Continuation of a "What happened to art?" reddit thread.
I stumbled across this reddit thread yesterday.

[can't in any way at all seem to insert url-links for some reason] thread is at reddit --> r/ArtistLounge --> What happened to art?, by user Relative-Resolve4736

The OP talks about how he doesn't really like 'contemporary' art and prefers 'classical' art as the latter, he argues, presents itself with more skill and depth of content than the former. The replies were generally fairly vitriolic and rude, despite the modest attitude of the OP, as could be expected on that website.

I wanted to give my own take on this topic. I don't actively use on principle so I thought I'd come here to post it.

This post will have two parts: the first, my take on what qualifies and defines art, which relates directly to the reddit post in question; the second, my own relationship with static-pictorial-art, which is derivative to the main question.

This is a long post, I know. I guess don't read it if you don't like long posts.

First part.

To answer "what qualifies as art?" first of all. I would say this: art is anything created that engages the interest of either its creator, or anyone else who happens upon it, beyond any utilitarian quality that creation may have. Let me just explain a bit further about that 'utility' bit: say someone needs to make themselves a tool, like a wheel-barrow; as long as the reason for that wheel-barrow's existence is purely utilitarian, and so long as no-one else ever happens upon that wheel-barrow besides its creator, then that wheel-barrow will never be art. The barrow's creator, solely concerned with its utility, will not see, in that moment, that hour, that day, in which the barrow is created, anything entertaining about the barrow; that barrow will not engage his interest, beyond being a tool with which to get something done, a means to an end. In the moment that I come back from the shops with some bottles of cleaning-product and store them under the sink, in my eyes, the person placing those bottles, there is no art in the positioning of those bottles under the sink, so long as I don't care to arrange them in a 'pretty' way, and only care that they are safely and tidily stored away there, then those bottles do not entertain my nor anyone else's interest beyond a purely utilitarian context. However, from a different perspective, someone else could well find some entertainment in these otherwise purely utilitarian things: someone else without any experience in gardening could come along, see the wheel-barrow at rest leaning against a fence and think to themselves that its shape is rather striking and inspiring—at that moment, the barrow becomes a piece of art—; in the same way, maybe a house-mate comes along, sees the bottles of cleaning-product stored away under the sink, and admires how tidily and efficiently they are arranged under there, and that their arrangement brings to mind for them images of a marching regiment of soldiers or of beautifully symmetrical geometry, which musings entertain them for a moment—those bottles of cleaning-product are now a work of art (in the case that I merely threw those bottles under the sink while standing in the kitchen's door-way, so as to save time, perhaps the messed-up bottles conjure musings of the beauty in chaos and destruction in the house-mate, and thence qualify themselves as art). In reality, it's so difficult to cleanly cut pure utility from artistic expression, as inevitably the latter bleeds into the former, and I challenge any engineer to design or construct something purely for utilitarian purposes and not find themselves at some point in that process of creation admiring something beautiful about what they have created—and in that moment of them admiring their own work that creation is then entertaining the creator's interest outside of a purely utilitarian context and so is performing the function of a work of art, i.e., it is fulfilling the little definition I gave at the start of this paragraph, which I reiterate here: "art is anything created that engages the interest of either its creator or anyone else who happens upon it, beyond any utilitarian quality that creation may have." Regulated competitions, like, I don't know, say... Super Smash Bros., ... , or karuta... or those games people play when they chase a ball around a muddy field, can also be analysed in this way with regard to utility and art; but that is quite a long discussion in itself so I'll leave that one out here; suffice it to say I think one would certainly conclude that art exists in competitions.

So now having "defined" art for myself, let me bring that around to the matter of that reddit thread. 'Gallery-art' is qualified as art, so long as it is entertaining its audience beyond any utilitarian sense. And there can indeed exist a utilitarian context in which 'gallery-art' entertains its audience, both 'classical' and 'contemporary' types. Consider the power and wealth and status both 'classical' and 'contemporary' 'gallery-art' represent: in both cases, only the extremely rich ever get or got to own these admired pieces privately; audiences in galleries know this; and so, indeed, I'm sure, there exists, sometimes, a degree of motivation in an 'ordinary' visitor to any gallery to the effect of "well, perhaps if I can learn about these paintings and immerse myself generally enough in their culture and surrounding society, then perhaps I too can one day be as rich and as powerful as the people who own these paintings..."—this would be a purely utilitarian context in which the paintings are 'engaging the interest of their audience'. But back to the topic. If there is none of that 'utilitarian context', then, yes, 'contemporary' and 'classical' 'gallery-art' are equally qualified as art, as both are, for whatever reason—be it appreciation of skill, or shock-value, or novelty, or historical and cultural interest, or anything at all—engaging the interest of their audiences outside of an utilitarian context.

