Philosophy of Art: Written Forms as Art
Whether writing is an art or not is one of the hottest subjects in the industry. When you talk about art, most people will only think of drawing, painting, sculpting, and perhaps music. But not many will consider any written text as a form of art. Poetry is probably the only written form that is considered art.
By definition, art is all about the application of creative skills and imagination to create something interesting. It involves the expression of ideas and emotions. Considering this, it is easy to say any skill can be art. If your ability leads you to apply a certain amount of imagination in delivering results, then everyone might be an artist. However, there must be some variations in what art should and what it should not be. Most written works are based on imagination.
The philosophy of art
For many generations, art was considered as an ‘imitation.’ It was seen simply as copying of ideas and transferring them into another form as a representation of the concept. But since the 19th century, this view has been challenged and moribund in some of the arts of this period. It started losing meaning when art was seen as an expression, a theory that has gotten the world reflecting on the internal states of the artist. Although the representation may seem outward to the world, there is a more implicit meaning when viewed as an expression, particularly when an expression is defined as the outer manifestation of an inner self. Art is no longer the outward existence, but rather a display of inner human life.
The confusion, however, comes in the varying meaning of the words express and expression. They are ambiguous terms and may not always bring out the same meaning. For instance, express is a process-product ambiguous word. It can be used to mean the process, and can as well mean the results of the process. Consider the statement, “The music expresses a feeling.” It may mean the music evokes the composer’s deeper meaning, or that the sound of the music as heard is expressive. Therefore, different people have come up with theories based on these two approaches. In the first instance, the theory denotes the creation of art while the second one is about the content in the art and its creation completion.
Expressive nature of creating art
When creating any artwork, the artist combines new elements in the medium. These elements include tones in music, words in literature, paints on canvas, and many others. The elements are not new, they existed already, but they were not expressively brought together to create meaning. Therefore, the re-formation of these pre-existent material results in artistic work. Expect for some theological beliefs; creation is only possible if there is pre-existing material.
Creation occurs in different art mediums. The only issue is, once we understand this, we can come back to the point of expression and the media of art. It is right to say that in the creative process, the expressionist may call it the expression process. There must be something else other than the artist for them to create something. But this is where some get lost; some say art creation is more about self-expression, whereas others say it is the expression of a feeling. There are others too, who say the creation of art is not necessarily limited to feeling, and ideas can be expressed blandly and transparently as in an essay. That then will mean any form of writing can be termed as artistic.
When you say someone is expressing themselves, they are merely ‘letting go.’ Different people choose different means of ‘letting off steam.’ Some may throw things in the air; some may curse, and some may even resort to fighting. Many minds have, however, argued that such extreme expression is in no way relative to art. In art, there must be a medium of expression which brings the artist to bend to their will. Throwing things can be terms as natural release, but not artistic expression. According to William Wordsworth (1770-1850), poetry is an artwork because it does not evoke just spontaneous overflow of powerful things. This brings out written content a way of expressive something beyond emotions.
Art brings out truth and knowledge
Art has been alleged to carry cognitive functions; it leads to the action of truth. Many have defined as a road to the highest experience for humankind. It leads to an understanding that cannot be attained in any other direction. One can never help but wonder whether there is anything like truth or knowledge in artworks.
Literature is the most apparent carrier of this notion. It is comprised of words that grow into sentences which then express prepositions. Many literary works contain true statements, making some of them true. Fictional novels, on the other hand, bring a twist to the story. Anyone can write about something that happened in the past, even when they were not there. But still, it expresses the idea of what might have happened before. Poetry is all about understanding language and using the same to express ideas. Those who can read and understand poetry are seen to be more knowledgeable about the subject. Though it does not mean others are no good, it brings out the idea that perhaps reading any written work can make someone more knowledgeable. But again, it all comes down to mean that written texts can be and indeed are works of art.
One should be very careful when describing a written work as an art. Not everything can fall into the category of artistic practice. However, that is an expression of ideas presents written works as artistic. The literature self has been used for generations to define art in terms of creativity and expressiveness. We cannot deny the fact that it takes effort and knowledge to bring out the inner self of any human being. Apart from this, art is expressed as means of sharing knowledge and truth, which is carried in books.
Author: James Hamilton