On Art(s) And Craft(s)

In Rants and Sermons, Thoughts & Theory, Vision Is Better by David43 Comments


My buddy RC started me thinking about this topic again when he posted something on his blog about whether photography is or is not art. I replied, as did a few others. Pleasantly it did not descend to the usual name-calling and “them’s fightin’ words” kinds of challenges with pistols and so on.

But it’s an interesting conversation and I think the way we answer this has a bearing on who we become as photographers. To begin with, “art” is a slippy concept at best; attempts at a definition that we can all agree on have, to date, failed. But we seem to all agree that it’s desirable to be able to call photography art. It’s as though the whole thing gets elevated to a higher status, something more than just a technical pursuit, if we can call it art. It gives us permission to wear black turtlenecks, berets, and an aloof attitude. Probably a pipe too. It makes the whole thing terribly snooty.

So, snooty attitudes and funny clothing aside, here’s my thinking on it. With any luck this’ll cause a great deal of contention during which we can prove how truly serious we are about our art.

Photography is a craft. It’s a process. It’s the brushes and the paints. What results is – or is not – art. But it isn’t ours to decide whether our work is art. It’s like this: I was a comedian. I stood on stages and did my thing: comedy. But whether it was funny or not was up to every member of the audience. Most would laugh and some would not. It wasn’t mine to convince them it was funny. It wasn’t, to them. What mattered to me was doing my best, working my craft, finding the pleasure in the process and the laughter. But when people didn’t connect with it, didn’t laugh, that was their thing. Sure, I could chase them around the lobby after the show shouting, “but it was FUNNY, dammit!” but I wouldn’t convince them. If your work connects to one, to them it’s art. To the one for whom it doesn’t, it’s not. And to the other craftstmen, well, whether it’s art or not depends on whether it’s better than their work or not. So subjective. So not the point.

Is it Art? Doesn’t matter. It’s outside my control and I’m pretty sure Van Gough didn’t worry about this. At least not while he had his sanity and both ears. “But,” you say, “I hate Van Gough! His stuff isn’t art!” Precisely. To some it is, to others it ain’t and there’s not a darn thing you as a photographer can do about it.

As craftsmen and hopeful artists we have a right to, and the privelege of, our craft. But once we create it, it goes into the world and is seen, interpreted, and loved or rejected by the masses. We lose control of it, open ourselves and our work to misunderstanding or appreciation, but make no mistake about it: it’s out of our hands and whether it is or is not art is for others to decide. We have the right to perceive our own work as art, but I suspect when we do so we’re standing a little too close to the flame.

Is it Art? The more interesting questions revolve around your craft, that thing you CAN control but won’t if you’re chasing the elusive Art. How’s my craft? What can I do to improve it? What ruts have I fallen into? How can I get out of those ruts and find stronger ways of expression? Those are questions that lead to better craft, and – potentially – to your work being perceived in the eyes and hearts of larger audiences, as Art. It’s the difference between enjoying the journey and only longing for the destination. One is a guarantee, the other only an expectation. You can do both, but often the focus on the latter prevents the former. One sabotages the other and in so doing sabotages any chance of coming into being itself.

This is, of course, only my view on the whole thing. Got a different angle? Want to string me up as a heretic? Comments are open ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Sounds like a discussion we had in our music class once.

    What distinguishes music from sound? What makes music art, and not just noise?

    My conclusion, it’s not worth getting a headache over, so I’ll just keep doing what I enjoy doing whether people call it art or not.

  2. I thought I was almost alone on that view. Thanks for the excellent post.

    I never referred to myself as an “Artist” even though I graduated with a BA degree in Fine Arts, and paint pictures for a living. I would refer to myself as an illustrator, photographer, etc. who created illustrations (not “art”).

    I felt that the term “artist” was a title to be bestowed on me by someone else. That’s not for me to decide.

    To broaden it even more… An “artist” is ANYONE who elevates their skills to that of an art. A farmer, for example, can truly be called an “artist” if he strives for EXCELLENCE creatively and technically, elevating his trade to the highest standards.

