What Do You Consider “Art”?

Which one is really art?

Which one is really art? Of course, only one of these was in Art of the State

Lately, I’ve been asked a lot about my painting. You’re probably sitting there thinking, “I thought she was a metalsmith?” Yes, yes I am. But I am an artist and before finding the fabulousness of pounding metal with a hammer, I did a variety of other art forms – drawing, painting, ceramics, photography. This, of course, was mostly in high school and college.

I never considered myself a painter and yet I still consider myself an artist. Is it possible to be an artist who doesn’t paint? Or one who doesn’t draw? What exactly IS art?



As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here, here, and here for example) there is this (false) notion that art only involves certain media. Strangely some people consider performing arts (like dance, theater, or music) more of an art form than the practical/decorative arts of many craftspeople. Others think that writing is an art, but ceramics is something that retired people do to fill their time.

What is it about making with your hands a tangible object that is beautiful, but perhaps functional that moves this practice out of the realms of “art” and into some other, lesser realm.

No one form of art is any more or less than any other. Metalsmithing is just as valid (and “art worthy”) as improvisational jazz, expressionistic painting, or “high literature.” Even within the categories of kinds of art there are further, smaller categories that are looked down on (can you say sci-fi or metal-core?) Why are we so judgmental of this? Is it because it’s so subjective? Or do we just want to feel like what we like is all that matters?

I guess it’s probably a little of both.

What do YOU think constitutes art? Are any particular media less “art worthy” than others? Give us YOUR opinion in the comments.

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Some More Chalice Action

Base in your Face! ©2015 WTEK

Base in your Face! ©2015 WTEK

Look at that curvy line ©2015 WTEK

Look at that curvy line ©2015 WTEK

I’ve been plugging away at the chalice. (I’ve also been brainstorming a base for the other sculpture, slightly less successfully.) I designed a base that reflects the the bowl part – it’s chased over air and folded in a similar manner with similar arced shapes.

Once that was formed I’ve been cutting out the bottoms of the stands to fit into the design. The edges are slowly getting finished and I drilled the holes to connect the bowl to the legs. I have to say, with the thickness of the middle portion it’s  looking more like a trophy and less like a chalice. But a trophy for what? (Seriously, leave your ideas in the comments)

Side view Standing alone ©2015 WTEK

Side view Standing alone ©2015 WTEK

Side view with an idea of how it will fit on the base, obviously it need some forming still ©2015 WTEK

Side view with an idea of how it will fit on the base, obviously it need some forming still ©2015 WTEK

Oh, and here’s a spider just because…

Let's be friends!

Let’s be friends!

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In Process: One Bumpy, One Smooth(ish)

Hmmm, one step closer...

Hmmm, one step closer…

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about the chalice. I had an idea, then I couldn’t get the base parts to fit together the way I wanted to again. So it sat there while I worked on a sculpture that involves lots of piercing and filing.

The other sculpture I'm working on...

The other sculpture I’m working on…

Then I needed to work on the base for that, so I switched back to the chalice. I got it back the way I wanted (and taped it so it won’t move!) and worked out a pattern for the base. Now I need to texture that metal, pierce it out then start to finish and assemble the whole thing.

Cue Carmina Burana... ©2015 WTEK

Cue Carmina Burana… ©2015 WTEK



Did I mention that I’m trying to get it done and photographed in time for an exhibition deadline? Oh, well you can rush it just to get it done. I have fall back pieces if I don’t make it in time.

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