Is brushing your teeth an art?

Often times when we’re working on a custom frame design with a customer, we’ll hear them say, “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It’s not like this is a piece of art.” And while we know what they mean, the truth is that the definition of “art” became very blurry a long time ago. Even an art school graduate or the professors who schooled that student would have very differing ideas of what art is.

Recently on Seth’s Blog, he had one of the better definitions that we’ve come across in a while. Basically he says that art is not defined by the item in question, but by the lengths that the maker had to go to. That it’s determined by what that person put on the line in order to create the item. “Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist,” he says. That’s fairly accurate. But still a little lofty. In “Understanding Comics,” Scott McCloud talks about how art is anything we do that isn’t for the sake of our basic human needs: food, clothing, shelter. But I think a lot of chefs, fashion designers, and architects would disagree. And when you consider that, it really opens up the playing field, doesn’t it? As soon as we agree art can be something that doesn’t hang on the wall, it means we have to take the time to evaluate every action we perform in a different way. Did you make an art out of brushing your teeth this morning? Or was it more like a doodle one does while on hold with the cable company. Maybe that doodle was a piece of art, too.

In our Valentine’s Day post, we wrote about the fact that when we frame something, the framing design becomes it’s own art. We’ll continue to explore this idea and how it relates to any definition of “art”. In the meantime, think about what “art” means to you. Do you make or do “art” in your day-to-day life? Are you sure?

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