What is Art?
Art is anything executed with an unerring and uncompromising aim. Oscar Wilde said it best, “Art has no other aim, but her own perfection.” Any action imbued with the full attention of the creator can result in the creation of art. It can be anything a human sets their mind to, whether that be a fresco spanning the ceiling of the Vatican, or the assembly of a sandwich. When such a level of attention is paid to an endeavor, the result is often overwhelming and transcends simply being excellent to being art.
One essential consequence of my theory of art is that anyone can (and most probably does) create art at some point in their lives. It’s not left to ‘artists’ to make art, it’s a human drive that can crop up anywhere. What we consider ‘fine art’ is the expressing of an idea or emotion through media. But just because someone tries to make a painting or sculpture that conveys emotion, does not mean that they are making art. It is only art if it meets the criteria I set out above. Much of what is commonly considered ‘fine art’, or simply ‘art’ is, in fact, not art. Simply conveying an idea or emotion is not enough, it must be done with such force that the viewing of it is overwhelming and or unnerving.
Take “The Scream” by Edward Munch for instance. It is a painting that clearly communicates the idea of someone screaming and the work itself is held up by many as a masterpiece. Is it art? No. It is garish and crude and is a caricature of a scream. Does it make you feel terror? No. There is nothing in the painting that even suggests real terror. It’s not art, it’s an illustration and a simplistic one at that.
James was born in Manhattan in 1971 and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1994. James continued his design education a few years later and received a Masters of Industrial Design from North Carolina State University in 1998. One year earlier in 1997, James began developing web sites. This continued his long tradition of self learning. That same year James married Jennifer Sprague (now Dr. Fryer).
He won’t say he’s an artist, that’s for others to decide, but he does refer to himself as a ‘creative type’. He creates photographs, paintings, websites, furniture, sculpture, children, consumer products and all kinds of things.
About James’s Work
James’s focus for the last few years has been on photography, very close-up images of turbulent water to be precise. James finds colors and structure in water that are quite painterly in appearance and he credits his background in painting for developing a sensitivity to see these qualities in the flowing water.
Prior to his recent photography work, James was absorbed in painting abstract ‘mind prints’ that explored the relationship between people and how they are segmented and fragmented. Don’t look too closely for meaning in these works, James freely admits the idea is really only a vehicle to help him apply paint to canvas (or pixels to screen). The relationship exists for him, but it’s so far abstracted that he’s not sure how anyone else could see it.
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