At a symposium on art and tech the other day, a discussion on what good art is and who’s an artist, and who’s to decide or judge surfaced during the coffee break. I left with an open question: Is an illustrator at a marketing agency or a gaming company an artist?
It stayed in the back of my head, and the day after, it crossed my mind during writing. In the early 1980s, there was an art form in Sweden named “Hötorgskonst,” which was not considered good art. It was sold at the square of Hötorget and was drawn at that time by no-name artists. Wikipedia described it as “Hötorgskonst is, in finer art circles, a derogatory term for art where the artist prioritized the profit aspect, simple people’s interest, created several copies of each work, and did not follow the art elite’s principles for good and innovative modern art.” My thoughts jumped on to think about discussions in a book lovers group on Facebook on who is to decide or judge what’s a good text and what a good book is.
“Se mi piace il vino, disolito dico che è beverino.”
“If I like the wine, I usually say it’s good.”/ Piemontese wine grower
I came to think about this quote that is stuck with me. I was told this was how an old Piemontese wine grower answered the question of how the wine was. The anticipated answer was to use words like licorice, raspberry, oak, etc., as sommeliers and wine tasters usually used. To the wine grower, it was so obvious and straightforward; if you like it, it’s a good wine.
Jumping back to the art form “Hötorgskonst,” I could never understand why it was not “good” or fine art since I liked it. Maybe it was because I was not “knowledgeable enough” about what good art was. I’ve learned this is a common thought by people no matter what areas one is moving into. And it might be keeping us from exploring the areas we are interested in. Fortunately, e.g., in the digital art movement, boundaries are broken, and a wide array of art is easily accessible to everyone. The creation of art takes new, fun, and unusual ways. Thinking also about the DYI, Do it your self-movement in the various areas. And also how solutions and creations are widely shared, liked, and sold on social media.
“Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”/Margaret Wolfe Hungerford “The Duchess”
So what is good? If you like it, it’s good. And it applies to your overall life: if you like it, the ingredients you’ve put and are putting into your life, that’s enough. Food, colors, clothes, cars, sports, etc… Only you know what’s likable to you. As simple as that.
Enjoy life like having an espresso, a glass of wine, or whatever your preference is. Fill the glass and enjoy life while it lasts. Make your life beverino.