Art is a confusing world. For starters, it seems to be simultaneously associated with the poor and the rich. On one hand, owning artwork is a sign of wealth - being in possession of a signed original piece of artwork is seen as a status symbol afforded to the few. Artwork prices can be eye-watering. Visiting an art gallery is seen as a very cultured and posh pastime.
Then there’s the flip side. The people who are the brains behind making these expensive items are typically assumed to have low income - a ‘starving artist’. Artists may feel that they are treated like the bottom rung of the ladder, they are afforded few privileges and may have to work very hard for small scraps of recognition. It’s seen as an “easy” subject to study which requires little in the way of academic qualifications yet at the same time there is an undeniable respect and appreciation for true artistic talent because we all know it’s not that common.
Human skill is impressive to us as a species and commands respect and appreciation, but artists are not put on the same pedestal as other professions that demonstrate excellence in their abilities, such as athletes. Do we somehow separate the work from the artist, and respect one but not the other? Why? To try and understand why we think the way we do about art and creativity, I have been trying to work out how art has evolved and what place it plays in the world.
To do this I'll be looking at these aspects of art:
What it is where it came from?