Natascha writes: Hi Lisa,

I have a fun question that I know from experience plagues a lot of young artists and can lead to interesting discussions.
In art and the fine art community there’s a lot of emphasis on installation art works etc and people who paint or draw often get looked down upon. Recently a coworker of mine who had just made and art installation with her boyfriend on domestic violence stated that, in her view, my work wasn’t art (I draw) because they’re just drawings while her piece was real art.
My question to you is: How can young artists respond to this?

Thank you!

First, lets go ahead and look at the definition of “art”


Simple Definition of art

  • : something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

  • : works created by artists : paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings

  • : the methods and skills used for painting, sculpting, drawing, etc.

This elitist idea that some people have that their idea of art is the correct type of art is so absolutely ridiculous that I can’t take anything these people say seriously because if they are so confused about such a simple word and concept I have to question their understanding about anything they think. Why do I get so worked up about this? I’ve seen this sort of mentality tear down and discourage too many artists. There is something seriously wrong with someone who would discourage someone from creating what they love.

Every single form of art ever produced had some closed minded loud mouth person there to claim it wasn’t “real art”. I’ve heard people claim that using certain tools makes the end product “not art”, I’ve heard people say abstract, impressionism, realism, photorealism, sculptures, installations weren’t “real art”. These people have NO IDEA what the word means!  Most of the time, when you really get to know the people who make claims like this, they are artists who are so insecure about their own work that they feel they need to tear down others. You really wanna have fun with them? When someone says something like this to you, don’t argue with them. Just say “Ok sweetie” and snort as you walk away.

Art can be just about anything anyone creates. Seriously, I’ve seen an installation where someone stuck a broken toilet in the corner and called it art. Dance is art. Music is art. Drawing is art. Painting is art.

At the end of the day, if people want to debate/argue what is or isn’t art…they can go ahead and waste time doing so. You an  spend that time being productive and actually creating something!