Friday, October 28, 2005

What is art?

When I was in printmaking class last semester, I had a zinc plate that I had put in ammonia. We used an acrylic ground to protect what we didn't want the acid to touch. Ammonia removed that ground. Well, I forgot about it and the plate stayed in there for three days.

When it was finally discovered, it was very subtly etched (ammonia is also an acid, albeit much weaker than the one we normally used for etching.) When I ran a print of the plate, just to see what it would look like, it reminded me of an old daguerreotype of a rainstorm on an open field. I half jokingly said that it needed to be the silhouette of a cow or two.

The response I got from my instructor was a laugh as well as, "Oh god, no! Don't do that!" For some reason, the very idea of artwork involving something as lowly as a cow seemed to be horrifying.

Perhaps it is a matter of background. I come from a long line of farmers, on both sides of the family. I find myself contemplating ideas to acknowledge that heritage. That heritage includes cows. Horses. Land.

So...just what is art? Who decides? Does it really matter?

Nah. I'm going to do it anyway.

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