• Johanna Gousset

What Is Art?

What Is Art?



The big question. I definitely don't think I have THE answer. I don't think anyone does. But I got asked that question a few days ago and I thought I'd share my opinion with you. Because that's what it is: an opinion. Just like the answers to "What is love?" "What is happiness?" "What is right?" or "What is wrong?" People have been arguing over these answers for centuries. While everybody here will (I think) agree that the answer "It's a fruit" to the question "What is an apple?" is a right answer. But enough beating around the bush. Let's dive right into it.


To me art can be a lot of things. It is of course my job, my passion, what drives me in life. It involves painting, drawing, illustrating, sketching, animating. That's my own practice, but this practice is fed by other types of art, like music, theatre, dance, sculpture, cinema, and more. As a passionate horse rider I'd even include some forms of riding as an art (Nuno Oliveira could tell you a thing or two about that topic). Life modelling is a form of art too. It inspires other artists to create, it generates shapes and lines and emotions. Cooking can be considered a form of art as well, or woodworking, building, gardening, writing, talking,... Art is everywhere. If you look at it the right way...


One of the main arguments about the definition of art is that if there is no intention it is not art. So a rose, however esthetically pleasing, growing in the wild, away from the intentional care of the passionate gardener, isn't art. My opinion varies about that statement. I don't believe that the intention of the artist has any effect on whether what they produce is art or not (except to their own eyes). It's the spectator who has the power. It's up to each individual person to decide whether what they're looking at is art or not. What are you looking at right now? Your computer, your phone? Is that art? Yes? No? Consider the fact that designers have worked on the shapes and forms of that device. They probably went to art school for that. Does it make it art? Your call.

What about the words I'm writing? I'm an artist. It's my job. Does it mean that everything I create is art? What about that typo I'm typing in. Somebody created that too. Is that art? It is if you want it to be.


Everybody can be an artist. You can draw a little squiggle on a page and call it art. It will be art for you, in your eyes. It doesn't matter what everybody else thinks. You made art. Some other people might agree with you. Some might not. It's YOUR intention that matters. And maybe you will look at that squiggle and think "Ha! I made art." and then put that paper in the bin and never think of it again. It still counts. You were an artist for a minute, and that was enough. Or maybe you will make more squiggles, and think "That's fun", and before you know it you will draw squiggles for the rest of your life. And one day someone will tell you what a wonderful artist you are, and you will realise that you never thought of yourself as an artist. You just do what you love.


What is art for you? Do you consider yourself to be an artist? I would love to hear your opinion!



© 2021 by Johanna Gousset Illustration. All rights reserved.

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