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What Is the True Complexity of Art?

Introduction

Many people assume that art is as simple as throwing paint on a canvas, and that assumption made me wonder “Is art truly that simple?”. In any art class I have ever taken there are many terms you must learn to develop a firm understanding of the basics before actually painting. Terms such as hue, intensity, vanishing point, horizon line, etc. In the end are these terms necessary or just an obstacle to artistic endeavors? After delving into the subject I discovered that the questions are deceptively simple, and both have a variety of answers depending on what angle you look at them from.

How Simple Is It?

To answer the first question “Is art truly that simple?”, let me start by saying that the complexity of a work of art depends on ones personal views of the world around them, which affects what to them constitutes art, and that view determines the afore mentioned complexity, or lack there of. I personally believe art is as simple as throwing some paint on a canvas or lines on a page, because art is an innate ability everyone posses allowing them to start expressing themselves as children. As they age their arts complexity will develop along with their mental complexity, and will require more expertise to complete. From the artists perspective their art remains the same simple form of self expression it was in childhood. In other words regardless of the level of complexity and skill required art still is and will remain an innate human ability of self expression, plain and simple.

The Necessity of Art Terms

After much deliberation on the necessity of art terms I realized the answer depends entirely upon the circumstances. They are an indispensable asset because art as with any technical field requires terms in order to explain the intricacies of said field in an understandable manner. For instance, when teaching students the technique for shading a sphere it is essential to explain it by using skill specific terms so they do not become confused. This technique seems very complicated at first, however once it is broken down into its constituent parts of cast shadow, terminator, highlight, mid tone, shadow, reflected light, and core shadow, it is still complex but not as daunting a task as it first appeared. This also demonstrates how the complexity of a work justifies the necessity of these terms. In Regards to a child’s art no terms are required due to its simplicity, but as they develop, and their work becomes more complicated it reaches a point where they become necessary. On the other hand these terms are unnecessary for an experienced artist because they know what to do by instinct developed from repetition and countless hours of practice, and repetition. They can even become an obstacle to their artistic endeavors when they are putting their skills to practical use on a commission for a paying client.

In Conclusion

In the end there is no definite answer regarding the complexity of art as it depends on ones personal preference, and views of the world in which we live. Nor is there a definite answer to whether or not art terms are necessary. These topics are so vast I could discuss them forever and still not find an answer. When all is said and done only you can decide.

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