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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: artist/craftsperson
- From: ken and robin leslie <charuby@PLAINFIELD.BYPASS.COM>
- Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 09:34:07 -0500
- Message-Id: <199803151433.GAA15554@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: The list for all the book arts!" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
>Did I call anyone an idiot? I don't think so. I was just saying that it
>doesn't take a genius to heave a bucket of paint on the wall and call it
>art, that is a fact. I doubt there's a single person without significant
>disabilities that couldn't find a large wall, take the lid off a bucket of
>paint, and throw the bucket at the wall. It's a fairly simple act,
>requiring almost no skill.
>Paul Anderson - Self-employed Megalomaniac
This, I believe, points EXACTLY to the difference between the artist and
the craftsperson. The FIRST person who threw a paint bucket at the wall
was an artist--challenging our notions about what art is. Throwing the
paint DIDN'T take skill--but thinking to do so DID. AFTERWARDS, every
other "idiot" who threw a bucket in hopes of making art, is a craftsperson,
following a recipe the first artist figured out.
Art is a metaphor that speaks about the experience of existence. Craft is
the execution, the making, of an object. We admire a craftsperson who
"does a good job" following the traditions, the standards, of making an
object. We admire the artist who breaks down walls of expectation and
tradition, who forges a new path. The craftsperson who invents the "new"
is also an artist. The artist who executes an idea with consummate skill
is also a craftsman. There have been great works of art that were very
poorly made (Da Vinci's Last Supper, for one). Discounting by description
alone a paint-throwing art work because it sounds as if "anyone could do
it" is as grave a crime as judging a book by its cover. Some artists are
craftspersons, some craftspersons are artists, but neither one nor the
other gets a free ticket into both clubs.
Ken Leslie, Artist usually, craftsperson on occasion