What is art and what isn’t?

The definition of art is still debatable and has changed over the centuries. Most people now agree that art is the expression or application of human imagination and skill. The end product is made to be appreciated for the beauty or emotional power it has. An artist’s role is to make a change through what he/she does. It influences people, sells things and simply just makes life better.

What is art and what isn’t? Where do we draw the line nowadays?

Historically the oldest art discovered in a South African cave is a series of tiny, drilled snail shells, which date back 75,000 years. The three branches of are are:

  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Architecture

But forms such as theatre, film, music, dance, other performing arts, literature, and interactive media also exist. They are included in a broader definition of the arts.

In my opinion, these will always be considered as an art no matter how much time passes or which century (for example the Caesar Casino century) we live in.

Today art is limitless and has many forms, from the typical painting and sculpting to anamorphosis (drawing portraits which can only be understood from a certain angle) and sand animation art. Experts and ordinary people’s opinion on art differ. For example, street art like graffiti is illegal in most countries and is a punishable crime, although it is considered art.

Some unusual activities which are considered to be art nowadays are:

  • Photorealism – creating lifelike images usually of photographs. It began to develop in the 1960s. Art critics though don’t think it is an art, but rather think it represents the artist’s mechanical proficiency than his/her style and ideas.
  • Anamorphosis – the technique of drawing images, which can only be understood from a specific point or angle. It makes typical two-dimensional images look like 3D. One of the earliest examples of anamorphosis was displayed in the 15th century by Leonardo DaVinci.
  • Reverse 3D imaging – it is basically reverse anamorphosis. It makes three-dimensional images look like paintings or drawings. The most well-known artist in this area is Alexa Meade.
  • Shadow Art – these artists use normal objects, carefully positioning them in order to produce shadow images of people, places or words. Well-known shadow artists include Fred Eerdekens and Kumi Yamashita
  • Body Art illusion – body painting has been around since the Ancient Egyptians and the Mayans. The most developed form is body art illusion. It involves using the human body as a canvas and making it blend in or deceive the people around you.
  • Light painting – It entered the art world in 1935 when Man Ray took a picture of himself while he was surrounded by swirling lights by using an open camera shutter. The art form has become an online trend and it has a bright future ahead of it.


Different people draw the line between, what is art and what isn’t, differently. I think we should separate the art from life because if we don’t then the art itself won’t evolve and we would be robbing ourselves of so much. Evolution is key in everything including art.