The elephant-in-the-room here is "is not 'classical' 'gallery-art' 'higher' and 'greater' than 'contemporary'?". That's a question I'm not going to address directly in this post, though I will now say something tangential to that question. Which has more lasting impact, 'classical' or 'contemporary' 'gallery-art'? This question cannot be proven yet, as not enough time has elapsed since the twentieth-century. Take this as you will, but if I had to wager, I would say 'classical' would win-out here, and the next paragraph I hope will explain myself a little in this regard.

Regarding the OP in that reddit thread, I can definitely see where they're coming from, and, personally, I agree with him in-so-far-as I too almost always fail to be impressed by 'contemporary' art displayed in galleries, whereas I will most likely be impressed fairly keenly by something I may see while browsing pictures by the "masters". Yes, it looks to me too that there is just not half-as-much effort nor skill invested in modern 'gallery-art' as in that which preceded it; which effort and skill on its own impresses and amuses someone without knowledge of the medium nor its history, such as myself. Honestly, I think I am right to say that modern 'gallery-artists' are not so much concerned with creating something excellent and fine, but rather are trying to take advantage of their unprecedented access to novelty and 'shock-value' to impress their audience. Artists of yore impressed their audiences, but I think there's a valid argument for saying that they did so more through their skill and effort, and that modern 'gallery-artists' try to do so through by-passing the long route of skill and effort and shocking their audience with a sight that is radically new visually, such as with a collection of coloured squares on a large canvas: people are so used to seeing 'fine art' hung up in galleries that when someone comes along and instead puts up a big canvas with some coloured squares on it, that have clearly taken at least some time to paint, the viewer, bored from centuries of the same style of picture, can't help themselves but exclaim "yeah! that's cool. that's rock-and-roll. that's based."; I think it's pretty much the same effect as when a new buzz-word enters the popular lexicon and slang, like how everyone recently had been saying "fever-dream" a lot, "based" is another popular one right now, words that just kind-of sound cool so they stick for a while, but ultimately don't have any 'depth' of meaning so don't last.

I've defined art as that which entertains outside of an utilitarian context. I think this definition can only really be considered in the 'present moment' and doesn't really have any meaning when considering a question like "the greatest works of art of all time". My definition considers "what is art?" with respect to the present moment only: i.e., right now—forgetting about before and later—is this creation entertaining anyone outside of an utilitarian context? if the answer is yes, then it exists as art, if no, then it does not. "Which is 'greater' art?", though being a question very closely tied to the reddit thread in question, is not something I'll talk about here; it's a very deep topic in itself.

Second part.

Myself, I've never actually been able to enjoy static-pictorial-art very much. As a teenager I remember enjoying browsing pictures by the 'classical' "masters" and by the Pre-Raphaelites, and a few of those pictures, or at least impressions of them, have stuck with me. Static-pictorial-art (sorry for the long term, I just don't know what else to call it in the modern age when our general definition of art has expanded so gloriously to include so many other media) has just never really grabbed me and made me want to dive deeper into it, to learn more about it, to appreciate more its composition and cultural context; or at least, if it did, then there was always some other medium that drew me more strongly, and not having infinite time on my hands, I would always go with whatever was pulling me harder. Similarly, after my teenage years, I've never really wanted to hang any pictures on my wall; I have ASD, so maybe that accounts for it; but I just find the 'repetition' of always having the same picture pass across your vision whenever you glance up a bit annoying, honestly, with the exceptions of computer wallpapers and video-game menu screens, I guess. Say I was "a very wealthy man" and had my own special picture-gallery in my house, with other media that interest me more—games, books, music, film, animation—I just don't think I'd ever want to give time over to going into that gallery to study any of its pictures.

I love good video-games, like the best of Zelda and Mario; I love books and language; I love music; I love good film, animation and short-film. I've already got a lifetime of stuff to enjoy there without static-pictorial-art. Honestly, the question does often come to mind whether in the past static-pictorial-art was so exalted just because a lot of these other media simply didn't exist! Several years ago I was touring Scotland and I stayed at this hostel in the mountains south of Inverness. I met this girl there who was studying fine-art or art-history or something like that. One day we sat down and she showed me some pictures she was studying on her laptop. She explained to me how she was being taught to appreciate a painting, with respect to its perspective and composition and so on. She could talk well about it, but I just couldn't help feeling like she was reciting something she'd been taught, like the passion was missing, like she didn't really care about the art itself but was more concerned with getting the degree for its own sake; reminded me a little of the bland and dispassionate way some tour-guides will conduct themselves with. Nothing really about her, as she was talking, really jumped out at me as saying "I really love this! I'd do this all the time if I could!". And, I don't know, I guess that experience kind-of reinforced my preconception that 'gallery-art' in general is forced and disingenuous in feeling, a lot of the time. 

