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Katzaniel

Are You An Artist?

Are Writers Artists?  

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I am having a conversation on another forum, and I seem to have made the ludricrous claim that writers aren't necessarily artists. In fact, I have gone so far as to say that writing is not art (perhaps this is a different thing in some minds?) You all know very well that I'm a writer myself and I have no inclination to disagree that writing is creative and awesome and you also know that I'm not trolling... I should hope. But I'd like to know what you all think? I will likely change my mind if some of you tell me that I am wrong. But I would frankly be surprised if any of you did.

 

In my mind the word "art" is trying too hard to be everything already, it doesn't need to include all creative endeavours under its umbrella; in my mind, writers are exactly the type of person most likely to care about that distinction.

 

So, help please. Am I alone in this?

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I guess my question is the matter is, how important is it that something is considered "art" (and a person be considered an artist, by extension)? It's like when Roger Ebert (rest in peace good sir) declared that video games aren't art. I don't think he was entirely correct, but then again, maybe he was at least somewhat right. While they certainly had aspects of art, and were beautiful in their own way, especially for the emotional reactions I have had playing a lot of them, but does that make them "art"? Tough to say. But why does it matter so much that video games be called art? I was initially upset about it until I asked myself "why do I care?" Then I realized, oh wait, I don't. Video games are video games, and whether they are considered "art" or not doesn't bother me in the slightest, nor does it take away any of the enjoyment.But apples to oranges. Is writing art? Well, songwriting is art. Poetry is art. Storytelling? I don't know, but I think so. I think my definition of art would be "a creative endeavor that seeks to have an emotional interaction with its audience". That's a pretty generic definition, and I'm sure there are counter-examples, but I think that's how I'd simplify it. Me, I write stories for the fun of it. Poetry/songs, because I just want to express myself. Does that make me an artist? Well, others could call me such, and I wouldn't hold it against them. Would *I* call myself an artist? No, not really. Why? Mostly because it's a hobby for me; it's not the sole method by which I'd define myself. I write, but I am not a 'writer'. I might create something that is considered to be 'art', but I am not an artist. If my life's effort were to write songs and poetry, then I would most certainly consider myself an artist. Stories? I feel as if 'writer' would be sufficient; I wouldn't feel the need to call myself an artist, although I don't think I'd argue if someone labeled me as such.

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Hmmm, there you go. Now THAT'S a question. We need to first define 'art'. What is art? My, PERSONAL, belief is that art is a proficiency. A scribble is not art. A childs' classroom assignment ceramic mug - not art. You can fight a war and even win it, but if it was by shear brute force - not art. Even very good pictures or sculptures can be lifeless and sterile - not art.

 

Basically, I believe art is not the action itself or how well it was done. Rather, does it invoke thought? Impart emotion? Make a statement? No matter what it is, if you can say yes to these questions, then it has been done 'artfully'. And if you have done something artfully, you're an artist. At least in regards to that ONE thing. I think it is fair to say that you would need to have SOME consistency to be considered an artist in general.

 

So, art is not the action, but the execution of that action, which defines whether it is or isn't art.

 

But this is just based on my personal view.

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I would say that writing is not necessarily art in the same sense that any other work one might do with pen and paper might not be considered art. One might be an experienced and deft hand at writing office memorandums, but that does not of necessity indicate that any of these is art.

 

Of course, a particularly bored office worker might find some way to write these memos as prose, which I would classify as art. Film is art, it is not static. Music is art, it cannot even be seen. The Martial Arts are arts which can be impressive and inspiring to behold, and they cannot easily be dissected into either words or images.

 

If this were a Venn Diagram, I would have drawn the circles of Art and Written Words intersecting, but neither would be wholly contained within the other. I consider it entirely fair -- I don't think of Road Signs as art either.

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Yeah, I seem to be pretty in the minority here. People in the other thread have been talking circles around me and between you guys and them, I'm ready to admit I was wrong. I mean, I guess I hear "visual art" and "visual artist" when I hear "art" and "artist" with no other clarification or context. When someone says, "Are you an artist?" I would never think to talk about any stories and poems I've written. But "writing isn't art" may have gone a tad far. Certainly, I've always felt that it's art if the person making it feels like it is. I just.. you know. I find it frustrating that "art" and "artist" as words have grown to encompass everything to the point where they're useless except as synonyms for "creation" and "creator". I better get used to it though.

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Yeah, all think all that's going on is you're thinking "visual arts and other people are thinking "the" arts, and writing is clearly part of the latter and not part of the former.

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Meh. All art is art!! Whether you read it, stare at it, listen to it, or read it...even eat it. Which I do. I don't just write poems, I bake 'art cakes' which as anyone who has tasted one will tell you, are definitely ART.

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