was the Jimmy Hendrix of painting. He threw out every rule about “how an artist should apply paint to a canvas” by using new techniques and ideas the world had never seen before.
- Pollock was responsible for creating the “all over” painting. Instead of constructing a clear foreground, middleground, and background on each canvas; he created a composition of forms trapping his viewer into a hypnosis, guiding their eyes in a calculated movement throughout the canvas.
- Jackson Pollock’s paintings focused on the act of perception. His drips are not random; every line, movement, and figure was deliberately constructed to evoke a certain feeling for the viewer. His artwork takes time to absorb and interpret to fully understand what was implied beneath the surface.
Next time you see a canvas hanging in a museum or gallery that you would normally brush past, spend at least ten minutes observing it. Try to figure out what the artist’s method was and why they went about creating it that way. Absorb it in slowly, then ask yourself “Is this art?” and I promise your previous answer will change.