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Commercial art alone is art

Updated on April 21, 2009

Commercial art alone is art, where there is asking and providing, payment and acquisition.


Detached from any commercial motive, applications of human skill such as painting, poetry, music, architecture, sculpture, insofar as these applications are spontaneous and spring from an inner need, are but acts of self-indulgence. Unlike the very purposeful exertions required of and seen in commercial art, these are free-flowing and visceral activities and can be likened to seemingly passive engagements, to wit, the experience of gazing at the huge waves of the ocean, hearing their roar and feeling the breeze, or that of receiving the first warm rays of the Sun on a cold morning. These events are not dissimilar to the effort of a painter or a sculptor. Everything is there – the painter and the sculptor, the medium and its transformation, and the experience. The effort or effortlessness is the distinguishing element. Effort is art, and effortlessness is not art, but perhaps nature.

Commercial art indulges an outside agent who commissions the deed and hence pays, not just for its commission, but for its acquisition. The transaction is therefore just. On the contrary, if an artist brings forth a creation that pleases him or, as may sometimes be the case, enables the sublimation of an impulse or experience, then why should that creation come to the market for sale? By its very process of being born, the creation has achieved its end and has no further purpose to serve.

When an artist displays works of his creation, in all fairness, he must wait to see who among the audience admire them the most or, more precisely, whom they please the most, and give them away to those appropriate members of the audience.

When you write a poem for your beloved, is it an expression of your love, your devotion? Or, is it a demonstration of your literary skill? Is your beloved to be overwhelmed by your pure love, or impressed by your brilliant imagination?

When we write music and books, paint pictures, take photographs, capture moving pictures and cause such creations to exist, we most certainly experience immense pleasure and satisfaction. What right have we to sell them and make money? They should be free and freely accessible to all. All music, art and literature that was born of an inner urge of a vibrant human being should be widely distributed to ensure their universal enjoyment.


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    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 

      7 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      just amazing

    • Zubyre profile image

      Zubyre Parvez 

      8 years ago from East London

      hi vaidy, nice prosaic style to your writing. I wrote a hub about what is beauty, on a similar theme acutally, welcome to check it out. zub.

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      hi lovezan,

      I am glad you enjoyed reading the hub. I shall certainly visit your page.


    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      No I was never on a debate team. But conversations with friends often feature debates.

      I spent a few months in Austin, Texas from Dec 1999 to April 2000. Missed Houston unfortunately.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Many hugs back! LOL

      Nature's art; the little girls art; the famous art painting that sells for millions of dollars and art created by elephants. All art. Some good and some bad..........but even that is open to interpretation and what one person likes another may despise or think it is just plain crazy.

      Were you on a debate team? (Smile)

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Peggy,

      A rainbow and a sunset - Are these nature or art or Nature’s art?

      A little girl draws a rainbow – how do we describe that effort or expression?

      What is priceless to the parent of that little girl – the rainbow drawing or a painting by a popular artist bought for $500?

      There is no consensus on the definition of art and the debate continues. (How interesting it is to find that 'art', 'artifice' and 'artificial' all share common Latin roots!) Mine is a tiny attempt to that debate, to discover aspects and points for possible agreement.

      Hugs are the most precious gifts from a fellow being. I accept yours with joy and gratitude. But why just one? In anticipation of many more, here I send mine. May they waft gently through and wrap you with warmth and affection.



    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is certainly a unique view of what should be called art. I think that some of my fellow artist friends would disagree with your interpretation. But hey! Everyone has a right to their own opinion.

      Personally I have sold some of my art, have given much away and regularly donate it to charities to raise funds for good causes. Most of it was created because I simply liked it. I have also done some commission work. I guess the latter by your definition would have been the only art out of this mixture?

      G-Ma is not the only one that can give hugs. Here's another one. LOL

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Zsuzsy,

      I have a feeling that one is missing, quite accidentally I would suppose, the central point. (For the most part, you and I are in agreement.) In fact, the title says it unambiguously. My main argument is that commercial art alone deserves to be called art. I am also saying that the transaction that takes place in a commercial-art scenario is a just transaction. I am only saying positive things about commercial art. It is only with the other kind, the creation that one brings forth through an inner urge, that I am raising questions. In fact, I am saying that all painting, poetry and sculpture that are created spontaneously, to satisfy an inner desire, ought not to be called art.

      To sum up, I am saying that an activity such as your tailoring, with its elements of design and creativity, is art, because there is a conscious application of a human skill, and you meet a need of another. Alongside this, I am placing another human activity, in which the agent brings forth a creation, apparently for his or her own sake, and finds it a delightful experience. And, I am asking the question: How could this creation come to the market?

      Commercial Art = Art

      All other creations = Not Art

      Thanks and warmest regards - Vaidy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Vaidy... What one perceives as art does not necessarily mean the other will see the same way.

      I think that a perfectly written and illustrated commercial piece has just as much right to call itself art as it is only perfect if it relays what it is meant to relay. The wine maker can see his perfectly set up vineyard as art and so can the bridge-builder... everything can be seen as art it just depends on who is looking.

      I fought my Dad tooth and nails about wanting to take art classes instead of sewing. He won, at the time I thought I lost... for thirty some years I worked as a tailor... it was only after a couple of years working at it that I realized I had a real knack for it, I found out that it came easy to me, that I was really good at it. I was able to raise my three children on it... so in the long run I think I won. But throughout all those years I was happiest when I was "art-sing" (not a real word I know but...) always wishing I had the time ($) for "real art".

      Then a couple of years ago a customer opened my eyes when she said that the wedding dress I had made for her 22 years ago was still the piece of art now as it had been when it was originally made... (both her daughters wore it for their weddings)

      With other words art is in the eye of the beholder... commercial or otherwise. You do what you have to do and in that you have to set your mind at peace and say "This is the type of art I'm doing now and eventually I will do 'real art' the kind I really love"

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi G-Ma,

      There must be some telepathy between us. Every time I write a hub I think of you. And here you are with the first comment on my new hub.

      I have no complaints about commercial art. It can be effective and entertaining and lucrative. My point is that commercial art alone is art, when you apply the strictest definition.What prompted me to write this hub was that I find many people who pursue commercial art for a living are not truly joyful about what they do. They would rather be a different writer, a different artist from the one they are. They feel this conflict and sometimes suffer deeply. Those who manage to strike a balance between what they do for a living and what they do for their true inner pleasure find their happiness and peace. As for me, I do all my commercial writing out of a sense of commitment and from a desire to do the best I can and, most important, to give the best possible value for my client's money. I do not love it, nor do I treasure it. I store work samples for the sake of presenting a portfolio, to convince prospective clients of my potential. On the other hand, what little I have done, purely a labour of love, I have truly enjoyed and will always cherish.

      I am fine. I am positive that you are doing great, as your joyful and generous distribution of hugs demonstrates.


    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Hi sweetie....hummmm? In a way I agree, my meager paintings are mostly from my pleasures and to give to my loved ones and friends, which I have done, but when it is available to make gift cards and sell them so they can be shared by many, why not?

      My son-in-law is a wonderful graphic artist, and so I guess that comes under commercial art though, but if he hadn't had the desire and the talent to draw he wouldn't be making what he does to care for his family. It runs in his family actually...

      So in the beginning when one draws they need to get feed back to see who likes what...what people like? what comes natural to them and then to try different mediums. Do You Draw? Hun.

      For me poetry is just feelings that are bottled up inside me and need to come out, be free, leave me alone, hurt etc...cause I am not truly a writer, but I sure can rattle on...

      Hope all is well and is so good to see you here...Miss you...G-Ma :O) Hugs


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