At last, a topic I can use my degree to discuss! You'll have to excuse me on this, I can already foresee my response running long, but hopefully with this being Elliquiy U, I can be forgiven for my passion on the subject :)
Dudel, I am primarily going to address your posts.
CREATION FOR PROFIT =/= Art
Art exists because it's art, not because the artist wanted to make money from it. Andy Warhol made his pop art because he wanted to. He got famous, sure, but that's not why he did his work.
This is where I would make the buzzer noise and you'd lose the new car behind door number three. This is the career equivalent of saying "fixing cars for profit != mechanic". It doesn't make sense and simply doesn't hold true in the art world. Passion for your work and desire for profit are not mutually exclusive concepts and this is actually a very dangerous mindset to have, as it can conversely lead people to devalue
art. I've had enough people ask me for free art (even businesses), and tell me I should give it to them because "I like to draw anyway". That is one of the most insulting things you can tell an artist, just FYI.
Anyway, I am an artist -- what I mean by this isn't just that I enjoy illustration on the side, but I literally make my living doing art. I just sunk a large quantity of money into getting a degree that shows I'm qualified to make art at a professional level and that I'm serious about my craft. I want to make money with my art.
Artists are not a special breed of human being that has no care for obtaining large amounts of currency. On the contrary, money is widely considered the best way to support an artist, gives their work tangible value, not to mention pays their bills.
Being an artist isn't just something I do for fun, it's my career.
Graphic design and typography are amazingly complicated arts, but yet you see it everywhere, especially in commercial places. You can't escape graphic design -- advertisements, brochures, posters, business cards, nutrition labels, everything right down to books you read and the spacing in the letters, the way fonts are actually made from scratch, the meticulous kerning between letters -- this is commercial art and it takes a lot of skill to make it. I know this because I've had to work my ass off to get my foot in the door as a graphic design artist, which is coincidentally THE most popular job for artists right now because it is also the most commercially successful. Yes, I do it for profit. No, I probably wouldn't do it if there were another artistic job that I could get into that paid better, but if anyone tried to argue with me that what I do isn't art, I have to be honest, I'd probably shoot them down with laser vision from where I'm standing.
Andy Warhol isn't the best example you want on your side, either. You know what he did before he got famous? He was a commercial
illustrator, and a widely successful one, at that. Once he started diving into pop art, he got merciless criticism for selling out and making art that was blatantly commercial, capitalist, and mass-appeal in nature. Kitsch art is all about taking things that are pre-loaded with certain emotion and selling it back to the public because you know it has mass appeal. Jeff Koons made giant metal balloon animals because who can't
identify with balloon animals? We're all familiar with them, it reminds many people of their childhood, has positive emotions attached, and it's hard to hate. Mickey Mouse is huge
in kitsch art. Jeff Koons cut a giant bush into a statue of a puppy because seriously, only terrorists hate puppies. The guy bronzed
a statue of Michael Jackson and his monkey.
If, however, the source and point of these creations were to "make a bucK" we are talking an entire different beast. Think "The Blockbuster Movie" and "The Single" as the equal to what video games basically are. It's about selling consoles and game copies, nothing else. It is not, nor has it ever been, "about the experience." Art is "about the experience."
Actually, art as an experience is something you can thank the postmodernists
for. Before Marcel Duchamp in the early 20th century, art was merely a product of an artist's two hands and was viewed in a relatively sterile box from a typical viewpoint. Anything an artist could not produce with his own two hands was not considered. There was no interaction between artist and art, there was no initiative to get into the art's space and be engaged with it, to look closer, to maybe even become a part
of the piece. It wasn't until Marcel Duchamp mounted a urinal with a pseudonym on it to a wall that we began to collectively challenge what art is, who can create it, and what the audience's role in the art is. That's where the theory of art for art's sake
began. Postmodernists made a pronounced effort to make art more
accessible to the common man and to make art a more active part of life instead of the other way around.
If you'd like personal proof, go read my interview with EH&P this month (shameless plug!) -- I don't make art to give others an experience. I don't put meaning into my art because I find it pretentious...at least for me.
I don't make art to express deep, hidden emotions. I don't make it to make political statements or to preach my beliefs. I make art that I find aesthetically interesting and that's literally it. I see things that inspire me, but I am not motivated to make a spectacle of what I do. If someone gets some kind of personal meaning out of it after the fact, that's really great and I'd like to hear about it, but it's not why I do what I do. I understand that this isn't the same approach all artists use, but it is my process.