    I need to strive for the highest level and standards of excellence that I’m able (technical, creativity,…) in every area of my work as an illustrator, photographer, etc. and NOT focus on striving for the “title” of artist who creates “art”.
    Hmmm….. If you ask a business person in marketing and advertising, they’d probably say, call it all “art” so you can charge more more for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I remember at University when I studied Drama that we were set an essay – “A impersonates B watched by C – is this a valid definition of performance?”
    I think that a similar theory is at work here. If I create a marvellous image using my camera (or photoshop, or whatever) is it art if no-one ever sees it?
    I’ve seen pictures in galleries, in newspapers etc where I think “That’s awful – I could do better than that” (one of the things that inspired me to do photography!) – but my point is, if someone likes it and hangs it somewhere, does it not therefore become “art” because it is presented as such?
    If I take a picture (well exposed etc) and present it for analysis, people will like it or dislike it, or take it apart photographically/compositionally and say “i could do better” – but because I’ve presented it, there’s a strong argument to say that it’s art in the same way that two people arguing on a train, with people watching them, is still a definition of performance. Performance is almost entirely defined by an audience and I think that art is the same (doesn’t mean it’s good art, but art nonetheless!)
    I agree wholeheartedly with the article, I’m just adding my 2c.

  4. I agree that art is in the eye of the beholder. Almost all things that we consider to be ‘art’ resulted from a ‘craft’. Painting, pottery, and other art forms all require mastering of a craft to produce an output. Whether that results in ‘art’ is up to the viewer to decide.

  5. First off, “Art or Craft” is a false dichotomy. Also, you don’t (properly) define the word “art” which, based on most definitions, hinges on the idea of a “creative, imaginative, (usually) visual process”. Whether art is good or bad is subjective, but both “art” and “craft” imply a shaping of visual or other representative realities, so false choice.

  6. This makes me think of what Sontag wrote in “On Photography”:
    “Photography has become almost as widely practiced as an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power”

    So I have to agree with you that art becomes art when…you define it as art. It is so subjective, but I do still think there is a definite artistic division between “art” and the snapshot (until you start getting into work like Richard Billingham, who certainly blurs that line…) Or maybe it’s just frustrating to consider that a blurry family holiday pic could potentially be on the same ground as an image that took weeks of research, hours to set up etc…So everything (or nothing) is art until pride or awe makes it so???

  7. Author

    @Kirk, I think you’ve missed my point. The discussion about whether photography is an “art” or a “craft” is already out there. This is my contribution to that discussion. in fact, at the beginning I stated the problem of defining “art”

    I’m not endeavoring to unpack the discussion and prove it true or false, simply to look at the result of pursuing an elusive end rather than focusing on the means. One makes us better at what we do.

    You may be right in saying it’s a false choice, but it’s one we make all the same and pointing out flaws in the logic doesn’t contribute to the actual discussion.The world of art and craft, however you define them, is more about passion than it is about perfect logic.

  8. Most students of photography probably believe that what they do is art. The study of light, and composition is as important to painters as it is to photographers. Mastering these subjects is essential to the creation of beautiful paintings and photographs. The reason, I believe, that many do not see photography as art is because of the immediacy of it. Press the shutter button, and there you have it, the picture is recorded. Whereas, a painting or a sculpture can take weeks, months, even years to complete.
    Ultimately, beyond the discussion of whether or not photography is art, we should strive to create images that say something. If some people do not consider those images to be art, it shouldn’t really matter.

  9. Thank-you for that.

    Art is in the eye of the beholder and as such we all decide what art is. You can be bound by the classical definitions or peer pressure if you want โ€“ but it is an individual choice made not by the creator but by the audience.

    I have wonderful discussions with my sister-in-law, an art teacher, about Damien Hirst and Andres Serrano. She is very patient with my rabid proclamations that theirs is not art but simple baiting of public opinion. It always, always boils down to the fact that we all are given the right to decide what we see as art.

    Sunset over a beach in Tofino, a laughing child, my sleeping wife โ€“ all art to me.

  10. Great article.

    I’m not sure if I agree that it’s completely up to the audience to decide weather something is “Art” or not though.

    I think the author/creator/photographer is also a consumer of his own “craft”.

    I think Art is no so subjective as you imply. Sure there is good and bad Art, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think the initial definition of “Art” is up to the “Artist” who created it.

    Even if I am the only person who believes the image is Art, the image is still Art. It may not be good art, you may not want to purchase the image and it may never hang in a museum, but that doesn’t mean it’s not… Art.

