What is not Art

What is not Art? | Defining Art


Why not share this post!

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    What is not Art?

    What is not art? That is the question that we will be exploring in this post. The answer may surprise you! There are many things that we see every day that people might consider to be art, but might not actually be art. We will be looking at some examples and discussing why they are or are not art. Stay tuned to find out more!


    Do you know when something is art or not art? The definition of art is not something that is beautiful, but something you find to be beautiful. For example, many people consider nature art, but others consider only painting to be art. In addition to photography, ceramics, tapestry, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, and yes, even music, dance, and literature are considered to be forms of art.

    Expressing your technical or imaginative skill through creative activity is called art or fine arts. Art is a diverse range of self expression activities that create visuals, speak the author’s innovative mind, and perform artifacts in the art world. The art product is called a work of art for others to aesthetic experience.

    Art has been a subject of debate for centuries. A well-known Greek philosopher, Plato, once said that art is just a reflection of the real world.

    As we have to start somewhere, let’s aim for an understanding that respects the diversity of global thought, even if his perspectives are widely disputed.

    What is considered art and what is not?

    Everything that is not based on the extension of our visual language is NOT considered Art. In the art world, we are surrounded by a constant stream of new information that is gathered and processed, defined, and redefined.

    According to Zoe Williams, those who criticize conceptual art do so on the basis of craft. Therefore, anything that does not require painterly or sculptural skill is not art because anyone can make it.

    Who decides what art depends on the artist. Anything that an artist says is art must be considered art. This is because art is anything an artist says is art, and an artist is anyone who declares himself to be an artist. Regardless of how many critics and collectors in the world call something art, if there isn’t an artist to agree with them, the opinion is pointless.

    In my opinion, a much better question would be where to draw the line between good and bad art? That’s where we get into the nitty gritty.

    In fact, aesthetics covers a lot of key questions in the “art vs. design” debate:

    • Does it make sense to separate an aesthetic judgment from a practical one?”
    • “What criteria do we use to decide between utility and beauty?”
    • “How do time, culture, and life experience affect the foundational beliefs we use to make aesthetic judgments?”

    Common Art Forms

    Painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photography, and installation are among the diverse media that fall under art forms.

    Abstract, representational, and non-representational art

    A painting, sculpture, or other artform can be placed into three categories: representational, abstract, and nonrepresentational. A representational work of art is a painting or sculpture that clearly illustrates something real. These are generally artworks that have a strong visual connection with the world around them.

    Abstract art is mostly based on real-world imagery. Nonrepresentational abstract art is the most “extreme” form of abstract art 

    • Figurative art, also known as representational art, is a kind of art that depicts objects and events seen in the real world, usually in a way that is easily recognizable. A painting of a cat for instance, quite clearly depicts a cat – it is quite obvious what the artist intends to convey.
    • In the nineteenth century, as the approach to portraying the real world became less relevant, the influence of Romanticism, Impressionism, and Expressionism led to abstract art becoming more accessible. This is because artists became less concerned with portraying things exactly as they were. In the world of abstract art, there are several types of art that exist, ranging from somewhat representational works to those that can be so removed from their actual real-life appearance that it is nearly impossible to tell if they are abstract paintings or not. There is always an element of visual connection between abstract art and something from the real world.
    • Non-representational work refers to art that does not represent anything from the real world (like figures, landscapes, animals, etc.). Art that is non-representational may simply represent shapes, colors, lines, and so on, but it is also capable of expressing things that are not visible- emotions or feelings for example.

    Figurative or representational art from the 17th century depicts easily recognizable objects-ships, people, and buildings. In the nineteenth century, however, artistic independence was advanced, which led to abstract art. Romanticism, Impressionism, and Expressionism all played a part in developing these.

    Images in abstract art tend to depart from reality. Basically, abstract art consists of compositions with elements derived (or abstracted) from figurative or other natural sources. This term is also used to describe nonrepresentational (non-objective) art that doesn’t reference anything. 

    Picasso is one of the most well-known artists in the world today who used abstraction in many of his paintings and sculptures: his figures are often simplified, distorted, exaggerated, or geometric in nature.

    What are things that are not art?

    Work that doesn’t portray real life events is referred to as non-representational. Non-representational art can depict just shapes, colors, lines, etc., and may express something which cannot yet be seen.

