True art vs Popular art

February is said to be the National Arts Month in the country. This is often commemorated at schools or at certain baranggays that enshrine the value of the arts. This is commonly treated less than the most awaited ones given that it’s just what is ordinarily called “art,” pictured out by most as the simplest strokes in painting or the handmade crafts. But more or less, it just involves the visual art, and it has nothing to do with the mundane and practical lives of people. Nevertheless, it’s in the curriculum or calendar of activities.

But let’s look into “art” itself that basically trickled down to such celebration, being the way to nurture and espouse culture. It is defined as the “skill acquired by experience, study, or observation” and “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). I can simplify put that it is somewhat a way to color things in a visual manner, which can be learned in any way possible.

Art to me has always been a pattern to live by. Though I could actually distinguish which blue is darker or lighter than the rest, or which color term is appropriate for a certain color (Periwinkle, Chartreuse, Navy, Indigo), I still couldn’t seem to get a grasp of what it really is. I could appreciate art in different forms. I have always loved the costumes during certain international competitions. I have always gotten excited about dance and music. I have always loved how cloths flow. But I couldn’t draw, and to me, that is one thing to gauge art being in oneself. Perhaps, I just consider myself an audience or simply a pretender in the knowledge of the arts since the time I took up my humanities class. The performing arts subject remained to be my passion. But I never really owned some art in me.

But this didn’t stay that long until I began photography. I began to feel art and not simply think it. I sometimes get surprised at how I figure out how to position people on my own. And I realized, arts doesn’t need to be logical or reasonable. It even just flows out of you without control. And definitely one has that art in himself or herself.

To Eckhart Tolle “all true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” It just comes about without strict or utter regard to certain rules. So with this definition, art doesn’t just involve the visual. It also includes the musicians, performing artists, designers of all sorts, flower arrangers, photographers, make-up artists, and so the list goes on.

Now the question would be on the validity of art-ship. Can we actually call anybody an artist just because he or she paints? Can we possibly call an advertisement a form of art? Can we possibly consider a very popular singer an artist just because of how the song massively became mainstreamed? Can showbiz acting be necessarily considered an art? What is the boundary then of art? How about independent films and independent bands, will this be considered wholly as art without the branding of commercialism?

In layman’s term, artists are weirdos. They exemplify eccentric. So, does this mean anybody acting peculiar is immediately an artist? Others would say that designers are deviants, and so, anybody who would wear out-of-the-ordinary clothes is simply considered an artist?

There are varied stereotypes of artists and art itself. It doesn’t end just there. But one thing is definitely sure, and that is people who couldn’t grapple art put it aside and dismiss it as mere production of senseless ramification of colors and paintings.

But what is really art, and what does it take to be an artist? Honestly, there are no set rules for the definition. The Merriam Webster Dictionary said it right that it is to be learned, seen, heard, touched, or felt. It is a conscious activity of expression. This is rather experienced before being done at one’s own will. To Tolle, it is what is truly within, nothing with what the mind can take controlof, and this just flows out in any form possible.

Art is within. It is less felt and just simply understated as just the mere strokes in painting. It’s human’s expression of the abstract and the less understood and felt. It is rather our way of translating what is not often understood by reason. Whatever the stereotype is, art is still art once that particular emotion is let out and put on something sensed, regardless of popularity or commodification, since economy is just the process of collective agreement and demand and nothing with what the product is essentially about.

The Mona Lisa has become one of the interesting discussions in art and even in social arenas. Just like this masterpiece, art will remain in discussions and even in controversies.  But it will always be the sincerest and most essential of the artist’s emotions and stillness within.

And so, during my basic photography class, after several attempts of coming up with popularly aesthetic photos, I was able to capture one that just spoke so much of what was within me. I was rushing through the deadline of submission, and I was able to come up with a black and white (my opted specialty in photography) image. And the moment I got and felt it, I just stopped. And from that time on, I have started owning my own art. It’s not just photography. It could be any form as desired. Again, it is what is within and just flows out.


Photo Credit: Featured photo –


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