Having said that, I am in the process of making a YouTube channel myself, and am finding it necessary to learn how to animate a bit, and so, pretty-much automatically because of that, I find myself spending a little longer, when I see a picture in the style I like, studying its shapes and colours and trying to figure out how the artist made it. Ironically also, without artists of static pictures, I have no video-games, and I have no animations, so...

Maybe just to add here that pictures that grab me most strongly (waifus excluded here obviously...) are those that tell a story in their composition: pictures, from any period of history, in which the faces, the blocking of its characters, the scenery, all work together to tell a story to the viewer; generally I find those that have a greater number of characters in them, and which have a greater range of perspective to their scenery (distance between foregrounds and backgrounds), strike me more effectively in this regard also. In short, I guess I prefer generally those that are more "theatrical" or "dramatic" in nature. I remember this picture called "Work" by a Ford Madox Brown:

just google "Work Ford Madox Brown" to see it.

That's it, that's all I wanted to say.
There's a lot of ideas in here, and it's impossible to respond to it all succinctly. Especially because this debate of "what is art?" is pretty huge, and has been ongoing for over a hundred years. To respond to the first part, I think OP's definition of Art is actually so broad that it is no longer very useful. Like he says a purely utilitarian wheelbarrow is not art, unless it's appreciated in a certain arrangement, then it becomes art. I disagree with that. I think art requires composition. It requires intentional arrangement of elements. So someone may appreciate the shape of the wheelbarrow against the setting sun, but that doesn't make the wheelbarrow art. Things that happen to look pretty are not art, otherwise every tree would be a work of art and the word would cease to have meaning. If the admirer of the wheelbarrow were to set down to work on a drawing or painting of that scene, then that composition they create would be the art.

Similarly, bottles thrown under a sink are not really art. An artist may come along and see something in the arrangement of shapes and colors, and compose a work of art that expresses them. Then that composition is art and the bottles remain bottles. They very well might be visually interesting, or even beautiful, but I don't think it makes sense to say that everything that is interesting is now art, unless they were intentionally arranged to be art, like a sculpture.

I will admit a bit of hypocrisy in these statements, due to the fact that pottery is an extremely ancient art. An ancient bowl or pot may have been created for utilitarian purposes alone, but is now exactly the sort of thing you might see in a museum. Could a bottle of windex someday be on a plinth in a museum? I think it could. There was a certain art that went into the creation of every man-made object, which the author of this post mentions. But you can acknowledge that without believing that EVERYTHING that is interesting beyond utility is a work of art. Or maybe we could admit that nearly everything made is art, but not everything is necessarily fine art.

As to whether contemporary art is better or worse than classical art. I think it's worse. But it's not really trying to do the same things. It's like meta art, it's stuff arranged to comment on society, and art itself. It can be interesting. Colored squares on canvas can be somewhat interesting as a comment on how we view art, or sincerely aesthetically pleasing. Or not. Personally I don't really engage with contemporary art much, but I appreciate it more for what it is than I used to. I think I just got bored of getting mad about it. It's kind of a joke, most of the time. But you can ignore jokes you don't find funny.


In response to the second part, If you don't like static-pictorial art that's fine. It's just your preference. It could be that exposure to so many images and videos, video games etc. has kind of desensitized you to a single image, and you have  a hard time finding it engaging enough. I don't think still images are obsolete, or art for the past, though. I enjoy both still paintings and video games. They both offer different things. The advantage of like, a painting hanging on the wall is that it can show something in an 'iconic' way. A single image can sometimes be more powerful than thousands of them, in that it can represent an entire story all at once, and sear into your memory. It can also be a powerful or beautiful arrangement of forms that one enjoys looking at for a long time. I enjoy looking at certain images in museums because I find the arrangement of colors, shapes, and forms beautiful, it is as simple as that. It doesn't have to be for any pretentious reason. You may not find the same images interesting, and might prefer art that reflects your own time period more, and that would make perfect sense. Or maybe you just don't really appreciate art in that way. Some people don't. I like repeatedly looking at the same picture, it becomes familiar. It's like a song that you really like. You won't mind hearing it many times because you enjoy it. If I get bored of a painting hanging up in my house, I can always switch it out with a different one, just like you can put on a different song.

