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Art with a Capital “A”

by Susan Righter in My Artistic Journey


Think Rembrandt
What comes to mind when I write “think Rembrandt?”  Formal, incredible, classical, heavy, deep, and so on.  The technical mastery over his medium and the accuracy of his portraiture and anatomy is astounding.  So if I had to categorize his work, it would fall into the category of Art with a Capital “A.”  You have to respect that he was a master of epic proportions!

Now Think Mary Engelbreit

Switching gears, what comes to mind when I write “think Mary Engelbreit?”  Whimsy, spontaneity, lighthearted, fun, colorful, fresh, happy, and so on.  While I personally consider her a master in her own right, highly successful at what she does, I wouldn’t put her in the Art with a Capital “A” category.

Whimsical Art vs. Classical Art?

Classical art to me is serious stuff; stuff of ancient history, cultural heritage and social/political statements.  Masterworks by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, DaVinci, and others stand the test of time and continue to serve as examples of what our society deems as true art.
However, art is completely subjective and Andy Warhol said, “Art is what you can get away with.”  In line with the comment, art is then expanded to include all forms of expression, both classical and whimsical.  Under this definition, Mary Engelbreit is no less of an artist than Rembrandt; only her method of communicating is different.

My Personal Expression: Why Choose? 

If you’ve looked at my art, you’ve probably seen my own conflicted sense of whether I should choose to go the classical or the whimsical route.  I have fans of both styles.  Recently, when I showed my Web site to an older artist and lamented that I don’t know which direction to go with my art, he said, “Why do you have to choose?”  I see his point.  My art has to be true to who I am, not conform to some societal standard of Art with a Capital “A!”
Yes, I may produce some pieces that are more serious than others or more classical, but for me to really enjoy creating my art, a piece has to have a touch of whimsy and fun.  So, it’s okay with me if my work never falls into the category of Art with a Capital “A,” as long as I’m having fun.

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