Also, if you'd like a disgusting example of artist hacks who are only in it to make a buck, give ol' Thomas Kinkaid some Google love. He is almost universally reviled in the art world, but has HUGE commercial success...mass amounts of people eat his stale artwork out of the palm of his hand and they even tried to make a literal, real-life gated community based on the houses in his bargain bin Wal-Mart prints. (Can you tell how I feel about him?) As much as I hate to say it, he is, indeed, an artist.
When film was created, film makers didn't shout at the top of their lungs that they where artists and had an art form. Musicians, too. They let it happen naturally and continued with their art regardless of naysayers.
I'm not so sure about musicians, but I'm almost positive that film-makers had to fight to be considered art and didn't actually gain acceptance until -- guess who! -- postmodernists began to expand out into performance art and the like. Photography, to this day, still fights for legitimacy in certain spaces because the contents of a photograph are not of the artist's actual making. People claim that photography requires no skill, and especially in the age of easily accessible digital cameras and Instagram. There's no way they just sat back passively -- photographers had a hell of a time getting their feet in with traditional artists partly because they made things like traditional paintings somewhat obsolete. Why paint realism when you can simply take a photograph? What skill does a photograph even require? The photograph was also devalued as too commercial because you could make an infinite number of prints from the negative and so the concept of an original was more or less destroyed (another postmodern subject).
Oh, no, I like those things just fine... doesn't make them art. I like me some Lady Gaga, too, but to call her an artist is to shit on Beethoven.
You're using your own preferences as a defining factor as to whether someone is an artist or not. I think Lady Gaga is
an artist, how would you possibly go about proving me wrong about this? Art is subjective. It literally only takes one person to find something artistic to make it art, even if it's despicable, skill-less, or otherwise deplorable. I hate Picasso with an unrivaled passion. I think his stuff looks terrible. I hate most of Henri Matisse's work, I think his paper cutouts are the most mindless, horrendous-looking pieces of steaming crap I've ever seen. I still consider them artists.
AND THE GRAND FINALE:
I'm going to put it this way: A commodity is not art, it's a commodity. A commodity has no soul. A commodity has no purpose other than to feed pockets. A commodity is what KILLS art and drags away what art is supposed to be. Any artist will tell you that. Any artist who hears people singing into voicetone correct will roll their eyes. Any artist who sees a weak Photoshop c/p will call art thief. Such things are deemed not art by even the smallest of art communities.
I hope from my response thusfar, you're starting to see maybe what's wrong with issuing a statement like this. It is unwise to make statements like "any artist will tell you ______" -- especially if you are not an artist yourself. Forgive my indiscretion if you do make art (I don't know if you do or not), but if so, shame on you even more! :) As an artist, I'm telling you that this blatantly isn't true.
I think most anime art is very poorly done and yet it retains a massive niche market of people who adore it. Take a look around DeviantArt.com -- self-portraits of moody teenage girls are a dime a dozen, and I'd love to play a drinking game to find all the pictures that have some combination of hearts, music notes, and close-ups of words on book pages. One photographer is especially well-known and well-loved and all he/she does is draw faces on inanimate objects like food and take a picture, run a few Photoshop filters, and posts it. These things did not start out as commodities, but the audience gobbled them up, so the artists started producing more like them. Who can blame them? Many artists -- the majority I might dare to say -- care to some extent what their audience thinks of their work. Many artists want to be successful. They want money.
If their audience loves what their doing, why wouldn't they continue to do it and why wouldn't others seek to emulate them to get in on some of it too?
The real issue I have with this statement, however, is your assertion of what art should
be. That is an entirely subjective statement for an entirely subjective topic. There is no "supposed to be" in art. It's not supposed to be anything, and again, you can thank postmodernists for making it possible. Pre-postmodern art was considered what you could make with your own two hands...By contrast, now there are artists who have pissed in a bottle with the crucifix in it, collected their own bodily fluids in jars, vomited on canvases, masturbated under some floorboards, made rape tunnels, pulled scrolls out of their vaginas, simply wrote instructions on how to make their art and made other people assemble it, filmed themselves having sex, painted a canvas blue and hung it on a wall, put a mustache on the Mona Lisa...the list goes on and on. The fact that you dislike postmodernism is okay -- I hate it too -- but without a proper understanding of art history, it's hard to understand why
it is and what greater purpose it's served for art as you know it today.
To bring this back around, even if video games had no artistic elements to them (they do), anything is art if you think it's art. If it sounds like a pretty crazy idea, it's because it is, but it's no less true. Art has already had this conversation long before any of us were born and ironically enough, by trying to elevate its own status in society, art destroyed any definition it had, which makes any attempt at trying to give it boundaries a lesson in futility. The only difference between a vacuum cleaner and a piece of art worth millions of dollars is a glass case.