What is Art?

This week my Sunday school class was discussing how art was defined, and I had planned on doing a blog post on it anyway, so I figured, why not give it a go?

The definition of art from dictionary.com is,

  1. The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

My definition was,

Something expressed with passion and creativity.

There was a LOT of discussion that Sunday, and a lot of different perspectives that I found quite interesting. Something I said during the discussion was that I almost wanted to get rid of the word “Art”, because art is so subjective that it can mean lots of different things to lots of different people. I personally walk by a bush and see colors, shapes, and the way the light shines on it. Whereas someone else might see how it’s constructed. Or notice the sounds that it makes.

For me, art is almost a feeling. It’s an expression of my own thoughts and emotions. Other people’s art also makes me feel things. Nearly everything has significance to me, but maybe that’s just what makes me unique, and not what makes me an artist. I think what makes someone an artist is the passion to do something with what’s inside their heads. It has nothing to do with learning to paint, or write, or play an instrument; because anyone can learn how to do those things. But what’s significant is having a story to tell, and being able to tell it. It doesn’t matter what medium you use.

To bring it back around, I think art is just a way of using a medium to express how you feel about something. A mother does work for her family because she loves them. That is an art. Picking up trash that you see on the ground and helping take care of our planet. That is an art. Painting a picture of a child sitting with their dog because you want to show the love the child feels for the dog. That is an art.

I mean, what use would a painter be if the only reason they painted was for money? They wouldn’t have anything to paint, because they wouldn’t have anything they cared about, or were passionate about.

This is all just my opinion of what makes art, “art”. I really don’t think there will ever come a point when someone can pin down exactly what art is, because it’s such a subjective thing. However, I think it’s pretty fun to think about. It’s also fun to see what art means to other people.

The Way I Write

When I first started writing, my grammar was as close to perfect as I could get it (which wasn’t that great, because I was eleven, but you get the idea). The more I wrote, the less I liked it, because it was just boring. It felt like reading a school book. Sure, it was technically correct, but it just felt stiff. I decided to try and write the way I talk, and see if it made a difference.

I don’t know about you, but I like reading the way people talk a lot more than reading something that’s “correct”. One of my favorite things in a book is when an author writes a character with a specific accent, because that means they put thought into their characters. It’s easy to write something “correct”, because that’s what we’re taught in school. It’s not so easy to take a step outside the box and write an accent like Hagrid’s, from Harry Potter. It also brings so much more life to what you’re reading. When you use your own creativity in writing, it brings the words to life. It’s like how sheet music turns into something that inspires people when it’s played. Words, and writing, can do the same.

My parents always taught me that when you learn something, that’s when you can step out, and try new things, and choose if you’re going to keep doing it. My writing is just another form of artistic expression, so of course I would find some way to do things differently. However, there is a time and place for everything.

I write personally when it’s time to be personal, and serious when it’s time to be serious. I wouldn’t necessarily write personally on a job application, because that’s when it’s time to use this handy little thing called grammar. Each thing has it’s place, and as long as you use it in the correct place, you can’t go wrong.

Artists

I watched a really interesting movie the other day. It was called, Saving Mr. Banks. It’s about the author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers, and the story of how she worked with Disney to make a movie about her books.

Initially, she turned down Disney for years. She knew they would take her books and turn them into some ridiculous cartoon. However, what we see throughout the entire movie is, why she thought they would ruin it.

As the story unfolds we see different people take the characters Pamela wrote, and design them in their own way. At one point in the movie she runs off when she sees their depiction of Mr. Banks. Some would say she’s just being stubborn, because she’s not getting her way. But, if you look closer, you realize there’s more to it.

I called this post “Artists” because it’s about how much artists put into their work. Pamela Travers was so upset when she saw them depict Mr. Banks as a terrible father because she created him based off of her father. According to the movie (Saving Mr. Banks), nearly everything in Mary Poppins (the book) was based off her childhood. The good, and the bad. She poured everything she had learned as a child into that book. This movie (Saving Mr. Banks) wasn’t about how Mary Poppins was made. It was about the story of a woman who held onto her past, and eventually learns to let it go, and not let it control her. It’s not about the art, it’s about the story.

My best friend probably likes my art more than anyone, and I could never figure out why. To me, it’s just art. It’s no different than anything else. I asked her once why she liked it so much, and she said it was because there was a piece of me in each piece I created. And, she was right. Each piece I make is influenced by what’s going on in my life, or something that’s happened before. My art is about me, and the stories I have to tell.

Artists are really more like visual authors. That’s why the best art is the art that tells a story, or has some sort of meaning. Once you have something you’re trying to convey, it just sort of pours out of you. Everyone has their own way of telling their stories. For Pamela Travers, it was writing. For me, it’s art.

What I’ve Been Up To

Before I said I didn’t want to post my art on social media so it wasn’t influenced by other people. However, I want to try and do more commissions, and who’s gonna want a commission if they don’t know what I’m capable of, right? (If you want a commission, hit me up. Also, I’ll be doing a post about it soon with more information.)

Something else I’ve been working on is just not caring about what other people say. Being an artist, and writer, I’ve gotta put my art somewhere. Instead of just avoiding comments I might not like, I want to learn how to just ignore them, and not let them get to me.

So, here’s some art I’ve been working on. (By the way, the two people in the dark are just blank figures. There is no nudity.)

Skills

It was a delightful afternoon. I was sitting there, doing my math, and thinking, “Why couldn’t I have a useful skill?” I mean, not that I don’t like the skills that I do have, but why couldn’t I be good at math, or history, or science, or something that’d actually be useful in life?

