What is Art? What makes good Art?

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I have asked few people I know and admire:  What is Art?  What is good Art?  If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far. Quotes below.

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I looked through books, publications and asked few people I know and admire: What is Art? What is good Art? If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far:

“To me, the fundamental function of all creative work – no matter what kind- is communication. Art is a way of rendering humanity into something that can be shared, taken in, considered and maybe even understood. It is a vessel of human connection”.

Leah Baltus / Editor in Chief of City Arts Magazine,  a monthly publication for Seattle,  that covers art, music, film, and everything creative in the Puget Sound region/

“What makes good art? “Good” is subjective of course, however my eyes delight an unexpected line, texture, juxtaposition of balance and unbalance. Just as the delight of a hummingbird startles me so does the art that I appreciate.”

Debra /business woman and an artist/


“These are  questions with no certain answers, since the answers are subjective. Tho many have tried, there just ain’t no Bible out there on this to tell us the truth! So, we can all just say with confidence, the truth of our opinions, for ourselves only.
So here is my truth:
Pretty much anything created is art. Doesn’t even have to be created by humans. I’ve seen some amazing paintings by elephants and cats. The urinal piece by DuChamp was exhibited as art and is still considered to be art, for it challenged and expanded the contemporary definitions of art at the time. Conceptual art that may not have a physical reality is art. How I plan and plant my garden is art.
What makes good art, now here is where I get really opinionated. Good art must have an affect on people- arousing appreciation for it’s beauty, stimulating an emotion or idea, spurring a call to action, or creating a feeling of transcendence where one has become more aware or appreciative than one was before the encounter with the art.
Good art must satisfy aesthetically- it must have form and content that “works”. Now that is elusive when one tries to identify what “works”. It’s just a thumbs up or down opinion, and frankly, I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments. The composition must have balance, harmony and tension. So must the content, or no one will be interested in it. Then it might still be art, just not good!
so there is a start on an answer to the question”.

Nancy /painter/

“Well, I have a bit of a problem with “I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments…” I’ve been through many great museums, the National and Phillips in DC, MOMA and the Met in NYC, the Louvre, etc. Often one sees the “everyday Joe’s” in attendance staring in wonder at the art. I must believe that it’s alright for Joe to say, “That’s just beautiful, great…I can’t tell you why, but I love it.” Art, in my view, should never be egalitarian or academic. It is there, with a bit of luck, for all, even as just a respite. My view, anyway.”

Steve /writer and a political analyst/


“When is it art? When it touches me.”

Judy /designer, drawing instructor/


“That is a rich question that deserves an ongoing discussion. The nuances of our unique individuality, personality and creative insights determine our appreciation of art over other art.
Some of the work I see is not art to me at all… . However to another it is.”

David / fine art photographer and illustrator/


“What makes good art? Oh my, that’s a helluva question. Critics, academics, artists and lay persons all have different views. One looks at Andy Warhol’s soup can and wonders; another sees the innovation, another sees the innovation and the first layer of symbolism. How do we know that Warhol wasn’t just doing an exercise to improve his skills? Many think that old painting of dogs playing poker is good art. Perhaps it is for them as it evokes some sort of emotion or response. Or, maybe they just “like” it.
Of all the paintings I’ve seen, Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” is my favorite. Every time I see it, I see something new, sometimes even evocative. I’ve looked at “Across the Sky” many times: It changes each time I see it. It is not ours to say for anyone what art is, but only for ourselves”.

Peter /writer/


“In my opinion, people can intuitively recognize the difference between something lacking any artistic content and something possessing it, even if they cannot explain why.  Distinguishing between good art and bad art, in my view, is much harder.”

James /full time Father/


And famous words by Edgar Degas sum it all well. At least for now…

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see”.

Edgar Degas