There is no bad art. Only bad craft.

Recently tweeted that. It is another iteration of the burrito/taco/shoe/title idea.

Craft as defined by is – an occupation requiring special skill. It is also a verb defined as – to make or manufacture.

Craft, then, we could say is to make or manufacture something requiring a special skill.

Art, coming from the Latin ars, means craftmanship. But why go back to the roots of the words. Useful? Maybe, but the meaning and relationships to those meanings change with fashions and trends of the day. (insert appropriate dead French philosopher quote here).

I prefer to use my relationship to these words now. Art and artificial, similar, no? For me art is anything that is intentionally created, something that did not already exist in nature. Nature is the opposite of art (insert dead German philosopher quote here). To create art, all one has to do is something, anything.

Craft, on the other hand, has a set of skills and expectations. To craft a chair from walnut wood and leather requires a certain set of skills – cutting, measuring, sanding, staining – that must be executed in order to create an object that can fulfill a certain function. In this case, someone has to be able to sit in the chair. If the chair cannot fulfill this expectation – it breaks, hurts the person sitting in it, isn’t comfortable – it is not a very good chair.

Another layer of craft, the visual component, then, comes into question. Does the viewer like the way the chair looks.

Hmm…just had the thought that craft is many layers of either/or statements.

Art, on the other hand, is a henna tattoo for an Indian wedding. Yes, and doesn’t have the same level of either/ors. In relation to dance, many dancers are more craftspeople. They spend many hours trying to get a specific sequence down pat. They are not creating anything new, they are not creating anything artificial, but crafting, getting the either/or statements as correct as possible. They are simultaneously creating and defining an infinite number of either/or statements.

Art happens before craft. Only down the road, as time passes, does craft come into being.


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