How do you decide – What is Good Art?

What makes good art?

Stand on any corner and ask those that pass by what good art is and you will find that good art is different things to different people. Why is that? What makes one person like a given piece of art and another not even give it a glance?

First let’s look at the definitions given by what is known as the “professional art world,” that is the museum curators, art critics and a few gallery owners. 

  • Some say: ‘that if four or five critics write about it, or collectors are passionate about it, then patronize it and auction houses auction it, then by consensus it becomes good art.’
  • Still others say ‘when art becomes unique in concept’, or ‘shows clear intention’
  • Another might add ‘it has its own logic.’
  • Artist Dan Nelson would explain that visual art draws because of the “interesting marks” made by the artist.

We have been conditioned to be careful how our view of art  is expressed if those pieces make us ask; “Is this really art?” After all, we are led to believe that interpretation of a given piece of artwork lies with the artist. So when we don’t understand the art, then we are supposed to accept that we are uninformed.

Should that really  be the case? Or should it be more a case of how a given piece of art affects us personally?

 Now we get to the root of the question; that of personal motivation. I can tell you as an artist, many artists all feel their art is “good art,” no matter how poorly others may think or feel the artist has done.

Yet that still does not explain what draws us as individuals to a piece of art, whether that art be paintings, sculpture or music.

Is it good or bad art really depends on how a given piece of artwork, whether that be a sculpture, a painting, a motion picture, or a painting affects us at the personal level. Which leads us to the question: How we define good art as an individual?

How to decide – What good art is to you as a person.

In order to define good art as a person we have to exercise some curiosity. We can decide whether we want or like a piece of art, by asking ourselves a few personal questions:

  • What is the artist trying to say?
  • What emotions does the piece invoke in me?
  • What memories does the art rekindle?
  • Are they good memories or bad?
  • Do I want those memories, and emotions brought to the fore on a regular basis by seeing the art every day?

Above all remember – defining Good Art is subjective. We will never get a consensus of all artists and art collectors to agree on every form or piece of art out there. We can however decide for ourselves whose and what kind of art we collect.

The next time you’re looking at a piece of art use the questions above decide for yourself whether that is good art.

  • If the work of art fails the quick test listed above, go ahead and walk away, leaving it for someone else.
  • If the work of art passes the quick test listed above to you, go ahead and buy it!

Here is to your new journey on discovering your own version of finding good art!