I don't think the Scottish girl was faking interest in fine art. When you study art academically, you have to engage with artworks that you don't necessarily feel that excited about, yet are important to your study. Or maybe she really did passionately like the paintings she was looking at, but just saying something looks nice and you like it is about the most bland and uninteresting take you could have when it comes to writing an art history paper. You have to come up with something more to say about it, and in many cases it can end up coming off as disingenuous. Same with the tour guides. They provide historical context and other information. Whether you like the work is kind of not for them to say. I've definitely encountered museum guides that I think are full of crap, though.

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

For me art can be one of the two intentional or unintensional.

Art is something that stimulates an individual's thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses.

Art is consciousness becoming aware.

Attached Files Image(s)

My Sketchbook

Perfection is unmeasurable therefor it impossible to reach it.

Thanks for that brilliant response! A very keen take, I thought. Regarding your own 'definition' of it, I can't really argue with you nor invalidate it; I fully appreciate your point of view and find it to be very interesting in contrast to my own. Etymologists would agree with you, I think, in that the ancestor word of "art" in Greek meant a "skill", so that there was no sense in ancient times in using that word without it applying to something either being done or made with intention and care.

Yes, you're right, it is the better thing to simply ignore and go away from that which we don't like, rather than furiously rage about its existence.

Yes, I'm sure you're right that I have been 'desensitised' to a degree.

And thanks for the insight into that person I met's perspective also.

I think your analogy with music works well. Unfortunately I find it difficult to even listen to same music-track again in general.

I found the "" site for the first time the other day. I maintain that I would probably still find hanging pictures on my wall (well, there are in fact a couple actually, they are the landlord's that I cannot take down) to be annoying. Though I have to say there were at least a couple of pictures on the homepage of that site that I thought to myself that I could possibly enjoy hanging those pictures on my wall: perhaps it was because they were made in an "animation" style that I'm very familiar with, and so perhaps they carry with them not only their face aesthetic value but also a lot of the history and experience I have with that culture.

To paraphrase you, you say art is born when forms are made with the intention to entertain or engage an audience. Does it follow for you that 'better' art is usually proportional to the skill of the artist? By 'better' here, I mean, I guess, more enjoyable subjectively to yourself and others who have tastes similar to your own. Because I would agree with that in general. Personally, rarely do I find that the works I enjoy the most are made with LESS skill than those I find to be boring.

I think we agree honestly.

Though, myself being in general a little averse to "fart"-humour, etc., that particular piece you shared doesn't do it for me; though, of course, I'm sure others enjoy it.
It's a matter of taste but I think better art is generally done by more skilled artists, with some caveats. For me, anyway, I like to see a high level of skill behind the work. With greater skills comes removed limitations for expression, so it makes sense that artists with great skill make engaging work. It's not always the case, though. A lot of times something that is technically less skillful can be more engaging. I think we like to see ourselves in artwork a lot of the time, and something that is done far beyond our own level of understanding could be less easy to appreciate than something closer to home. That's probably one reason you like some of the cartoon work on deviantart. Not because it's not skilled, but because you have some experience in that style and you can easily appreciate it for what it is. It's probably more relatable than some of the classical paintings you see in museums, and you feel you can know something about the personality that made it.

As a bit of an aside, when I was in school for painting, we did a lot of still life painting. I do like still life, but it's the perfect example of something that undoubtedly takes a lot of artistic skill. Yet isn't always engaging as a work of art, especially if it's a study. There are works of art that definitely took less time and effort that I would enjoy more than a half decent still life by one of my classmates. I think we see that all the time actually. People often hang up little drawings of like, plants, or cats, or like a frog on a bicycle. It's not a Rembrandt, but it's something they think is cute and they like it.

But vice versa I guess I'd rather see a really awesome still life painting than a bad painting of a truly interesting subject. So all this to say that taste is a complex formula of things. It's different proportions of skill, subject matter, personality... lots of factors going into whether you'll like some artwork besides the artist's skill. I don't think it's always proportional, it's messy.


Yes, again, very well put. It's good food for thought...

When I think about what you talked about there in your most recent reply, comparisons come to mind of "quality over quantity"... I think of the contrast between foods which are tasty but whose nutritional value and energy-content is not lasting and those which are more wholesome though probably less attractive in general. 

