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Last week I watched an episode of the new comedy Animal Practice (there just wasn't much else on). In the episode, an art gallery owner came into the establishment to have her dog groomed. While dropping off Ms. Fido, she noticed Dr. Rizzo (a capuchin monkey named Crystal who has actually appeared in over 20 films) drawing with markers on a sheet of white paper. Ms. Art Gallery Owner asked if Dr. Rizzo could paint, explaining to Angela, the animal handler, that animal art is trending right now.
I rolled my eyes.
First, let me explain that animal art meant art created by animals; not art of animals. This isn't why I rolled my eyes. Animal welfare groups sell animal art for fundraising purposes and I love the idea. Second, let me say that animal art is not art. Again, this isn't why I rolled my eyes.
There's this saying I discovered several years ago:
Owning a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner. Anonymous
Therefore, owning paints and a paint brush doesn't make you a painter. It makes you a paint and paint brush owner. I own paints and paint brushes. I'm not a painter.
So when did I roll my eyes? When the word "trending" made itself known. I have to say I hate this word. I know, I know, it's big and bold on the internet, but let's be real. Trending, my dear friends, is nothing more than the word "fad" dressed up in a tuxedo.
Therefore, Dr. Rizzo's art is nothing more than keeping up with the Jones. Actually, in the end, Angela bought back Dr. Rizzo's art at a $200 loss because Dr. Rizzo was so attached to her work. Go figure.
But trending in art? Really? Yes, it is happening. Art publishers are using the word like crazy, but is trending art really art? Or is it a decorative wall piece that'll be replaced next month when the next new and exciting art trend comes into place?
Art lives for the ages, not for moments. Can you imagine Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling being a trend? It took him four years to complete the painting. Who knows what trended in and out during those four years in the 16th century. It took da Vinci four years to paint the Mona Lisa and it's still visited by thousands.
So I'm going to say it: ART IS NOT A TREND!
Looking at the field of photography, it takes a second to snap a picture. It takes much longer to create a photograph. Why so long? Because in the world of photographic art, any art for that matter, there's more to the work than simply creating an image.
I work photographs for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years before it takes its final form. Sometimes I go back and re-shoot. So while I'm creating, there's something out there trending. Something that will most likely be long gone before I finish a particular piece.
Put simply, Dr. Rizzo took a snapshot, not a photo. She took tubes of paint, squirted them on a canvas, knocked her brush around for a few minutes, then proceeded to jump up and down on the paint. In the end, it may have looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, except that Jackson Pollock's work came from the soul.
Personally, the best part of Dr. Rizzo's painting was her inspiration; music from the '70s. It was quite comical.