    And I am not so vain as to think that every shutter actuation I have is something to be treasured for the ages. I am a firm believer in the concept of the great snap shot too.

    But the one in a hundred, or even one in a thousand images that through the manipulation of the camera and the resulting pixels come together creating the vision I had/have for the final piece. Who can say it’s not Art if I say it is?

    It may not be great Art, and it may not appeal to anyone but me in the end, but I can still say it’s “my Art” and I can do so with a sense of pride.

  11. Author

    @Wolfman-K. Agreed. But to go back to my comedy analogy – the comedian may find his stuff hilarious, and take a great deal of pleasure out of it, but once it leaves the stage it is up to the audience to decide if it is funny to them.

    Of course all this is made so much trickier by lack of universally accepted definition of “art”.

    Remember, this short article isn’t about what is and is not art, it’s really about the way we approach the whole thing. I think pursuing “art” as an end rather than focusing on making our craft better is a counterproductive pursuit. But the discussion about it all is important. We won’t all agree, but if it stirs the paint, that’s great.

  12. Author

    @ cjphotography – you ended your comment with: So everything (or nothing) is art until pride or awe makes it so???

    This articulates the rub of the whole thing for me. With no clear definition to get us away from shooting at a moving, and etherial, target, it seems way more important that we concentrate on what we do know – the betterment of our craft – and leave the assesment of the product to the audience and the pundits. We could discuss whether a snapshot is art or not, but have the same problem. What’s a snapshot and how does it differ from a “real photograph” Surely in some measure the images of Henri Cartier Bresson could be considered by some as snapshots based on his emphasis on the instinctive recognition and capture of singular moments. Few of us would quibble about whether his work is art or not. But i doubt he worried about it or debated it – he was most likely too busy out creating photographs.

  13. To my point and not to be pedantic but words DO matter and they do have definable, albeit not absolute meanings: “art” and “craft” both both refer to a “creative, imaginative process”. When people think of “art” they often think of “high art” and “artist” but these need not be implied in the Latin root, “art.” I would ask anyone to differentiate between “artisan” and “craftsman” for example. An art or craft can be highbrow or lowbrow, good or bad, popular or unpopular: it’s a continuum not an absolute.

  14. I have always, perhaps incorrectly, made a distinction between craft and art: craft involves the skilled creation of something preconceived and usually utilitarian, while art involves the expressive creation of something emotional and usually non-utilitarian. Most art requires craft, and when we sense a lack of craft (like with minimalism) we question the artistic merit. Craft, on the other hand, does not always require art. To whether photography is craft or art, I can only say “yes”. It is craft or art. One size does not fit all.

  15. Author

    Kirk – I agree they do, but as I said, in the absence of a universally accepted definition it might be best to discuss the concepts as they are in popular thought. Words are important, we just don”t seem to agree in this case. Again, my point wasn’t to enter into debate about the definitions but to point out the benefit to our craft if we focus on process more than the reception our work receives or what it is, or isn’t called.

    Call it whatever you like, this isn’t a rampart I am keen on defending, I was just trying to get the paint stirred. Arguing about words that are used ambiguously doesn’t seem helpful. Language is organic and I’m more concerned about the place words like “art” have in the popular lexicon than in the Oxford dictionary.

    We do agree that art is a continuum not an absolute, which I think comes in part because of the subjective nature and the difficulty in defining it.

    Anyways, like I said, not something I want to debate. Have a craft to work on. Thanks for the thoughtful response, if we ever meet in person we can have a pint and talk about this until we’re silly.

  16. By definition: craft is an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill. Art is both a craft and the resulting art form, so we are really speaking of two separate definitions of art here. How the viewer sees the form produced by the craft does not determine if it is art or not.

    Art is art and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Hence, the viewer may or may not see the art form as beautiful, but the constant remains, it is art.

  17. David – I see, belatedly, where you were going with your post. Sorry I missed the true drive.

    I doubt that any of the masters we hold as “High Artist” sat around and thought:
    “Today I shall work on my art making abilities – to whit I shall practice sketching hands – Rodin”

    Perhaps it is possible to think of craft as the conduit to the ability to produce art in the eyes of the beholder.

    The better my craft the easier it is to create my vision which will please me and perhaps been seen as art to some.

