In a lot of my posts I talk about doing your research. As hard as it might be for people to believe, art is more than simply being able to create art. There is a lot more involved in it.
Most of the time I am talking about doing research to find galleries and know your audience, but there is another side to it the creation side of art. There is a process in making art, that process is not something that we just know, it is something that comes through learning our craft. But what makes our art great is the conceptual aspect. A beautiful painting is just that, but a beautiful painting that has meaning is more than words can express.
From the beginning of the Renaissance movement artists learned many areas about life, science, nature, and the universe before applying all their time to studying art. Even than most of the highest regarded artists continued to explore different aspects of life. Leonardo was more than a painter; he was also an inventor and did studies of life through scientific approaches.
He was not the only one, like himself the artists of that time, wanted to bring art to the next level, beyond what it was considered at the early periods as just a craft or skilled labor. They succeeded, not only in bringing art to the next level, but also establishing what would become the standard for art for some time.
During the enlightenment, we saw another great shift in art. Where the artists were able to not only create art, but were able to seek their own markets for their works. This came about with the introduction of the art market, but also with the academies of art in Europe, which were some of the first universities in the world.
Again in the 1800’s art took another turn with the introduction of the industrial arts. Once again artists would challenge what we know about art and how we view it.
The one thing that all the great artists from that early time to the late 1900’s great artists all had one thing in common. They were more than mere makers of the craft; they were scholars to a level. They wrote, taught, studied, examined, and conversed in the language of art, and life. Without such determination we would not have such movements as Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, Impressionism.
It is important that artists not only have the skill sets of creating art, but also have the ability to understand what they are making, how to write and discuss their ideas to the world. As time goes on the world is moving and growing, it is that growth that also moves art. The introduction of new materials gives artists new ideas and methods to explore, the ever-changing history of our world gives artists questions to pose.
But how can we pose those questions or explore new materials without understanding what it is we are trying to say? There are those that will not agree with what I am saying, they will say that art need not be so complicated, but greatness is not achieved in a bottle, it is through exploration. As a race, humans have constantly shown our need to feed that desire to look beyond the world in front of us and reach to the stars. Great art is made by those willing to not only explore the world, but also question it.