i'm intrigued by the discussion about what our art expresses, but some of us don't feel we are artists.  i'm curious about other's definitions of art.  maybe i would find out i am one??
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is an artist simply a conduit for the creative energy provided us by the universe?  if so then maybe all humans are artists..
dr. whack, i like your thinking.  i remember billy higgins saying "we aren't up here playing, we're being played", as if he were channeling this music from elsewhere... the universe.  his ego was completely out of it, allowing the music to come through.  
art is creative expression.

i also like picasso's definition, something along the lines of "art is a lie that shows us the truth."

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art is the guy's name who drives the garbage truck in my neighborhood.
well i guess if you use a name like dr. whack, you're gonna get responses like that :)

thanks cynbad.  i like those quotes.  i saw dexter gordon live once and he held his sax up after the performance as if to thank "whatever" for the performance.  kenny werner said something like "you have to yield to what wants to happen". of course we have to learn and practice so we can execute what wants to happen.  the preparation obviously develops our ability but it also boosts our confidence (and i don't mean ego) so we can relax, let what wants to happen, happen.

ironically, the guy that drives the garbage trunk in my neighborhood is named "jazz"
i hope i didn't offend you dr. whack. honestly i think art is summed up the best by tolstoy. his interpretation for me really struck to the heart of the issue. i am quite confident that you, mike, cynbad, 7 et al are indeed artists and are deserving of that title. it all revolves around concepts like aesthetics and communication. it is life distilled and the intercourse that is resolved from that distillation. i hope that my point is well understood as being my own opinion and that alone.

that has certainly been my experience regarding alcohol and sex.
that is so funny..   i on the other hand do not know the name of my garbage man.
for me art is a way of immortalizing things that i create.
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"art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. it encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature. the meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.

the definition and evaluation of art has become especially problematic since the early 20th century. richard wollheim distinguishes three approaches: the realist, whereby aesthetic quality is an absolute value independent of any human view; the objectivist, whereby it is also an absolute value, but is dependent on general human experience; and the relativist position, whereby it is not an absolute value, but depends on, and varies with, the human experience of different humans.[1] an object may be characterized by the intentions, or lack thereof, of its creator, regardless of its apparent purpose. a cup, which ostensibly can be used as a container, may be considered art if intended solely as an ornament, while a painting may be deemed craft if mass-produced.

traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. this conception changed during the romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".[2] generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions.

the nature of art has been described by richard wollheim as "one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture".[3] it has been defined as a vehicle for the expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a means for exploring and appreciating formal elements for their own sake, and as mimesis or representation.[4] leo tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate from one person to another.[4] benedetto croce and r.g. collingwood advanced the idealist view that art expresses emotions, and that the work of art therefore essentially exists in the mind of the creator.[5][6] the theory of art as form has its roots in the philosophy of immanuel kant, and was developed in the early twentieth century by roger fry and clive bell.[4] art as mimesis or representation has deep roots in the philosophy of aristotle.[4]"
more from wiki:

definition of the term
the most common usage of the word "art," which rose to prominence after 1750, is understood to denote skill used to produce an aesthetic result.[7] britannica online defines it as "the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others."[8] by any of these definitions of the word, artistic works have existed for almost as long as humankind: from early pre-historic art to contemporary art; however, some theories restrict the concept to modern western societies.[9] much has been written about the concept of "art".[10] where adorno said in 1970 "it is now taken for granted that nothing which concerns art can be taken for granted any more[...],"[11],[12] the first and broadest sense of art is the one that has remained closest to the older latin meaning, which roughly translates to "skill" or "craft," and also from an indo-european root meaning "arrangement" or "to arrange". in this sense, art is whatever is described as having undergone a deliberate process of arrangement by an agent. a few examples where this meaning proves very broad include artifact, artificial, artifice, artillery, medical arts, and military arts. however, there are many other colloquial uses of the word, all with some relation to its etymology.

the second and more recent sense of the word art is as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art. fine art means that a skill is being used to express the artistís creativity, or to engage the audienceís aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the finer things. often, if the skill is being used in a common or practical way, people will consider it a craft instead of art. likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way, it will be considered commercial art instead of fine art. on the other hand, crafts and design are sometimes considered applied art. some art followers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with value judgments made about the art than any clear definitional difference.[13] however, even fine art often has goals beyond pure creativity and self-expression. the purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically-, spiritually-, or philosophically-motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. the purpose may also be seemingly nonexistent.

painting by song dynasty artist ma lin, c. 1250. 24,8 ◊ 25,2 cm.art can describe several things: a study of creative skill, a process of using the creative skill, a product of the creative skill, or the audienceís experience with the creative skill. the creative arts (art as discipline) are a collection of disciplines (arts) that produce artworks (art as objects) that are compelled by a personal drive (art as activity) and echo or reflect a message, mood, or symbolism for the viewer to interpret (art as experience). artworks can be defined by purposeful, creative interpretations of limitless concepts or ideas in order to communicate something to another person. artworks can be explicitly made for this purpose or interpreted based on images or objects. art is something that stimulates an individual's thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. it is also an expression of an idea and it can take many different forms and serve many different purposes. although the application of scientific theories to derive a new scientific theory involves skill and results in the "creation" of something new, this represents science only and is not categorized as art.
wow - all those words to define a three letter word!

wdennissorrell, you most definitely did not offend me in any way.  in fact you went on to pay me and others a great compliment.  

i have a cousin who summed it up for me.  he is a concrete finisher - the guy that makes concrete look pretty after its poured.  i was commenting on how amazed i am by what he does and he said: "awh...it's easy once you know how to do it"

if art is the search for beauty as some have defined it, then will we always be searching?
louis armstrong's famous answer to "what is jazz" sums up "what is art" pretty good as well.
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