I found the Nail Art video interesting and annoying. Interesting because I didn’t know nail art was such a thing beyond what I’ve seen on Pinterest and annoying because I want to dismiss it as craft and move on with my life, but I don’t think I can.
The question of “defining” art always bothers me. Because it’s fluid, it’s based on individual taste, artist intent, and context. But I don’t think “anything” can be art. I liked when the video mentioned the definition (as defined by a famous person I can’t remember) as being larger than the sum of its parts. I think that definition still has holes–who’s doing the weighing of the final product–but it’s getting at something that’s hard to put into words: something has to change. A perspective has to change, an image has to change, maybe just the artist has to change, but something is different. Something new is created in its truest sense or created in the absence of something else.
I think we’re often obsessed with classifying things and making things measurable in some way because we’re lazy. We don’t want to have to look at something new each day and ask is this art? What makes it art? We want to say, okay, paintings–art; drawings–art, nail polish–weird and a waste of money, sculpture–art. But really, I just don’t think it’s that simple, and I don’t mean that as a cop out. I mean it seriously.
I think we have to approach each situation or object with a questioning mind, a critical eye, and objectivity, and only then can we decide if something is craft or art or busy work for elementary school students. And at the same time, the person next to us could be voting the other way. and I think that’s okay.
As far as this nail art business, I think it’s weird. And I can’t imagine getting through a day without totally messing one up, but I think there’s a good bit of skill there that I have to respect. I’m not ready to call it art, because I don’t really get the intent of it, but I’m not willing to totally dismiss it either. I guess I’ll have to settle for calling it “craft, and if ever I meet a nail artist, I’ll ask them questions about their motives and meanings and be able to judge for myself more appropriately.