Above is an image I recently created and one that I’ve titled Disdain. Its completion brought some satisfaction but left me with a nagging question. Is it art? Right now I’m not sure it even fits that category. But first allow a brief backstory.
Years ago I pulled a photo from a nature magazine of a smug African Baboon taking the sun. A compelling image, I tucked it away like many other photos for future reference. Some years later I scanned the photo and saved it in a large ‘miscellaneous photos’ folder. There it languished until the other night when I came upon an unusual image posted on Facebook. An artist had edited a photo of a woman in Photoshop by applying a special effect filter. The result resembled an abstract painting and the post comments congratulated the artist on a unique and beautiful work of art.
But was it art or even intended to be art? While pondering that, I remembered the odd baboon photo and decided to try my hand in Photoshop. I am by no means a Photoshop Master, but within a short time had created the above image.
At this early stage, could I dare call it art? Perhaps I could if following Marcel Duchamp’s dictum, “Art is whatever I say is art.” Going further, I might copy the image to a CD, take it to a fine art printer and have a 5’ image printed on canvas. Placed on a museum-wrap stretcher, the work would get a few strokes of oil pigment and voila, it would be done. The mixed-media painting is finally hung in an art gallery with a hefty price tag. On opening night a wealthy wine merchant from Argentina purchases Disdain for $14,500. Here at last, with conviction, could I dare call it art? Or, at that point, perhaps I should not say a word.