What Is Art?

Before I start this post, I have to mention that JACOB MICHAELS IS… THE OMNIBUS EDITION comes out this Friday! All 6 books (plus the short story, CARNAVAL) with a beautiful cover designed by Dean Cole in one tome! I’m so excited. Click here to get more information, pre-order, etc.

In early August, this tweet was making the rounds on Twitter:

Understandably, and not surprisingly, this tweet upset a lot of people.

Now, I’m not sure if the original poster of this…meme?…was being sarcastic or ironic, or just “taking the piss,” or maybe completely serious. I happen to love Van Gogh, but the tweet didn’t offend me.

However, the tweet–and all of the responses it got–really made me think about one thing:

What is art?

Well, art is literally defined as:

“the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

It seems specific, but really, this definition paints a broad stroke (see what I did there?) in defining what qualifies as art.

Anything created using human creative skill and imagination, that is enjoyed for its beauty or emotional power can be considered art without question. By definition alone.

I’ve read a lot of books – traditional, indie, and everything in between. I’ve listened to audiobooks in all of the categories as well.

Some were excellent, some were good, some were “meh,” and some were not that great.

I’m not a great reviewer of books. Until I looked up the actual definition of “art,” I wasn’t sure why. A lot of the time, I judge a book on how it makes me feel or how beautiful it is. Or how much appreciation I have for the work that went into it. Since I do that, it’s pretty rare that I really, truly dislike a book.

They’re out there, but it’s rare that I find them.

This may be self-serving or biased since I’m an author as well, but I find it hard to not consider most of what is produced in the publishing world to be art. Sure, that’s a subjective way of looking at books, but art is subjective. We all read the definition. To some degree, based on the personal opinions of the person reading or listening to a book, it is either great, good, or bad. Or somewhere in between.

But it’s still art.

We can argue grammar, spelling, structure, plot, characters, and other aspects of a book all day long. But I don’t think we can take the label “art” off of a book based on personal opinion.

Books are art. Great, good, or bad–they’ll make the person reading them appreciate their beauty or they’ll make someone feel something.

In the meme above, which painting do you prefer?

I love Van Gogh on the right. Because it makes me feel something. The other just looks like a photograph–which is absolutely amazing. But it doesn’t evoke visceral feelings like Van Gogh’s does.

Keep making your art. Whatever your art is.

It will make someone, somewhere, feel something.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,