Dragan Babic enables design.

Art

I've been struggling with this for a while.

I've spent years thinking about, and trying to understand art as a concept, and its place in the world. Who is an artist, and who is not? What is art? Who decides what is art and what is not?

For better or worse I've spent most of that time trying to dispel the notion that art is something which makes something worth more than people think it is; or in other terms make someone think of themselves more than they actually are. I was an anti-art zealot. It's how I deal with things, I do my best to disprove them in order to understand them. And to be honest I still think that a lot of the things some people consider art, are… not art.

When is something not art?

Art provokes. A thought, a feeling, a transformative realization that you're getting to know something new for the first time.

An artist usually feels something towards their creation, but often times it's a selfish, ego-centrical feeling they need to feel at this point in time. It's why they did it in the first place. It's their way of dealing with it, and more often than not all of us outside, we don't give a shit to be honest. A lot of products of the creative process make people feel this way, and it's the therapeutic part of the creation process itself. It has nothing to do with art, though. If it doesn't resonate strongly with someone else, on a very deep, non-verbal level, then it's probably just a byproduct of someone working through some stuff.

Art confuses at first, because you don't know how to feel about it. Then you learn about it, and you get to understand it, and make a decision about whether it is art to you, or it's not.

It's the context—or the lack of thereof—which makes it.

Art gets to do these weird things which means sometimes you get to know how you feel about it, and sometimes you don't. You need to figure it out for yourself.

I've learned that it's wrong to think about art in terms of good, or bad. There is no good, or bad art.

There is relevant, and irrelevant art, to you.

The process of creation creates value intended to or not, it's just that the value created might not be… required at the time, or required by you.

To say that an art piece is “good”, what it actually means is that it represented something important at the time it came to be. It had a very specific feature which was needed by someone, at a certain point in time. Sometimes that's the entire world, and sometimes it's just you. It's cool if it's just you. It's also cool to feel like the most of the world feels.

It's also unfair to say that art is ephemeral, even though we often times feel like it is. We “grow out of art” which basically means we understand it completely, and it's become orthodox. The same piece of art can mean different things to us through different times in our lives. That's cool too.

The closest I've gotten to a definition of art is that it's an attempt to describe something we don't yet have language for.

Sometimes that’s something new. Other times it’s something no one dared to say. And sometimes it’s just something someone needs to see, hear, or experience in order to feel right again.

Sometimes art feels nice, and sometimes it feels like we need to feel like whether we're ready for it or not.

I no longer make efforts to discredit art. I think it is something which needs to exist in the world, and it's something which provides us with the tools and vocabulary to deal with the world when it doesn't make sense to us. Sometimes it's a safe place to hide from it, and other times it's something that gives us the strength to change it.

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2024-07-02

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Dragan Babic is a design consultant enabling creatively challenged organizations to nurture design, and work with design professionals in productive ways.

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