My mom likes to joke about how my sister and I are both really good at all the things that are notorious for making people go broke. We’re good at art, music, photography, writing. Basically, if it’s impractical, we got it.

While I was doing my math, I wasn’t exactly annoyed; but I was sitting there wondering what the heck God was thinking when he made me. After the initial, “What the heck?!”, moment I had, I started to think about all things I can do that no one else can.

Through my art, I’ve really been able to reach people, and be raw with them, in a way I’ve never been able to before. I’ve been able to inspire people, and make them laugh, and show them beauty in so many different ways. I’ve been able to tell my story, and multiple others. I see the world differently, and through my art I can show people what I see. I can bring little joys into their lives.

I did a painting once that didn’t exactly turn out how I hoped, but I think it really became what it was supposed to.

It shows me swimming in a tranquil pool of my own thoughts, and creativity (that’s what the colors are). And, for all the sometimes my creativity is the exact opposite of what I need, it’s who I am, and it’s what I’m good at, and it’s what I’ve got to bring to the party. Everyone has their own stuff that they’re good at, and without everyone’s uniqueness, the world would be boring. It would become an unseasoned meal. So much potential to be tasty, but it’s just not there.

So, I decided to embrace my creativity and talents (not that I hadn’t already). I’m really good at what I do, and I’m really thankful for all the things I can do with it.

Poster

I made myself my very own inspirational poster. (See below.)

It’s based off a verse from the song, “Towards the Sun,” by Rihanna. The verse is, “Turn your face towards the sun. Let the shadows fall behind you.”

I’ve been trying to let go of whatever anxiety, or fear, that I’ve been having because usually I don’t know why I’m feeling what I do. So, I try to just block it out, and let it go. The verse from the song, and the painting, remind me to just let it all go. All my fears, all my struggles, are the shadows that fall behind me. And that’s all they are. Just shadows.

Water Lily – For Sale

Here’s the new painting!

  • Price: $10
  • Medium: Acrylic paint on mixed media paper
  • Size: 4 x 6

I’d still like to try to keep this local, so as to avoid shipping hassle, but there’s a first time for everything, right? I’m sure I could figure it out.

If you’re interested in buying it shoot me an email at goofy@derosia.com.

Water Lily

Finally

I’ve seen a lot of foster kids/ families over the last few years. I’ve seen families who’ve been fostering for years, and some who are still knew at it. I’ve seen how much love an entire family can give to one, or many, kids. I love it.

I started drawing something the other day that turned into something a whole lot better. I was trying to draw my best friend and I snuggling, because that’s one of my safe places. Eventually, that drawing turned into a little girl holding onto her foster dad. I was trying to channel the same kind of safety and warmth I get when I’m having a rough day. When I finally get that long hug I need, and everything feels better. It reminded me of one of the foster/ adopted kids I mentioned before.

There’s a lady at my church who fosters kids with special needs. One day she got one little baby who was (and still is) ADORABLE. Everybody loved him. Anytime I saw him I’d go over and try and get a little smile out of him, but I got nothin’. It wasn’t until one family from my church met him that things started to change.

As soon as they met him, this family kinda new they were gonna adopt him. They absolutely loved him. It didn’t take long after he was adopted for some little smiles to pop up here and there.

Now, I don’t know why I could never get a smile out of this kid. It might’ve been because he was so young, it certainly wasn’t because he wasn’t loved at his foster home (I know his foster momma, and she’s got a lot of love to share), but I do know that we change when we know we’re loved. When we have a family who cares about us.

I entitled this post Finally because the story of that little boy, and the story of a lot of other kids, reminds me that when you take the chance to love someone, you change their life. Even if it’s just for a little bit. Sometimes people, not just kids, need someone to go out of their way and finally love them the way they’ve been waiting for.

“Finally” – Sophia DeRosia

The People

Sometimes I wonder how much I’m influenced by, “the people”. I started to notice it with my drawing, but it shows in other areas too.

I really like to watch videos online of people creating art. (Especially hyper realistic stuff.) I see it, and think, “If I wanna be a good, established artist, it has to look exactly like that. My art has to be what the world thinks is ‘good’ if I wanna make it.” So, I try and make something like that. I sit down, start drawing, and do one of two things:

  1. Get frustrated because my drawing isn’t exactly the same (which it never will be because I’m not the artist who made that drawing in the first place)
  2. Branch off into my own creative focus that turns what I started making into something that is completely unique; something based off my thoughts and skills, and is fueled by my passions and inspirations

There is a huge difference between being inspired by something, and conforming to what you think people want. It’s okay to look at a comic strip and think, “Hey, that’s cool. I’m gonna make one of those.” But, it’s not okay to think, “This has to look exactly the same to be called a comic strip.” Because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but no one piece of art really looks the same. They may have similarities, but they’re also filled with flaws, and different, beautiful angles, that make them unique. Kinda like people.

A year ago I would’ve done the exact thing I’m telling you not to do. I wanted to be “good”, so I did what everyone else did. But, then I learned to stop caring. That’s why I stopped posting all my art on social media for a while. I didn’t want critics, or reviews. I knew everyone had their own opinions, and that there was a 50/50 chance I would get positive or negative feedback. So, I painted for me. I painted what I felt, and what I saw, and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. That way, it would truly be my art. And no one else’s.

At Halloween I decided I wanted to paint Starry Night, by Van Gogh. Ya know what happened? It didn’t turn out the same. It was filled with flaws, and imperfections. But I didn’t care. I just kept painting, and it felt great.