Art vs. Craft: Deathmatch

Art vs. Craft: Deathmatch
Dustin Fisher

Having gotten my undergrad in film, I had to endure a few art classes along the way and became very cynical about what actually constituted being “art.” We joked that if it was big, red and we didn’t understand it, that it was definitely art. Then we came to the conclusion that if the creator of something called it art, it was art. Joking aside, that seems like the only qualifier for whether or not something should be considered art.

As far as the difference between art and craft, one is a skill and one is the result of a skill. It seems to be the two can be mutually exclusive. For example, resoling shoes is a craft. The completed product, more often than not, will not necessarily be considered art. But it can be, if the creator determined that it was art. Same with painting nails. Whereas standing a car on its rear bumper in the middle of a field with the phrase “Nature’s Scarecrow” on it is not a craft, but could be art. However, crashing your car in a field is neither.

Also, a lot of people use the word art in a confusing manner to mean “skill.” As in “there’s an art to it” when referring to fastening a sole to an old derby, plating seven shrimp or blitzing a quarterback from the slot cornerback position. This use of the word blurs the line between art and craft and if we accept it as a definition of the word, then separating the two is a chore that can’t necessarily be summed up in a four minute youtube video. Or a 300-word blog post.

1 comment
  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! You make great points here, particularly with regard to the shiftiness or fuzziness of language, and how that can cause blur between different types of work. And I agree, it’s an argument that requires for more thought and space than any that we’ve given it.

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