Everyone knows them: a friend or family member who cannot stop talking about this singer or that painting or whichever books. They sing praise and gush over its details to no end, while you gaze at them in bewilderment and wonder which of their screws came loose.
That, my friends, is the effect of art.
“But my sister is a Justin Bieber fan. That’s not art!”
Well, that depends on how you define ‘art’.
Before anything else, art is subjective. Countless discussions notwithstanding, it’s simply not possible to give a viable objective definition of concept. Even the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary leaves rooms for interpretation:
“The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”
Yet many will concur that the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon or David Bowie are great artists, and not just because they are (long) dead. We enjoy watching our favourite actors perform on screen or on stage, or reading a book by our favourite author. These may not be tangible visual forms of art, as the Oxford Dictionary suggests, but they are art all the same.
So the heart of the matter must lie in the “beauty and emotional power”. A subjective matter if ever there was one!
Or is it?
On a summer night in a London street, someone showed me the common denominator that defines art. Empiric as I am, I put that factor to the test. With remarkable results.