Why Art? is a graphic novel, written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis. Davis combines great visuals and humour to create a work that is not only philosophical and thought-provoking, but also fun to read. There isn’t (of course) a definitive answer to the titular question, but the book is an intriguing exploration of possibilities:
“…not all art should be categorized aesthetically. Many artworks are primarily intellectual, and can be categorized by either the intent of the artist or the response of the audience….For some artworks, the response goes beyond an intellectual one.”
The first part of the book reflects upon art in this manner, while the second part tells a story featuring a cast of characters. My favourite character is Dolores, a performance artist whose personal story brings up many interesting aspects of the complex interaction between an artist’s work and the audience’s response to that work. [For example, the initial success of Dolores’ work is rooted in the ‘truth’ of it. However, over time, “Dolores realizes the artwork has become bad now that it is no longer true.”]
This book has provided me with much to reflect upon as I continue to explore and more clearly define the ‘why’ of my art. However, I think it would be an interesting and valuable read for anyone doing any type of creative work, regardless of where they are on their path.