To expand on your first paragraph there, just as you say that greater technical skill removes boundaries of creative expression, I think it is down to the audience to put in time and study to appreciate a skillful piece, and if they do so they will find there is a great deal of depth and scope for them to appreciate—very much for them to enjoy—in that object, which depth and scope was only able to come to be thanks to the skill of the artist: I spent some time studying Shakespeare—outside of academic 'compulsion'—one time, and found it to be this rich figurative fruit-cake to be enjoyed by the student, which richness obviously was provided by nothing less than the writer's—or possibly writers' (who knows...)—genius. No doubt classical music opens up like an onion to anyone practising and studying that music, and no doubt great static pictorial and sculptural art also.

Your point about the well-made still-lives is good. I'd like to extend what I mean by "the skill of the artist" to apply more comprehensively to their ability to engage the audience: the technical skill they have in creating excellent aesthetic shapes is but one aspect of that ability. Games are the medium I find easiest to draw analogy from at the moment as it's what I'm most engaged with right now. Nintendo craft their games exceptionally well: they're pretty much bug-less, their mechanics all fit together seamlessly, there are little to no rough edges in the graphical-textures of environments, characters and effects. However, it's not their craftmanship alone that sets these games apart from the rest: the craftmanship complements a great depth of character and imagination and innovation in those games also. This union of fun ideas and artistic polish generates great games. Without that imaginative inspiration, their games would not be half as engaging, I think. Let's say, a game that would be all about cleaning your house every day: as the game progresses, every day the house accumulates more and more objects rendering cleaning it more difficult; the house and everything in it is photo-realistic and there are no problems whatsoever with the tools the developer gives the player to operate the game with; I think this would be a dull game, a bit like your example of excellent though unengaging still-lives perhaps. 

To consider further initial engagement against lasting impact: popular music I find is very easy, at least initially, to engage with, and classical is more difficult to access; but I find I can listen to classical music for longer, and that it is more satisfying and rewarding to do so. My favourite popular tracks I can only listen to once or twice, and I won't want to listen to that style of music again for a long while, I'll quickly feel surfeited with it, though it was fun to hear for that brief moment; whereas, though it can be demanding at times, listening to the classical radio station most days doesn't ever seem to get old.

I think a work can be measured in terms of its entertainment value—it's ability to engage an audience—through appreciating both how well it can grab attention of that audience initially and also how well it ages with respect to the depth of engagement it offers that audience. After a spell, we can look back and think which works, overall, were most engaging, therefore. I think most often the works that last will have been made by excellent craftsmen, and the works with immediate appeal less-so; or at least, in most cases, the lasting works will have had more care and work put into them. But I agree with you, the value of a piece, in this sense, is not necessarily directly-proportional to the technical-skill of the artist, as your still-life example illustrated together with my 'cleaning house' game, and works made by less technically-able artists can make up for it in other ways and make a huge impact regardless of how well they've been technically crafted otherwise.

I think there's something to be said here about the relative weights of the different aspects of creative ability. The skill of rendering beautiful images, at least when it comes to animations and games, and even film, is one aspect; but in these media there are many other aspects of creative ability to consider also, like how well the story is crafted, the direction of its actors, the music of course, how well does the director play with and possibly subvert the expectations of the audience through use of dramatic and comedic timing and through clever delivery of information, in games there are all sorts of other aspects to do with the gameplay and its mechanics; all of these are different technical skills. I think they all contribute to a work in these media's worth; so much so, that even if an artist only has a modest amount of skill in all of those aspects, and does not excel in any one of them, if they include so many of those aspects of creative ability into their work, each one having been given a decent amount of care and attention, then I think the work is bound to impress. I'm right to think that static pictorial and sculptural art too is made up of various different aspects of technical skill, right? and that, like for those other media, each aspect can compensate for the other?

I think the vision of the artist is maybe the most important thing, together with their motivation and determination to actualize it: how inspiring and awesome and wonderful is the idea that the artist has concocted in their mind, and how much work are they prepared to undergo to bring it to life? I think if a person is struck with an idea that is so good that it gives them and others they tell it to chills down their spine, a grin to their lips and shimmering tears to their eyes to think about it, then even if they have never even made anything before, with enough hard work and application, and resourceful utility of a range of aspects of artistry, they are bound to bring something very cool into the world from that idea.
Yeah I'm inclined to agree with you on all accounts. An artists skill can definitely include the skill of making engaging work generally, and not just defined as technical abilities. And in that case it only makes sense to say that the most skilled artists will make the best artwork, since we agree that good artwork is defined by being engaging or entertaining. But then that's a bit of a circular definition, I suppose.

