Let Me Ask You Something, What Is Not Art?

I have always been intimidated by art, in particular choosing art.  When I moved into my first apartment, it was a “garden level” (aka basement) studio in Washington, DC.  Having a limited budget, I drove myself down to Ikea and kitted out my first apartment from top to bottom.  My purchases also included two framed abstract pieces that I thought were beautiful.  I proudly hung them over my newly purchased couch and marveled how they pulled the colors in the room together.  A few weeks later, I invited over a guy I was dating and upon entering the apartment he commented “I see you were sipping the Ikea Kool-Aid.  Why does everyone have those pictures on their wall?”

I stood there, mumbled something and quickly made an excuse why we should go to a restaurant shortly thereafter.  Upon returning to my apartment later that evening, I stared at the two pictures.  As I stared at them, my shame turned to anger.  Initially, I was crushed that the  guy I liked dissed my taste in art.  I felt that his dismissal of the artwork was a direct reflection on me and thus threatened our budding romantic relationship.  But then feelings of anger arose.  So the heck what I had mass-produced artwork on the walls of my first apartment.  I loved the pieces and I was the one who had to live with them.  They brought me joy because they represented a departure from my poster covered dorm rooms of college to my first taste of adulthood.  In hindsight, were the pieces that great?  No, they were not great works of art but then neither was the guy.

So with that, I made the decision to keep the art and ditch the guy.  It was a good decision as I think the artwork brought me more pleasure than the guy ever could.  However, that episode drove home that art is subjective.  As the title of this posting states, what is not art?  The definition of art can be debated from here to eternity, but for myself, art isn’t necessarily a beautiful artifact or object – it is merely an object that brings me joy.  I buy art based on what I love – it is that gut feeling that strikes me when I see the piece.  In the same vein, I have brought twigs, leaves  and stones I have found the street as well as odd quirky objects that only I find the humor and joy in.  In the end, if it doesn’t make me smile, then it isn’t brought home.

This made me smile when I found it at Urban Ore…..

My new portrait.....

See I love portraits.  Oscar Wilde is quoted to have said “every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter”.  I wholeheartedly believe this because the sitter is being reinterpreted through the eyes of the artist with the portrait being the physical embodiment of what is seen.  I love the idea that the same person can be seen and reinterpreted in so many different ways.  And I also loved the price of this piece ….only $8!  So this quickly got snapped up and I think will hang in the master bedroom.

On a side note, I am hoping that one of these two portraits end up under my Christmas tree this year…..


"Initial" by Clare Elsaesser


Oh my goodness.  When I saw this piece by Clare Elasesser in her Etsy shop, Tastes Orangey I was completely awed.  The color and subject matter just spoke to me.  I imagine the subject of this portrait just woke up and is stretching, trying to absorb what his day holds.  I simply love this piece…….

Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of this painting or the artist since I found a reproduction of it on eBay.  However, I am in love with it.  The subject’s facial expression and the strong use of color simply bowl me over.  I am seriously thinking about purchasing the reproduction on eBay, but I want to be sure it is a legal reproduction first as I would hate to do anything that would take money away from the original artist.  Again, if this was wrapped in a bow and placed under the Christmas tree, I would have NO problems.

I think in some way, every person alive is an art collector because we gather things we love around us.  So in the end, if it makes you happy and you find it beautiful, then it is the perfect piece of art for you.


One thought on “Let Me Ask You Something, What Is Not Art?

  1. What a d**k — how condescending. Glad you ditched him. We all started out that way and it WAS a huge improvement from college decor. Sheesh. Should you have had original Kandinskys?

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