What is art?

G’day; ART! Here is my (unsolicited and doubtless unwanted)
opinion; make of it what you will.

To me, art is simply an idea which is capable of being
communicated to other humans by certain, often various means.
But basically it is just an idea; a thought process in a person’s

To put that idea into a form whereby it may be communicated to
others requires craftperson(s), Often the idea and the finished
piece of art which can be experienced by others may be
accomplished by one person, or it may require very many (a
building? A film?)

Often the idea-communication fails because the artist, or
craftsperson or beholder(s) do not understand the ‘language’.

Is that the fault of the idea-person, the craft-person or the

If I don’t percieve the basic idea behind the piece, do I need
educating in the ‘language’? Or has the idea person a need to
clarify the language? Or has the craftperson botched the job? If I
don’t understand and like modern avante-gard music, art,
sculpture, jewellery, and so on, am I a complete phillistine
even though I love Bach, Mozart, painters Macintyre, Goldie, et

Well maybe I am at that. But bat it around, eh?


   / \
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/ /
/ /| \ @John_Burgess2
____ )
At sunny Nelson NZ

John: Hmmmmm…I really didn’t mean to open such a can of
worms when I originally spouted off. I merely wanted to respond
to some of the eye-rolling about art jewelry as opposed to
production jewelry. It seems that many people in the business
don’t consider one-of-a-kind jewelers as important and
vice-versa. You pose an interesting question though. I guess it
can be summed up in the old phrase of beauty being in the eye of
the beholder.


John, I do agree with your basic ideas about art that it is
basically just communication between one person and another. Why
is there such a huge gap between the “fine” arts such as
painting and sculpture and the “applied” arts or the “crafts”
such as jewellery and pottery etc. During the Renaissance
“applied” artists had equal or greater status with “fine”
artists. What has happened since? Personally I have no patience
with the differentiation between the two. Is it the “Art” market
that wants put the “fine” arts on a pedestal or is it the
responsibility of the “applied” artist to promote his/her work
as if it were of the same value as “fine” art.

Richard Whitehouse
Silversmith & Jeweller

Email: @Richard_Whitehouse1


Dear Richard and All concerned

The cause is probably found in the nature of useless
philosophizing, such as this thread. If I remember correctly, the
same debate was already inflicted on us before on the now defunct
Jewelry Design Discussion Group.

I have resisted then, but now I feel, I can “hold my peace” no
longer. Not to presume to pronounce the “Final Word”, but to
point out the futility of the debate, I wish to proffer what the
intention of art is, namely; “To give an idea esthetic, as well as
moral significance.” It seems, the degree and quality of art
depends solely on the degree to which the above criteria was
fulfilled at any creative enterprise, and irrespective, what
janre, medium or surface was used. Or to quote Fellini: “What’s
in the hart, that matters!”