    The better Michelangelo’s craft the easier it became to relase David from the marble. Regardless of what we think of as art – the better your craft the more likely you are to connect with someone.

  18. “the comedian may find his stuff hilarious, and take a great deal of pleasure out of it, but once it leaves the stage it is up to the audience to decide if it is funny to them.”

    That’s exactly my point on good art and bad art. The audience decides if they liked the comedy act, or not, but I’m not sure they get to decide if it was a comedy act. Comedy does not define good or bad, just the medium.

  19. I think it very interresting that there are people that think of themselves as artists, whose work is not well recieved, and there are those that just “do” (whether paint/photo/sculpt/etc) and have many people that enjoy their work.

    I also find it strange that we can’t come up defined standards for what is art. But then, I disagree with most experts on lots of clasical paintings and music. I guess it is a big part of what makes us human. On the other hand, I am reading a book about how certain forms/lines/etc in photographs are usually universally percieved as pleasing.

    There is a lot wrapped up in words like art and artist. I don’t see myself in the same light as those I might call artist, so therefore I don’t call what I do art. I have some of my pictures hanging in my house and others like some of my work though.

    My daughter creates art. Lots of it. Every day. She calls her drawing and coloring and macaroni on styrofoam art. In fact some of the photos she has taken are so different or creative or unexpeced, (or accidental most likely) that to me they DO look like art.

    I like the word craft. Having a sense of a photo you want to make (vision), planning it, taking it, and tweaking in photoshop seems like you crafted the image to me. Maybe it is just wordplay. I used to be a cabinet maker. I would never have thought of the things I built as art either. I feel like I crafted them though.

    Who knows. I do know that “what is art” is one of those things that I accepted long before I became a photographer that I didn’t care to argue with anyone. I think I will add whether photography IS art to that list.

    PS I am heading out at lunch to craft some pictures and intend to enjoy my daughters art when we get home.

  20. I think there is some confusion. I think there is an assumption that If it’s “Art it must be Good.” or “If it’s Comedy it must be funny.” I personally don’t think that’s the case.

    Photography is indeed a Craft, but I don’t think the definition of if a photographic image is Art depends on if the image is good or pleasing to everyone who sees it.

  21. If there *were* universally accepted definitions for “art” and “craft,” how would that change what a photographer does? Should it change what (s)he does?

  22. At the risk of plunging into an abyss of lexical semantics, I feel the need to argue that while the liking or disliking of art is entirely subjective, the definition of art itself is not subjective. There are, for example, many sports that I dislike, but that does not negate the fact that they are sports. The same is true of art. It is not art because somebody says that it is art. It is art because it is art. The same of craft.

    However, I think that all of that misses the point – and by a wide margin. Photography is craft. Yes, it can also be used to create art, but at its roots it is craft. And as David points out, it is, as craft, something that we can control. The point is whether or not we are willing to dedicate ourselves to that task.

  23. Amen! I’ve been thinking about the craft and art angle for some time. What irks me is when art becomes the justification for bad craft. You’re spot on when you say we should worry about what we can control, our craft. Whether someone else feels that our photographs have artistic value is not up to us. It is up to them. Given that, if we try for “art” we are trying to look through the viewfinder with someone else’s eyes. I think that’s a recipe for frustration.

  24. I would love a pint (if i visit Canada again), but can we talk about something other than what makes art, but instead, talk about why we like what we’ve been doing, and what we wanna do?

    Hope that was your point, or one of them =P

    But just to stir the paint a little more – are we just concerned about art as a process or product? To me it’s the artist vs beholder’s perspectives. I think… I need a pint!

  25. Oh boy, I have a hard enough time classifying my photography as “GOOD” let alone “Art.”

    Yes I still apply myself at this craft, no I don’t believe that I can define it as art – though I can gladly, and humbly, say that people have approached my photos and asked to purchase them as prints.

    That was actually when I first even thought about this hobby, this passion, this pool into which my cash flows, as something that ACTUALLY affected others. They chose, not only to pay me for it, but to put it in an important location of their home – I’m taking up someone’s wall space – HOW COOL IS THAT!?

    In the end I’m obviously relentlessly self-driven, it’s a personal challenge and really if I thought I was as good as I was going to get, it wouldn’t be all that interesting (and that would be a sad, sad statement). So in the hopes of improving the craft, and hopefully some art will plop out the other end, I practice, I read, I study, I shoot.

