It’s Art in the Eye of the Beholder!

Photograph by Katya Arnold from “Elephants Can Paint Too!

We say Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.

Can an elephant create art holding a paintbrush in his trunk? Can a computer create art? Well, we know an elephant and a computer can each make pictures, but that is not my question. Can those images be real art?

Ah, here we are again… What is art?

Maybe Art is in the Eye of the Beholder!

What makes art art? Is it the Rule of Thirds, contrast, texture, color schemes, real life-perfect images, balance, how the eye is led to move around the image? The list can go on and on.

Is it art because of who created it, or is it art because of how it affects the viewer?

Each piece of art is judged by the viewer according to her experience with it. Granted one viewer may be more discerning than another, but each is free to form his own experience with the art in question. That is my point. It’s Art in the eye of the beholder, and not because someone else said so.

A similar art experience may be shared by many people. If the experience brings value to the viewers, such as tranquility, curiosity,or cheerfulness, the art proves its social value. Even art that produces negative feelings, such as anger, may prove to be of social worth if the anger is  directed toward an injustice.

Back to my original question. Can an elephant create art?

Let’s say a number of viewers are affected in some pleasant way by the Elephant’s painting. They may want to buy the work or a copy of it to display in an office or home. In fact, elephant art is bought for high prices. Does the elephant create? By my definition, the elephant, or any other creator, is not deciding factor. I’m not judging the ability of the elephant to create. I am asking whether the painting has any worthwhile effect on viewers.

How does the art affect you? How does a glowing sunset affect you? Is the sunset art?

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