The Fundamentals of Art

With incredibly limited job opportunities and specialized colleges running rates to ensure that even your great grandchildren will be insolvent, art is as popular a field as ever. With young aspiring artists everywhere seeking employment and education, getting a firm grasp on the fundamentals of art can really give you a competitive edge. Before we discuss these building blocks, the most important thing to remember is that the only people who go on to be artists are born as prodigies and there is simply no hope for the rest of you. As with any discipline of course, art is not something that can be learned. None the less, for those of you who do not believe me and wish to challenge this principle, I present you with the fundamentals of art:

  1. Be exactly like everybody else so that people like you.

  2. Keep your personal life out of it.

  3. DO NOT experiment

           Be exactly like everybody else so that people like you; it isn’t just a way to survive the harsh years of high school. In a world full of people who are all more or less the same, it is vital that you make your art appeal to this demographic. Art is between you and the public, keep your bizzaro interests out of it - they make for a triangle of failure. Pay close attention to the mainstream media and similar outlets for a good idea of what people like to see. If the people want Kardashians and Starbucks, give the people Kardashians and Starbucks. When is the last time you heard of an artist with integrity? It is vital to conform. After all, being different is bad; that is what we teach grade school children, yes? Remember, it’s not considered selling out if you’re still broke and in debt.

           Keep your personal life out of it. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but nobody really gives a crap about how you feel and what you’ve been through. Much like a good athlete, a good artist keeps his emotions separate from his art. Art is a discipline and it requires your full undivided attention. If you wanted to express your feelings, you should have been a poet. Do not let your bitter breakup and the parking ticket you got this morning influence things like your color choice,  the strokes you use, your medium, your subject, or your style.

    Good art: John saw a mountain, so he drew a mountain.

Bad art: Salvador Dali saw a mountain, so he painted some weird underworld looking scene that was probably more proof as to why he needed therapy.


Good Art: Selma took a picture of a boy posing for a portrait.

Bad Art: Erik Johansson took a picture of a boy and made it appear as though he was punching his own face in out of frustration.


Good Art: Sandra painted the night sky because she thought it looked pretty.

Bad Art: Vincent Van Gogh painted the night sky because he had severe mental illness and cut his own ear off.

           Life sure can be a rollercoaster with all of the ups and downs. Nobody’ feelings are invalid, but the world is probably a lot better off if you just keep yours to yourself.

           DO NOT experiment. There may be several ways to skin a cat but there is only one way to make art, and skinning cats is gross and depressing. Art is a discipline that has been around since the beginning of time and has not changed one bit throughout its existence. Just like math,  art is right and wrong, black and white, clearly defined by rules and bounds. Art should not be an abstract endeavour; you stick to what you know. There is no room for artists to “grow”. Find your comfort zone, build a fence around it, and never leave. If you follow these fundamentals, perhaps you too can be a successful artist.

Sydney Krantz