There's definitely a lot of aspects to making art that compensate for each other. I think the cleaning-house game is actually a really interesting thing to think about. Because there are games like that. Especially when VR games first came out, there were tons of ____ simulators that have a simple concept like being a chef, barista, clerk, different animals, anything really. These games are initially novel and amusing, but aren't designed to have much depth. You lose interest fairly quickly. It's interesting to think about what would have to be added for a game like that to be not just kinda fun for an hour, but GREAT. I feel like a cleaning your house simulator game could do any of the following things:

-Make a point about the futility of life, or some broader human concept.
-Communicate a deeper story, like maybe you uncover intriguing items when cleaning that let's you piece together something interesting
-If it were actually very fun due to how the levels are designed
-If the graphics were so good as to be actually awe inspiring, or stylized in a very attractive way

Like if the game had any one of these you could forgive it lacking in other areas and it could be considered a very good game, or at the least worth playing. as opposed to just technically solid, but otherwise boring. And I think that demonstrates the same way you can evaluate art. I think maybe I disagree with the second to last paragraph slightly, in that it seems to me that in order for art to be good, it must excel in at least one area. But it doesn't necessarily need to have everything. I don't know that having decent skill in each fundamental area guarantees that the work will be impressive. I think it has to do something exceptionally well. But of course the best art demonstrates a lot of skill in more than one area.


Lol yes then it would be a good game indeed if it had those other things! Perhaps it would fit into the genre that Luigi's Mansion and Resident Evil 1 fit into.

You've made me have to think quite hard about what I meant about lots of different creative-aspects... Let me try to form my words better. I myself notice that today there are some media which are more 'flexible' than others: the examples I can think of are games, YouTube videos, and performance-art. Like, the definition of what a game or YT-vid or performance-art piece is is so very broad. Games can range from first-person multiplayer shooters through to point-and-click interactive books. A YT video can really be made up of any combination of sight and sound that you choose—it can mix CGI, live-action, animation, samples from pre-existing videos—and it will still get aired, in contrast to traditional film and animation in which a work has to meet certain parameters, usually, in order for a producer to agree to show it at places. Performance-art is similarly unbound by parameters, I think. Whereas for example in music, or in static pictorial and sculptural art, relative to those examples, I think there are comparatively less 'branches' of creativity that the artist can utilize inside that medium to actualize their vision: to elaborate briefly and crudely, traditionally music is written without the aid of video, and traditionally static pictorial and sculptural art is made to be unaccompanied by audio. Now say a person does not have any significant amount of talent in any particular aspect of traditional technical artistic skill—they can't paint particularly well, they can't write a tune and they can't express themselves with words—yet, they have a strong vision of something they want to make: I think this person would have a better chance in actualizing their creative vision in one of those more 'flexible' media than in the other types; this is because there is higher chance that while exploring those 'flexible' media they would hit upon some aspect of creative-ability therein which they had not considered before—some 'branch' of creative-ability that simply does not exist in traditional media—which they take to, and which they discover they actually have a certain aptitude for. No, after thinking more about it, you're right: a work cannot be mediocre across the board and still hope to impress, it does need to shine in at least one area. But I think in these 'flexible' media there exists such a variety of different aspects of creative-ability, or such a variety of different skills, that someone who might otherwise look at the traditional media of expression and think they could never make anything of worth therein, might then look at these more 'flexible' media and spy an aspect that they resonate with. It's hard to describe what these aspects of creative ability unique to these 'flexible' media are, I think because they're so new to us. Video meme-artists like Kracc Bacc for example: Kracc Bacc doesn't make any new assets, everything you see in one of his videos is something that is sampled from pre-existing media; Kracc Bacc's talent is in combining and manipulating those samples in such a way so as to create something new which we haven't seen before, which final piece succeeds in delighting us (assuming it resonates with one's personal taste, of course). I think when I said that a work could impress despite not excelling in any particular aspect, what I meant was that an artist like Kracc Bacc can have insignificant ability in all the usual aspects of creativity one would think of, yet they excel in an aspect that is unusual and which society has not spent much time considering nor discussing yet, and so it's hard to define this 'new' aspect of creative ability and so, sometimes, one can't quite put one's finger on exactly what it is about the work that makes it impressive.

And I agree with you that the more aspects of skill an artist excels in the better will be the work.

I'm enjoying this very much by the way, and appreciate the opportunity to discuss these things.

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