I often wonder in art classes (and even more often in general throughout life), “what’s the point?” Like, for example, what’s the point of me being able to accurately paint something based on a reference image when other students use projectors to trace images onto their canvas? I’m not trying to say that their process is any less valid. I guess I’m just pessimistic sometimes all of the time. What’s the point in painting when you can photoshop images together? What’s the point in anything, really?
I don’t know if I will ever find the answer but I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Something that helped inspire this thought was an art professor trying to argue the point that “beautiful” is not a way to describe art. I get it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, I argued back by saying, “is it not our idea of beauty that draws us to art in the first place?” She replied with, “Oh boy….”
A couple of weeks ago, I overheard two girls in my ceramics class talking about meaning in art. They kept saying that they didn’t want their art to have meaning, they just wanted to make stuff that looked cool. This was the exact mindset I had until overhearing their conversation. At that moment, I realized that I was just making excuses. I just wanted to be lazy and not have to think about what I was making. This is also something that led me to start thinking more about the point of art. But really, what’s the point of putting so much energy and time into something that doesn’t mean anything to you?
Oh right, to make money.
I say do things for the point of doing them. The fact that they are a part of your life is the biggest point of all. I think the only advice that I can give anyone at this time (including myself) is to just keep doing what you want to do. Don’t worry about memorizing fancy terms to keep up with art snobs. The important information will come with practice. And if you find yourself making something that doesn’t mean anything, consider it practice. Not everybody makes art for the same reason but I think that any reason is valid, even if that means making stuff that looks cool. After all, we can ask what the point is of a lot of things.