The role of an artist is to inform the consciousness of society. To lift up the spirit, to build good character, to support virtuous conduct, and to encourage others to do the right thing even though the right thing is hard.
The other day I was listening to the radio and a Professor of Art from a Tier 1 University was being interviewed. His interview was prompted by the unveiling of the portraits of Barrack and Michele Obama, the 44th President of the United States and the First Lady.
The radio host asked a question of the professor. “What is art?”
The professor answered without hesitation a standard answer that is often heard and true, but doesn’t actually answer the question posed.
“What is art is a very subjective standard,” he said. “If something created appeals to you and you like it, then it’s art. To you.”
While I agree completely with the statement provided by the professor with what we regard as art as individuals, I completely disagree with him regarding a logical objective definition of art.
Art is anything created in life that does not satisfy one of the three basic requirements necessary for survival: food, shelter, and safety.
As I sat down to practice drawing the American bald eagle, I contemplated the question a bit more.
Once, there was a baby eagle who fell out of his nest and was found by a rancher. Not knowing any better, the rancher took the baby eagle home and put him the chicken coop where a chicken adopted him as her own. The baby eagle grew up to believe that he was a chicken – that he couldn’t fly, and he pecked at the ground and made chicken sounds as all of the other chickens.
You Are Not A Chicken
One day, a woman from a veterinary school came to see the Bald Eagle who thought itself a chicken. She took the rancher and the eagle up to a mountain cliff. She let the eagle perch on her arm and held him high. She used her other arm and pointed at the sky. “Eagle! You’re an Eagle – you are king of the sky – and that is your domain above.” The eagle looked at the woman holding him, and then he looked into the sky and saw a flock of eagles riding the wind.
He stretched his wings out, caught the wind underneath his wings, he leaned forward and like a thunderbolt – he took to his domain, commanding the air and rising towards the clouds.
I am beginning to stretch my wings as an artist.
The role of an artist is to inform the consciousness of society. To lift up the spirit, to build good character, to support virtuous conduct, and to encourage others to do the right thing even though the right thing is hard. To do anything else is to act as a chicken – stuck on the ground and pecking rocks.