    Shameless plug: I also lead the Ottawa PhotoWalk on July 18! http://worldwidephotowalk.com/ottawa-on-ca/

  26. I had friend explain to me that Photography was not Art because it was so easy to do…that anybody could take a photo. Painting, on the other hand, was Art because it was difficult to paint a canvas, and one needed skill in order to do that.

    True story.

  27. @Miserere I had a friend try to explain to me that digital photography wasn’t photography – because I did all the stuff on the computer and that “wasn’t real”

    Also a True Story.

  28. My friend is a painter and I’m a photographer. We both call ourselves artists. We use differnt mediums to produce our art. She paint, brush and canvas. Me camera, computer and paper. Both finished products are display in a frame and hung on walls.

  29. I found your article very interesting David. Photography is a craft, which can result in Art. Is the taking of a picture, Photography? Or does Photography require the craftsman have a vision of his photograph before he takes it. I think that the vision is essential to the photograph. It is the difference between a photograph and a snapshot. I know for me that to match my vision of the photograph, I need to manipulate the pixels to match my vision. It is rare that a photo matches my vision right out of the camera. That is not to say, the photo isn’t technically perfect. It just does not match my vision of it.

    Is it art? Who am I to say, I enjoy the experience and am constantly trying to expand my vision and abilities.

  30. According to Duchamp (you know, the “inventor” of readymades, or “found art”), the fact that something is being discussed makes it art.

    Duchamp signed his name on a urinal and entered it into an art show (titled “Fountain”). The fact that the judges even considered the piece an entry (even though rejected)… gave it the status of art.

    Art is subjective. It is interpreted by the audience. I think photography can be both a craft and an art. What you make it depends on your focus and vision.

  31. an artist paints, a few drops of paint hits the floor, and continues to work. the janitor comes and cleans up, gathers the drop cloth w the “paint mess” and hangs it to dry….bam! you have a masterpiece.
    photographers paint w light, the light hits the canvas, be it film or censor, and gets printed. whether the final product ends up lining the floor of the birdcage or used as fishwrap, newspapers, or is hung on the wall at home or in a gallery…it still took skill, vision and creativity to create the image. is it art? i dont care, as long as im true to the vision God gave me when i was lookin thru the viewfinder. as betsy said, art is subjective…but doing what brings you joy and happiness, is real and nobody can say otherwise.

  32. David,
    I think you’ve hit on precisely the problem (if there is one) and I agree 100%. The old adage “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” holds very true for our craft, like that of painters. The only question I pose then, is: does this hold true for other visually expressive media as well? The only reason I ask is that when I see a painting, regardless of what I think of it personally, I tend to think it is art. That is the only medium where I feel like it is always art… But I don’t know why.

  33. History is littered with the carcasses of those who were considered the leading artists of their day– only to be confined to the dustbins of the past by the distance that time brings to culture’s judgment. Wait long enough, and the mere fact of the artifact’s survival makes it art.

    Next week probably isn’t long enough…

  34. The last house we lived in was built to mediocre standards with cheap materials but it was still a house. It was not something for which any self-respecting professional carpenter would be proud, nor win awards.

    Similarly, most of us have seen examples on the mediocre side of art — not determined only by how much we personally liked or disliked it, but because mediocre art often reveals a less-thorough or less-capable attempt at artistic expression – something less than a high level of creative ability and/or effort on the part of the artist.

    I’ve known artists who exert only a portion of what they are capable. Other artists seem to invest everything they’ve got but the result is not very compelling to “most” eyes.

    What each artist creates is still ART, I would say, but on its own merits perhaps less than it might have been. A somewhat lost opportunity, like overcooked rubbery eggs are not the best use of eggs.

    We each are given different talents and levels of talent, and we develop and exercise those talents to widely varying degrees.

    If I carelessly photograph with rudimentary skills which I’m not developing and without honing a concept for what I wish to communicate, my art will rightly be perceived on the whole as mediocre. But if have some photographic ability to begin with and put my passion into it, keep learning, keep improving my expertise, and pay at least some attention to how my art is received by people I want to “reach,” that’s all I can expect of myself. Some people still won’t care for some of my photographs; many others will.

    Meanwhile, I will have had the time of my life hopefully making each new image a little better than the ones before.

