What Is Art?

By Eliza Desmarais

One of the most open-ended descriptions in the world is the definition of expression. From person to person, the significance of this term and the value it holds varies from just an afterthought in daily life to the entirety of one’s existence. Artistic expression is a common association, and even with narrowing down expression to that shown through art, there’s still substantial room left for interpretation.

At Frontier, art can be observed in many different forms. Whether it’s literature, painting and sculpting, music, or drama, it’s hard to find a student not involved in some sort of artistic activities. Just like the rest of the world, students here have their own perspectives on expression. Lexa Boyden, a junior, shared her view on creativity, saying, “You can write a song, make a film, paint a picture; art can be anything”. FRS senior, Dakwon C., added, “Art is beautiful, and it just makes the world, you know?” The general consensus from students was that art can be many different things, however most described artistic expression as a concept that surrounded what would be traditionally perceived as “the arts”. But what if we can expand our thinking much farther than that typical interpretation?

A few students seemed the grasp this broader point of view. Raili Sharp, senior, defined art as “everything that exists that is able to be perceived by one of our senses”. If we see ‘art’ and ‘expression’ as one in the same, then literally anything in the world around us can be a mode of expression. Life on Earth could be seen as an expression of the chemical compounds that allow for the existence of living, breathing organisms. The answer to a long, complex mathematical equation could be the expression of years of calculations and rules set in place by great analytical minds throughout history. Even the very core of human individuality, what makes us different from one another, could be attributed to the expressions of our genetic makeup.

Expanding perspectives of art to ones this vast can be intimidating, and almost belittling to the value of traditional art, but that may be missing the point. What matters is that, as creatures who have the power to attempt to understand our surroundings, we choose to see everything as artistic and, as some might say, beautiful. Think of how many conflicts would be diminished or even solved if those involved were able to see the situation as one that holds value and genuine beauty.