art·ist - ärtst)n.
One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.
A person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill: You are an artist in the kitchen.
One, such as an actor or singer, who works in the performing arts.
One who is adept at an activity, especially one involving trickery or deceit: a con artist.
[French artiste, from Old French, lettered person, from Medieval Latin artista, from Latin ars, art-, art. See ar- in Indo-European Roots.]
so. having that stated, i'll explain.
in today's lecture, while considering the future of graphic design by means of looking at the 'history of the future' aka world fairs, futuramas, etc., we came across a slide with one of damien hirst's so-called creations.
a sheep inside a glass box.
and we were reminded of his other 'works'. and tracey emin. her bed.
i noticed that the lecturer called them artists. and he asked if their pieces were innovative art.
to be honest, i'd never thought of their work as art. i'd never considered 'found art' of art itself. now, there's a long debate on that, and we face fuzzy logic there.
but i reasoned, aren't damien hirst and tracey emin a whole new definition of 'artists' altogether? they don't create things. they just stick them together. or pull them apart, for that matter. they put a concept across. or let the viewers put the concept on their work.
paintings, sculptures, photographs, experimental building, novels, poems, films - including all the digital art - they take planning. they take years. they come from the mind, through the hands, onto the material. they are physically molded. from something intangible into something concrete, specific. meaningful or deep interaction between artist and material. abstract art and conventional art are equally as important. i'd consider a bucket of paint thrown onto a canvas an absolutely valid example as art; while damien hirst's cow cut in half placed in a glass box: no. to me at least.
because it's only there to shock.
because if you want to observe the miracle of biology, you study it.
because i personally hate gore.
because he just got a cow, cut it in half, and put it in a display box for all to see.
because he actually got away with it. and it's inhumane.
i'm not discarding found art as crap or nonsense. if people admire it, or feel morbidly attracted to it, then it must have some worth. to them.
i just feel that this 'new' breed of 'creators' should be called something else. they should coin their own vocation. they are not, in its most primitive and essential sense, artists. they don't fit in the definition.
i cannot have COBRA and hirst together in the same category.
therefore i naively propose a new term for them: conceptualists. perhaps. they don't go beyond that. concept. there's no skilled labour, no special ability that characterises them, no talent. they don't stand out due to what they can achieve by creating something from scratch, from limitations. that's the key agent.
so i refuse to view these people as artists.
and this comes from my little mind - only attempting to classify what i see.
this seems rather a tiny raw analysis.
but someday i'll write an essay on this.