    Great discussion David and everyone, thanks.

  35. Interesting article, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I was discussing this exact thing earlier this day.

    Oh by the way, sorry I’ve got to be the ‘grammar nazi’, but it’s Van Gogh, and not Van Gough ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Okay, give me my turtleneck and beret. I’m a snob! to say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder dismisses the sophistication level of the beholder. If the audience does not get the humor is it because they don’t understand the language or politics well enough? If they don’t understand the language, does that make it less funny? What is the level of their education? Am I to doff my beret to the lowest common denominator? Who is the audience? Who is the grand poobah who is defining, and by what authority? My endeavor as an artist is to refine my craft and my aesthetic sensibilities. Hopefully that will be reflected in my images.

  37. First of all, I’m really glad for everyone to chime in on this discussion. David, you really tripped the trigger on this one! =P

    Hopefully without triggering another argument on whether art is absolute or relative, here’s a thought:

    Should art be deemed successful if you get the intended message across to your audience? What if it reaches beyond the intended audience, and they give it different meaning? (think of all those paintings people discover way after the artist’s death, with books written about them but nobody could verify?)

    I think art is ‘good’ if it reaches a wide audience, so that even your layman can find meaning in it (universality), but even better if it reaches the intended audience group specifically, and stirs a deep gripping emotion or even understanding in them.

    To me, an artist who manages to grip the world, is a hero, even if they have not thought of that while making the image. Don’t blush, David, but I believe some of your work has done exactly that =]

  38. David thats a really thought provoking post indeed.
    IMO there is a real thin line between craft and art.
    Craft is something where one has a preconceived destination and uses techniques or processes with his/her own aesthetics and sensibilites to reach there. A simple example will be while making a sunset photograph, I may change the WB to Fluoroscent to add drama. And that adding drama is targetted to bring out emotions in my audience. So when I do that I know that it will evoke emotions from my audience. In this case if the audience does not evoke emotions, it is my failure as a craftsman. So in this case, the myself as photographer is a craftsman.
    Art to me is more of reaching for the unknown (and for doing that I need to know my craft well). Like okie what happens if I shake my camera while taking a landscape photo. I know it will create blur but I don’t know how it will look like. Say I do that and look at a particular frame and like it. I like it because it clicks with my aesthetics. And now when I show it to my audience there will be a few people who will like it and a few who won’t. Primarily because it will depend on their aesthetics. If it matches they like it…if it doesn’t, they won’t like it. But in this case, I as a photographer is an artist. I explored possibilities. To me if people like it it makes me a successful artist otherwise a less successful one. But an artist nevertheless.
    So to me all photographers are craftman primarily. Whether I want to be an artist is purely my choice.
    Apology for such a long comment.

  39. Good post, David. Why care if it’s art? Let our creative work be whatever it is. I have more meaningful things to do than worry about the definition of art. The topic is addressed largely by esoterics, academics, and the self-important.

  40. David,

    I always find it strange how this discussion never comes up at a art league, or art organization meeting. Photographers in general are the only “artists” who have trouble naming their medium as art (my opinion). I am a painter…I paint decorative pictures in oil, on canvas. Am I an artist because I paint or am I an artists because I make pictures? Am I an artist at all? I tend to think so. I see photography as art even though a lot of photographers think of themselves as “crafters” or simply “technicians” with a tool. You create, you find a moment and capture it with the expectation that it is to be viewed by others. How is that not art? With the exception of casual picture taking (such as capturing moments for an album or recording a family event) I think anytime a photographer plans to process the image he/she sees as a decorative piece it is art.

    To me this is a loaded discussion…if one is a painter, photographer, or sculptor they simply need to define what art is to them and if they choose to create art then create it. Over analyzing the term “art” can paralyze the creative soul. Art is a commodity, a product, a decoration, or result of a process “crafted” by the artist. There is a buyer for every type of art, why should anyone wait for the buyer to call the product art? Sorry David, the comedian analogy doesn’t work for me. Whether you were good or not, you got on stage as a comedian. Some laughed, some did not, just like art. Some like it and some do not…but as artists we get up there and try anyway.

    I say if you have trouble calling it art then don’t. But if you create a product in order to sell or create it as art then call yourself an artist and be content with your decision. Never decide for someone else, it is not your decision, art is a personal thing.

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