    Here is a list of things that, in and of themselves, are not art:

    • Anything that must be “contextualized” to be art. A work of art is not art unless displayed in an art museum. The context does all the work; whatever the piece is, it plays no role in anything. The shovel does not become art by leaning against a museum wall or a shed. All art is art, no matter where it is displayed. Hanging a Van Gogh in a men’s room would still be art, and it would probably improve the “context” as well.
    • Usually, art is a concept or idea in people’s minds. Ideas and concepts only exist in people’s minds for a short period of time. An X cannot be considered a work of art just because you have a creative idea “behind” it: it is your idea. X would remain the same if you died without telling anyone your idea, but the art would be lost. There are better ways to turn your ideas into art. Instead of creating X, try to write down your idea and publish it.
    • There are a lot of things you have to argue about to prove that it’s original. The argument I’m talking about isn’t with art critics. I’m talking about a reasonable person who hasn’t been inducted into the “art world.” If Mr. Z takes a picture of something and displays it as artwork, and I come along and take a picture of Mr. Z’s artwork and display it as my own, a reasonable person would say, “He just copied my picture.” If I can’t persuade a reasonable person within a few sentences that what I’ve made is art on its own, it can’t be art. I could reply whatever I liked, but if I can’t convince him in a few sentences, then it can’t be art.
    •  Those things that are only art because they’re about other art. It’s tricky; maybe some of these things are art. However, they would have to be really, really amazing. We have so much beauty in the world to capture. Why would an artist spend so much time capturing the same thing again? By making it an aristocracy, we make art into a privileged club, where only people who have studied it can talk about it and “understand” it. Art is meant for anyone, not just the privileged few. That’s why an artwork should stand on its own.

    What are the “Classification standards” for art

    How do you define art? For millennia, people have preoccupied themselves with defining art and judging its quality. Wikipedia further elaborates and tells us art is the “process or product of arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions.”

    This raises the question of what constitutes objective criteria for defining art. What’s art? Is it a process or a product? What’s the connection between beauty and art? What does art even mean? Should it be appreciated or enjoyed? Is there more to it than just appreciation?

    The British philosopher Richard Wollheim defined art relative to three approaches: the Realist approach, which defines aesthetic qualities as absolute, independent of human interpretation; the Objectivist approach, which defines aesthetic qualities as absolute, but dependent on human interpretation; and a Relativist position, which says art is not absolute but integrated with human experience.

    Among the many different kinds of art, there are three main types: decorative, commercial, and fine. The broader definition of “the arts” covers anything from painting, architecture, and theater to music.

    Art History | Art World

    An art history student will acquire an understanding of the theory and practice of artistic reception and production. Art history analyzes works of art in the context of broader social, political, and intellectual cultures among human beings.

    Who are Art Historians, and what do they do?

    In addition to analyzing visual arts and their artistic value’ (paintings, sculptures, architecture) at their creative process(creation), one of the responsibilities of art critics is to locate the authorial origins of artworks, which means determining, for instance, who created a particular work or beautiful art, its aesthetic value, when, and for what reason the work was done.

    Who is an “Art Critic”?

    The term ‘art critic’ refers to a specialist analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. They write critiques or reviews published in newspapers, magazines, books, exhibition brochures, catalogs, and online.

    What is making art, or why do we create art?

    People can express themselves through art and learn a variety of skills by making art. While studying art,  students make art; they explore the materials and techniques used by artists and the process of decision-making they have used in centuries past.

    The world of art is full of people saying things like: “I don’t understand why this is art.”. People who don’t “understand” often say: “That’s not art!”. In my opinion, this bold claim has popped up in many forms throughout the last several centuries… perhaps even longer. 

    I’ve made the ‘this is not art’ statement a few times, and I’m sure many of you have too. Saying that, I know the statement has been around a lot longer than me. We learn in basic art history books that some of the Old Masters argued over what art could be.

    More recently, the Impressionists were at the forefront, paving the way for other artists. The phrase ‘this is not art’ persists.

    We all define art differently. For me, art is anything made with art in mind. I believe the intention of creating art should be evident during the creation process. So, if it wasn’t created as art, then it’s not art. I’m sure some readers will agree with me, but others will disagree.

    There are so many arguments that get recycled every year, decade after decade, century after century… and they’ll keep coming.

    What’s the big deal?

    Why is it so important to define what art can and should be? Is it a lack of understanding? Is it deeper than that? That’s NOT art… they’re forever.

