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  • Writer's pictureTerry Bonneville

What Makes a Good Artist?

Updated: Mar 6, 2023


Image of an art gallery with sculptures, overlaid with the question 'What makes a good artist?'
What Makes a Good Artist?

A Good Artist Creates a Response in People Art is, of course, subjective. For example, there are those who either don't understand or hate the work of Picasso and those who believe him to be a creative genius. The beauty of art is that it is open to interpretation but this is only true of work which at least tries to make a statement and to make the viewer feel, realise or understand something. Art which comes from the need to communicate can be considered true art, almost regardless of its perceived aesthetic value. The Questions to Ask Yourself When Appraising Good Art 1. Does it tell me anything? 2. Does the art directly make me feel something? 3. Do I enjoy this art? If so why, if not, why not? 4. Does this art have a unique message? 5. Does this art enrich my life in some way? Now let's compare one of the jaw-dropping skill of drafts-people of modern times, many of whom can be found on Instagram and other social channels, who can create photo-realistic portraits, against a well-established modern artist such as Jackson Pollock. Does the photo-realistic portrait tell us anything? It tells us that the creator is extremely technically gifted yet it has no message, no meaning, no purpose other than to demonstrate a high level of technical ability. To most, it will have some enjoyment value through the sheer skill needed to create it but beyond that it arguably has little else or even nothing to offer. It can be argued that work which can have such little value to people cannot be truly considered art.

An abstract painting by the artist Jackson Pollock
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollock

As for Jackson Pollock, even if the viewer doesn't appreciate the work, they will ask questions - wonder why splashing paint onto a giant canvas is considered art; why some people find value in it; why art can be defined in such works and why it is not limited to figurative representations. They may leave feeling they have gained nothing, but they have learned of a new aspect to art and what it can be, and that is education enough. For those who do appreciate Pollock, they leave with much more - the rhythms of nature and seasons that permeate his work are common themes and to feel those in his work is to, in a way, see through his eyes and see how another human frames the world. The value in this is incredible and eye-opening. Great art like this genuinely enriches our lives and contributes to the development of culture and wider society in general. That is good art, made by a good artist.

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