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A matter of taste


As an artist, something has always bothered me about the way in which taste is discussed. Many people believe that critics are unnecessary in the world of art and that people should just like what they like. In fact, this is a debate that ranges in many different cultural circles. On one hand, disregarding the critics means that there is no benchmark with which to judge quality.

On the other hand, paying too much attention to critics means that you are not giving people enough credit to judge their own opinions. So what is the answer? Well, the answer is complicated and there may not even be an answer. Critics should have a purpose in this world, but should it be to influence people as much as they do?

Complicated further

What makes this topic even more complicated is the fact that critics are usually all over the place, and even when there is a general consensus, it becomes something that influences social commentary rather than it being an absolute of how good or bad something is.

It is also a matter of wondering if you are wrong for liking something. People often refer to these as guilty pleasures, but should anything you like cause you to feel guilty? Some would say yes, but others would say that it is up to the individual.


Whether you believe the critics or not, there comes a point where taste is subjective and up to the individual. Like what you like, and the critics will do the same.

Modern versus historic


Since cave times, art has been a part of humanity and a way to connect with others and the world around us. We know though anthropological discovery that every culture participated in art in some fashion, and much of it has been recovered throughout time. What we know is that no matter the time frame in which it was created, art has always had the same impact on us as humans.

Now you have the debate about art and how and what is considered art. You get some people who think that art is a painting, a sculpture, a drawing, but you get others that say that art can be as simple as a carving on stone or a cave painting. There is no doubt that both are right, but where do you draw the line between what is modern art and what is ancient art?

The complicated part

Is that the term “modern” is often thrown around casually without the use of context or nuance. You get people that only reserve art for the strictest of definitions, and who call old paintings art, but ancient art. I have a problem with what is considered modern art due to the relativity of the term itself. Art created in prehistoric times were modern for the time, and just because we’ve changed our definition, it doesn’t mean that it can be applied to a historic context.

Ancient art will always be the precursor to modern, so it is time that we, as artists begin to think of both as one rather than separate.


The road problem


As someone with an asphalt driveway and living in the Midwest, expansion and contraction is something that I have had to deal with on a yearly basis. Not only that, the roads on which I drive on in my suburban neighborhood often have to have companies sealcoating potholes with bitumen. With city money tied up in other things, it often takes awhile for the city to get around to repairing the roads.

Not only that, there is an extreme cost associated with repairing roads. Concrete crack repair costs along throughout the city can cost millions of dollars, and with all of that money tied up, it hardly ever gets done. Now the roads are one thing, but my driveway is something else entirely.

The solution to cracked cement

Recently, I learned of an alternative to the concrete driveway that my house came with. Brick tiled driveways do a much better job of retaining heat and stopping the surface from expanding, contracting, and eventually cracking. I was surprised to see that nobody around me had brick driveways, so I decided to give it a shot.

Before I knew it, the whole neighborhood was looking at my driveway and wondering how I had prevented it from cracking over the winter. All I had to do was tell them the science behind it, and they were sold. The Midwest can wreak havoc on driveways as well as roads. And even though we can’t help the road problem, we can give ourselves some breathing room by using brick pavers to do our driveways.


The most important thing to remember when choosing the proper driveway to own, it is essential that you gauge your own living situation and the environment that you are in. It is better that you choose a surface that retains heat when living in cold environments, and one that is able to get rid of heat if your problem is cracking due to the heat.

There are a number of companies out there ready to assist you in making the right decision for your driveway, and experts that can explain the science behind it.


Part of what makes us human


Whether or not we know this or want to believe it, art is a very important part of what makes us human. Part of every known civilization, even during prehistoric times, art has been used as a way for people to communicate and describe the world around them. And as advanced as we may think we are today, we are still the same primates that we have always been. Well, sort of.

Modern art is only different now because the way the world is shaped is different. Think about this for a second, describe something that you have never seen before. Much like a tree falling in the woods, if you haven’t seen or experienced it, how can you possibly depict it. That is what makes art so amazing, seeing the world through a different lens.

Which lens is which?

This is sort of a trick question, because the answer is essential that while each lens is different, they are still all really the same. Each lens is an artists’ view of the world and their ability to depict it. This is why we should continue to appreciate art and keep teaching it to young people, because at the end of the day, life is just a series of sensory inputs that we interpret as living.

What art does for us is so much more than a form of entertainment. I helps us become one with humanity and understand people that view the world differently. And while this can be scary, different, or unnerving at times, it is an essential part in helping us define just who we are.