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Art vs Design

Wednesday 12th November 2014

Many designers have often railed against the perception that their work is not art. A quick tour of the prominent sites around the net will reveal a number of bitter back and forth rivalries, and probably an equal number of admittedly more silent spectators who don't seem troubled one way or the other. It really all comes down to what your individual perception of art really is, a topic that has plagued and entertained the art world since the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, when modern art was finally coming into its own.

Is art simply something beautiful? Something well-executed? If so, then any number of designs could be considered art. But if your perception of art is based on the emotions an object generates in you, then the entire world could be considered art, if seen in the right way. Often, the argument is made that intent to provoke emotion or thought is the metric by which an object's 'art-ness' could be judged. But what happens when that intent is then overridden by a larger goal? Say you're looking at a film clip that generates powerful emotions in you. It's beautiful, incredibly well executed, and entertaining to no end - but at the very last few frames, it turns out the entire thing is an advertisement intended to make you associate those images and emotions with a particular brand. Does it then lose all of its artistic appeal? Is it design, simply by being designed?

Part of the problem with these kinds of issues is basic semantics - when we say 'design', what exactly do we mean? There are a number of possibilities. Even artists may have an ulterior motive when it comes to the creation of their artwork, as they hope to create pieces that will sell, and increase their fame and ensure they have food on the table. Is that really so different from a brand? Conceptually, maybe, but the end result is still the same - the desire for money to change hands.

Perhaps we could approach the problem from an entirely different perspective, and say that art is anything that is produced for the sheer pleasure of the person who creates it, no matter what it is. Art is an expression of internal emotion, a way of explaining the way we see the world to others - and no matter what form it takes, it will add a little bit more beauty to the world.

Posted on November 12th 2014 on 07:37pm
Labels: art, design

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