The way I see it, art is a personal expression of emotion or thought. Even if it is a reflection of outside conditions completely separate from the individual, the essence of the art work comes from within the artist. It embodies their view from their perspective only that no other mind or set of eyes can ever completely comprehend.
One thing that has always puzzled me is the occupation of an art teacher. The idea of grading art seems so unheard of to me. The idea that someone can decide whether art is good or bad and grade them on it regardless of how the person wants to mold the material or capture the image in the way that they most want to. What kind of person can tell a child, or even an adult for that matter, whether what they see as beautiful or inspiring or heart-wrenching isn’t worth more than a D or an F?
However, public art is, after all, public. It is made not only for the artist’s pleasure but for that of the audiences who will see or hear it. And when they do, they will decide whether they like it or not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I believe that people’s opinions of art are ultimately completely powerless and irrelevant. The famous paintings hanging in the Lourve and the Prado are worth millions, but the vision and inspiration they held in their minds while developing it were just the same as artists whose paintings are hidden back in the storage rooms of local art galleries. Famous artists had an image and a reputation that contributed to the fame of their works which may have caused society to see them as masters. They may have mastered their own style, but style is personal and is mastered by every individual artist.
For example, when it comes to music, the artist that comes to my mind is The Dear Hunter (not to be confused with Deerhunter, the hard rock band). The Dear Hunter combines a unique mix of what sounds like swing, rock, and indie, to create a circus-like swirl of passionate melody. They retain a small yet devoted fan-base yet they go on creating their own music the way they like it because it emanates how they think and feel. Of course there are many who may not like their music, but ultimately, they will go on creating it because it is what they love to do. Even though they play a miniscule part in the world of music, they still provide a place for themselves and the few who love their music.
On the other hand, we have Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On”. Every single time this song comes on the radio I insist the channel be changed. It is whiney, obnoxious, and infuriating. I don’t mind most country music but this song, in my opinion, embodies everything wrong with society today. The lyrics prompt listeners to start drinking moonshine liquor and act like douchebags. Even so, almost everyone else in the room or car who hears the song come on fights me on it and insists it is a great song. Florida Georgia Line has a huge fan base, and it may generate hundreds of thousands more dollars in their pockets, but they clearly have a passion for their genre and a good portion of the public seems to think so too.
Richardson states that “readers are too apt at first sight to condemn as Error, what an Author may have found after a laborious, and tedious Enquiry to be the Truth” (Richardson 7). Here he supports my point that the viewers’ opinions of the art are altogether irrelevant to the meaning the piece holds for its maker. I think if Richardson were to have read this blog post, he would have appreciated my given opinions of each artist and also the fact that I recognize that (even though Florida Georgia Line SUCKS) both artists have their own personal meaning in their work, and they are just as strong for both.