Art as we know it, as a skill, as an entrance to fame and wealth, as talent with a paintbrush or a way with words, is a much less common practice these days. In our current age, where trends come and go as fast as the rain, the persistence of art is admirable, except that it has shed its traditional, capital letter “ART” title of the past and become a chameleon instead.
The supposed ‘worthlessness’ of arts degrees seems to play a prominent role in society’s perception of the value of art and its slippage as a ‘trend’. We measure our lives and successes through wealth, job prospects, and new technologies. Art for art’s sake is going out of style; everybody needs a reason for doing something, and if the reason is “because I enjoy it and because I want to” then needless to say you’ll be scoffed at for it.
The increased ability to identify as an artist has also devalued the position of the artist as a previously untouchable profession, but it doesn’t mean that art itself is diminished; in fact, art is more accessible than ever, but in the business of everyday life we fail to recognise our artistic endeavours as something ostensibly worth naming.
Paintings are art, sculptures are art. Websites are art, sentences are art. Instagram motivational quotes are art. Nonsensical Facebook ‘life hack’ videos are, begrudgingly, art. We are all highly embarrassing creatures, and our embarrassment of uniqueness stoppers our creativity. Some art is cringeworthy, but that makes it no less art. We just have to accept it as it is; a creative process, a thinking-outside-of-the-box feature. The moment we begin to use our imaginations is the moment art starts to come into play.
Without creativity, we are mind-numbingly dull. We aren’t art-less beings; we’ve just clung to an old definition that hasn’t kept up with the times. An art-less existence has never been a thing, and, as inherently creative creatures, it can never be a thing. Trendiness is a faux construct; if we just make what we love, nothing else matters.