When is Art, Art?


When is Art, Art? Is Art still Art when nobody else sees it? What does it take to make a piece of Art? Can it be a single piece or does it need to be part of a body of work? The culmination of an idea, developed over a length of time with other work to support it? Is it possible for someone to pick up a canvas and paint and produce a piece of Art, with no formal training or any kind of build up in terms of developmental studies?  If Van Gogh had only ever created ‘Sunflowers‘ and nothing else would it still be considered great Art or is it better Art when taken into the context of his life and lifes work? When does something become Art? Could an illustration be considered Art? Or a sketch? Is it the scale, the context, the technique? Is it Art, if only one person considers it Art, or does it need the approval of many?  Is it still Art if only the Artist sees it…..?? Any piece of Art that works for me is something that helps me see things differently or  just from a new perspective, be that painting, drawing, film, dance…..

About Mark Hodgson

Designer and creative professional based in Jutland, Denmark


  1. Good points, but I wonder if it really comes down to how much rich people will pay for the artwork. If it is a lot then it must be art, if it is a little then they are thinking they got it cheap and it is a good investment. If they paid too much than it could be art or it could be envy or ego. Being different in many different ways helps the art, but someones gotta wanna and rich people that actually love art for art, example Albert C Barnes and the Barnes Foundation, are either dead or truly rare. I know there is more to it then this, but for now, you got me thinking. Thanks.

    • I don’t think it needs to be bought or sold in order to be considered Art. There is probably some unknown artist out there now with masterpieces in his shed, they would still be Art even if no-one else saw it.

  2. I have a friend who thinks a work is only art if is literal and realistic which frustrates the hell out of me. I believe that anything can be called art… if it is produced through the process of creativity. You don’t have to have a transaction, you don’t even have to have it seen, although social recognition and acknowledgement is more likely to come through the production of a body of work or a financial transaction or at least a convincing Artists blurb,( this is only relevant if recognition is what you are looking for when you produce).

    • Thank you and…exactly…I think there are a lot of people who can only appreciate ‘Art’ if its a good rendition of something. I also think it doesn’t need to be seen, bought, or sold for it to be considered Art…though of course its a bonus for the Artist, it shouldn’t and isn’t normally the reason we create Art.

  3. confused

    Hi all, I am just starting to piece together this question my self, when is art, art? So far I think there are three elements to consider; philosophy, context and technique. I think that the definition of art lyes somewhere in the middle of those three.

    • I think you’re right. All three have an equal part to play but especially context (especially in this day and age) and of course technique, and this is strongly linked to context in terms of history, medium, materials and what has gone before….

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