Is Writing an Art Form?
Artist – musicians, painters, writers, poets, always seem to have had the most accurate perception of what is really going on around them, not the official version or the popular perception of contemporary life.
– Billy Joel
To answer this ageless question and endless debate, we need to know the nuances of what “art” is all about. It would not be appropriate on my part to question this question without understanding the essence of art. As I understand ‘art’ can be best described as a form of self-expression, and this expression, thus gets manifested in multiple forms from drawing, sketching, painting, singing, acting to dancing; all these enactment or illustration reflects life and art is in essence about subtly communicating our emotions and freely expressing our feelings…
So, why not writing?
Indeed writing is a very powerful art form.
Art has always imitated life and life’s happenings. As a writer, the writer also creates life in writing by pulling out nuggets from the happenings of daily life. Therefore, writing is certainly a form of art, but the essential question then; is all forms of writing an art. How do we treat a research report, or for that matter any academic publications to that of any business document, so where these writing stand against the creative writing per se when put to the lens of writing as an art form…
Anyway, writer loves to play with ‘words’. And they literally play with words, they know which words to call where and when, as the situation unfolds the words get automatically picked up at those places…situations and scenes are painted through words, the colour combination is created through the choice of beautiful words.
Words are the bricks of the building block of writing; well-placed and well-chosen words craft magic in the flow of sentences and readers smoothly sails through the words, sentences, paragraphs and the meanings are swiftly manifested in their mind.
The magic of ‘word play’ moves the mind of a reader isn’t that the intrinsic influence any art form should posses. Just like ‘sounds’ are for singing and ‘colours’ are for painting, so are ‘words’ for writing…so what are these visual and performing art forms and how are these placed against literature as an art form.
Visual arts like ‘painting’ are perhaps one the oldest art form, and this form of art depends on the surface of the canvas on which it is drawn. It plays with colour. The canvas could be soft paper to hard cardboards to stone to metal platforms to soft wood to hard wood to sand to plastics…the spread of pigments on the canvas using multiple paintings such as water colours to oil paints to acrylic to pastel have undergone radical change with the advent of modern forms of art.
The evolution of ‘canvas and colour’ have changed with changing expressions of people in our society…the aspirations and the inspirations have changed dramatically and to capture and represent that expression, the medium and media has changed. “Digital” painting and “3D” painting has broken the traditional barriers of two-dimensional art form of putting layers of pigments on the surface.
Today, perhaps the most popular form of art is the performing art… from singing to dancing to acting to theater plays. An art which takes the form of action is termed as performance art and since this art form stays for that moment, it is ephemeral in nature…and in earlier days it had its own charm when there were no cameras and recorders, audiences knew that the act will disappear into thin air the very next moment, so they were glued to it and also they didn’t have much option for entertainment…art has been the most powerful form of entertainment. Though, modern technologies are strongly challenging the status-quo of the supremacy of art as means in entertaining the people.
Things have changed, and changed drastically with the coming of modern forms of media arts to hold back the act of artists in frames and films. Modern media arts are now all-pervasive; it is digitally captured, distributed on internet and accessible anywhere and anytime.
Traditional art forms like drawing, painting and writing are getting encompassed & eclipsed by contemporary forms of art like Digital Photography to Digital Sketching to Internet Blogging.
This modern means are redefining the boundaries and rewriting the rules of art as we have conventionally understood and appreciated. The mode of expression for these art forms have changed with the role of technology, and more so with play of digital technology.
It has blurred the space between the creativity of the artist and the innovation brought by the technology. Creativity & innovation are converging. Photoshop as software is changing the reality captured in photography. The creativity in art is designed to be augmented with the deployment of technology, has perhaps distorted the fundamental structure of the artist’s creative imagination. Notwithstanding, the fact that it has created space for many of us to express ourselves better, and by using one form or the other form of art available at our easy disposable. We can now all embrace and enjoy art in some form or the other…and is not out of reach.
I would say literature remains the most engaging and extended art form with hundreds of pages to form a book, and often many years to produce a good piece of literature…others may differ and may put painting more challenging and filming commercial high on the order of art forms.
Is it the time or the economics that determines the craftiness of the art?
Though all art forms ignite and inspire the creative and imaginative part of our thinking. For an audience, a viewer, a listener or a reader; depending on the art form the engagement varies…music may last couple of minutes, a movie couple of hours and so may be the case for the paintings to photography to observe and appreciate. But it takes days to read a book and reflect on the story and its storyline. Though, storytelling has been the oldest form of communication engaging the communities of different society.
Or stating that writing is in fact the art form all of us can experience by sharing their own story in their own language… notwithstanding that each art has its own appeal and appreciation from its niche segment of people, so no art form can be better than the other, it is only that some are expensive to others are challenging and to some others are very crafty to do…
Literary writing continues to be a very engaging and highly engrossing form of art. It teases our mind, muses us, move us with its poetic flow or the power of fictional prose…we get lost in the character to the conflicts weaved in the imaginative and inspiring theme of the master piece of literature. Writing is like painting the picture but with words…like any other forms of art.
So, do we still question whether writing is a form of art?