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Judging A Work Of Art - What Makes It Good

By Edited Mar 21, 2014 1 1

The effects of art to everyday life

Steps to making an art creation

What makes a work of art good? That is the question. Why are some artists considered important and others regarded as of no consequence? Final, acceptable answers to these questions are impossible to give. Complete agreement on many artists' works is impossible because of the highly personal nature of our feelings about the art. However, these questions are common and everyone must reach some answers to them in making judgments.

To get the answers, let us try to see those things which some artists do that make their work significant. In describing how an atist works, we are also describing the behavior of people generally in solving an art problem. An artist is different from other people only in that he is more sensitive and creative. He possesses to an unusual degree the ability to put his ideas into artistic form through the use of words, notes, pigments, stone, or any of the other materials used by artists. His process of creation differs from that of an amateur or beginner only in degree.

There are two kinds of artists - creators and performers. A composer writes a song to be sung by talented singers. A dramatist writes a play to be staged by a company of actors. A choreographer composes a ballet which will be performed by a troupe of dancers. Music, theater, and dance are performing arts. Besides the creator, they require other artists who re-create what has been composed. These performers are important. In a very real sense, a play cannot be considered complete until it has been performed, a song until it has been sung, a ballet until it has been danced.

Although the artistry of the performers is based on the creations of others, they bring individual interpretations to their performances. Two great actors may play the same role in a tragedy by Shakespeare yet give it vastly different interpretations; two dancers may dance the same ballet but render it quite differently. Thus in the performing arts, the ideas and interpretations of the performer are added to the original ideas of the creator. This dual contribution gives added richness and meaning to these fields of art. It makes them different from painting, for example, in which the creative  artist communicates directly with the observer.

The Process Of Art Creation

The process of creation has three major phases. First, the artist must have an idea or a problem; second, he must have a material in which to work; and third, he must give form to his idea.

1) The Idea or Problem

An artist is highly sensitive person, especially aware of the things that surround him. He notices the sounds, colors, and movements of people and things. Some particular experience may impress him so much that decides to use it as a basis for a picture, a poem, a play, or a dance. A painter may be fascinated by the strength of a modern industrial scene - the simple, vigorous forms of the smokestacks, the storage elevators, and the freight cars. He paints a picture in which he discovers beauty in a scene where most people did not think beauty existed.

Artists work on many problems. What are the new forms of beauty? How can the inner world of feeling be expressed in art? The artist faces all these varied problems. Through his creations, he attempts to bring beauty, order, and meaning to life.

2) The Material and Process

The second phase of creation in art concerns the material which the artist uses to give form to his idea.  A painter uses pigments; a sculptor uses stone, metal, or wood; an architect, various building materials. An author uses words; a composer, musical sounds which he sets down as notes. A choreographer uses people and their movements as the materials for his creations.

3) Organization and Form

The third phase in creating an artwork is organizing the idea and giving it form in the selected material. Artists have developed a host of different forms to express the ideas they work on. In some of the arts, particularly the time arts, certain forms of organization are standard and widely accepted. Popular songwriters use the conventional 32-measure length. Symphonic composers use the accepted structure of four movements. Poetry has a number of well-defined forms which are  often used: the sonnet, the quatrain, the Spenserian stanza. Operas and plays are always divided into a number of acts. These forms provide only a very general structure  for the artist, and even working within them he has great leeway.



Oct 5, 2012 8:36am
As an ex-art critic I loved this article and anyone who is interested in art ought to give it a read. 2 BIG thumbs from me
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