“Everything and Bitch” is more than a little bit vague.

July 29, 2009

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For non-Francophones: “Art is my ass.”  By Flickr user Arslan.

So, I’m trying to get this Crit & Bitch thing off the ground, and it’s hard. First, it’s hard to get a large group of people to attend since everyone has different schedules and most of my friends already have one weeknight booked up with Stitch & Bitch. The other difficulty is that in my desire to set up an arts-based community, how on earth are we defining “art” here?

My first instinct, to distinguish the potential C&B from the existing S&B, is “Art. Not craft.” But then… what’s the distinction between art and craft? My own definition would be that craft exists to serve a practical purpose, whereas art is created for its own sake. But then… would a sock monkey which is created by traditional “craft” methods be craft, or art, since its only purpose is to sit around and be a sock monkey? Both?

I certainly don’t want to be exclusionary, but at the same time, my impetus for creating an arts based community is my feeling that S&B and other groups I’ve been involved in don’t serve the arts as well as providing a traditional sort of “Stitching Bee” kind of social network. I want to have a place to have support for slogging through the artistic process, the whole bit, soup to nuts – not just the active work of physical creation.

So where does the line get drawn? A friend asked if she could bring her programming, saying that she views her computer work as a distinct art from – and my impulse is to say “of course,” but this leads me immediately to the traditional “EVERYTHING IS ART!” stance that in this case, provides a sort of conundrum. I suppose this is as good a starting point as any, but does it really help to provide an artistic community with no distinctions as to what actually constitutes an artistic process?

Have I, perhaps, spent too much time in art school?

For the ultimate in melodrama, I will now end with a quote from the noted philosopher DiFranco:

Art is why I get up in the morning, but my definition ends there, I guess it doesn’t seem fair that I’m living for something I can’t even define.

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