Wk 13 — Essay 2 — Art!

Andre Tran
4 min readNov 30, 2020

If you asked me what “art” was at the beginning of this semester, I would’ve said it was anything that anyone deems it so. In modern times, the term “art”, like many words, has been used to describe so many things, many of which unconventional in either its context or enviroment in which it was said. For example, when someone see’s a painting by Van Gogh, many people would consider it “art.” When someone see’s a scene in nature, perhaps a sunset, or an array of autumn leafs, many could consider it “art.” Even advancements in technology or completely practical structures are considered “art.” As such, I considered anything to be art so long as someone said so. Following this semester, through the aid of our many discussions and exploration in many different forms of expression and art, I can say that my idea of art has indeed changed. I recall specifically when we discussed this in class, that when we brought up this new, “modern definition,” we found that, while many if not everything can be considered art, it requires human input to call it so. So, in a sense, any art, regardless of the methods of creation, is art when it is described as such by a person. As such, while I do not think the core idea of art has changed, the means at which we observe it or deem it so requires human input.

Currently I am undeclared in CSULB’s system with an interest in computer engineering, but am looking to proceed through college into law graduate school to become a paralegal. For simplicities sake, a paralegal can be considered a lawyer but with less on their workplate. It’s a great position as it allows an individual to practice law as a full time occupation, but not with the downsides that regularly comes with being a lawyer, such as client work, long overtime hours, etc. And while the very nature of law may seem like it contradicts the very principles of art, I believe aspects of art are useful in law. For example, a very literal use of art would be for decoration in an otherwise drab legal firm to spruce it up. However, a more interesting way of using skills you’ve learned in art is observing. Throughout this class we’ve had to view multiple artists work through the lens of not only a casual viewer, but as an analyst and artist. Utilizing new view points to look at the same thing is, what I consider, similar to legal review. For example, when a judge or a court looks at a case, they look previous cases to see similar outcomes, rulings, etc. They also have to have a jury and for public policy, have the public look at it as well. This invites not only masses of different “audiences” or “viewers” to look at a specific piece of “work,” but have it looked at with different perspectives to fit well within society. This viewing with different pairs of eyes is what brought about modern society. So, in a sense, skills learned in art, can help advance us in society. It let’s us achieve new viewpoints that gives us incredible insight into things we never even knew. Even past art of law, learning this skill is valuable to you as a human. Learning new viewpoints is the key of sympathy, and allows us understand and help others.

Art matters. This very subject has come under debate from many advocates for art in public education, with the arguement that it should be S.T.E.A.M. instead of S.T.E.M. Not everyone will grow up and become a technician or engineer in “brain and thought oriented occupations.” If every job on Earth and everything produced by those jobs not related to S.T.E.M. vanished, we would be absolutley miserable after being deprived of so many joys of life. Movies. Photos. Games. Toys. Entertainment as a whole, would cease to exist. If we work to improve society with S.T.E.M. jobs, what do we work towards if we don’t have something to enjoy in the end? We can improve our technology and become better and more efficient, but what do you do with it as an end product? You build it into something that can be used by an end user which either entertains or aids them in some capacity. After all, “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.”

“A great nation deserves great art.” Well, ironically, describing something as “great” in the sense of this quote would be subjective. Kim Jong Un would consider North Korea great. Although ask almost anyone else, and they would say otherwise. Half of America thinks America as great, and many think it should be “made great again.” For this discussion, I think “great” could be considered developed and meaningful upon the global stage. With this definition, I do believe great contries deserve great art for its citizens. Giving people avenues to observe art unlike any other is what incites inspiration and creativity in many. As long as the “art” is rightfully obtained and provided and produced (which may be another essay in it’s own right) then I believe that a country should add art as an intrinsic feature just like its infrastructure.

Overall, I think this class has truly allowed me to experience some thought-provoking discussion I would not get to have anywhere else. It gave me the oppurtunities to see so many wonderful artists and their work, gave me incite into what else exists within my narrow cone of vision of the art world, and has even brought out some great art within me that I haven’t tried or gone for. Going forward, as one of the best classes of my first semester in college and probably will be for the remained of my college career, this class is an inspiration for not only the appreciation of art, but a staple example of what a class should be. A truly engaged and thoughtful professor, work that not bores but excites a student, and a class of peers that you want to be friends with.