    Creativity and its nature

    During a conversation with a fellow alumnus of the University of Kansas’ School of Fine Arts, I compared our understanding and appreciation of art, both as creators and followers. Then we debated the difference between art and not art. While I enjoyed this chat a lot, I noticed we were diametrically opposed in accepting art and how we tried to create.

    I recognized some opinions as a result of his education as a KU art student. However, I shook my head in disbelief at the artistic jargon he embraced with such fervor. As a result of the conversation, I reexamined what I believe about art and wondered what creativity is. It’s just a way to pose questions and offer opinions-not to provide answers.

    Is art useful or not?

    There is no such thing as a (Bad art) useless work, for art is always pleasurable, intriguing, unsettling, entertaining, delightful, disturbing, amusing, and amusing. By describing their purpose, useful things can be explained and understood. However, unless art has a clear purpose and cultural expression, defining art is never an easy task.

    What is your opinion about this?

    The only thing I have done is asked questions and provided opinions, as I promised. Despite the many questions raised about what is art and what is not, no clear answers have yet been obtained. How many times have you seen a painting or sculpture and exclaimed, “That’s not art!”, If so, why do you feel that way?

    What made you decide what someone considered is not art? Was it ugly? I’m curious to know if this sample evoked negative emotions for you? Did defining art seem a bit amateurish to you?

    Art Is My Life and My Life Is Art

    We are all capable of turning any life into an adventure! The key lies in creativity and imagination. We need these qualities more than ever before because our experiences can be mundane or extraordinary, but it doesn’t matter as long they push us forward each day with something new created from ourselves.

    Fine Art Definition

    Fine art is often considered to be a form of visual expression that has been historically confined True art is often considered to be a form of visual expression that has been historically confined by European cultures. The term “fine” relates not only meaningfully, but also indicates excellence and high standards in comparison with other types or movements within the field such as applied arts like metalwork and pottery.

    The best way to describe fine art is like music. It’s not just about how many notes you can play, but also when and where they are played so that your audience will feel something special in response – whether joyousfulness or sadness
    -This makes for a more emotional connection between listener/viewer AND artist.

    Everything in life is art

    Think about life as an artwork. Life is full of creativity, expression and imagination! You need self- discipline to think critically in order for your work be appreciated when you create something with passion – whether that’s painting or cooking; gardening/folding clothes etc., The life of an artist is one filled with creativity, expression and imagination. It requires self- discipline to think critically in order for their work be appreciated by others.

    Why Art Is Important to Society?

    The arts have been with us for centuries. They inspire, comfort and teach lessons about life in different ways that no one can fully understand without experiencing it themselves firsthand! Art impacts how we see the world around us while simultaneously shaping who you are as an individual by giving your personality traits shape through creative expression -whether this means writing poetry or painting landscapes; there is always something rewarding when creating art. The benefits associated with artwork extend beyond just personal growth.

    Why we love arts and crafts?


    Why we love arts and crafts? We love arts and crafts beacause they are enjoyed by people of all ages. For kids, crafts can be a fun and creative way to spend an afternoon. For adults crafting can be a relaxing hobby or a chance to express their creativity. Arts and crafts can also be used to DIY projects around the house or to create decor for your home.

    Arts can be as simple as painting a picture or as complicated as building a piece of furniture. No matter what your skill level, there is an arts and craft project that is perfect for you. So why not try your hand at arts and crafts today? You might just find that you have a hidden talent for artful creation!

    What is not Art Conclusion

    We all use art in some way or another, whether it be for personal enjoyment or to make our lives more interesting. At its core, art is an expression of creativity and emotion that can inspire us on a daily basis. Although the idea may seem simple at first glance, there are many layers to this concept which we’ve covered here today.

    If you like this article about What is not Art and would like to know more, please comment below.

    Like and Share!

    Share this post

    CraftyThinking Logo
    Sarah Thomas - Co-Creator of CraftyThinking

    Hi, I'm Sarah!

    CraftyThinking is all about striving to inspire creativity in children by allowing them to explore their creative side through art and crafts.

    We are about helping parents give their children an outlet to explore their creativity without worrying about the mess or time commitment!

    Recent Posts

    Share this post

    Fun Family Crafts
    Fun Family Crafts
    Be the First to Know!

    Get weekly updates about our latest crafts, educational resources and much more.

    How To Draw

    Get Your Free Drawing Book!

    Sign up and get your free Farm Animal Book