Is Advertising Art?
Art is the product of energy and creativity. Everything is art. Think of it this way, if you go to an art show, you are likely to see paintings and portraits of landscapes or other scenery. If the painting of a landscape is most definitely art, then wouldn’t the actual physical mountain or lake that painting is of be a form of art as well? Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was a famous American painter who once defined art as “filling a space in a beautiful way”. So if we were to say the painting of a lake fills the space in a beautiful way, then it’s quite obvious that the item the painting was inspired from fills the space in a beautiful way as well. Just think of the landscape as your canvas, and the lake or mountain as the focal point. Some may further argue that even if the mountain or lake fills the space in a beautiful way, how are they the product of energy and creativity? We just have to look to our current understanding of the environment for our answer. For that mountain range to rise, or for that lake to form, it did indeed require energy. To raise a mountain, tectonic plates must shift underground expending energy for thousands of years to give rise to that new mountain. For a lake to form, water must flow from higher elevations to lower elevations, and while that water is moving, is it not a form of kinetic energy? But, the inquisitive mind must be thinking… How is it possible for our earth to be creative? Typically we think of creativity as a trait of mammals, and not a trait of the earth itself. And honestly, there is varying definitions of creativity. But in multiple sources you can find a description similar to the one stated by the Merriam-Webster dictionary and that is “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas”. It has already been demonstrated above that the earth itself does indeed have the ability to create new things. It doesn’t matter if you believe in some supreme power or the process of evolution, either way, that mountain or lake was at some point, created.
If the above definition of art and creativity is accepted, then everything is a form of art, advertisements included. It would be impossible for anyone to say the creation of an advertisement does not require energy and creativity. To design an effective advertisement, the producer of that work must analyze many factors before even beginning the process of creation. They must review the goals of the project that is laid out by the company requesting the ad, they must research and understand the target audience, and they must form an emotional bond with the product so that they can then start to think of new ideas or concepts that will reach that target consumer while staying within the requirements of the company requesting the ad. Think of it this way, the person creating the ad takes some input (scope of project, target market, research data, past advertisements, former knowledge, etc) and then creates some output (the final advertisement). The combination of their creative forces and the energy they expend produces a brand new concept in the form of a unique advertisement. This is the same process someone would go through to create a painting of a lake, or even an abstract painting of some yet-to-be-defined concept or expression. In the case of a lake painting the artist would take some input (a view of the lake, knowledge of shapes and shadowing techniques, different colors of paint, etc) and then expends energy to create some output (the painting of the lake). Or for an abstract painting of a new concept never before expressed, the artist still takes some input (elements he/she has experienced in their life, artistic knowledge, colors or material to be used, the minds eye view of what they want to express, etc) and then spends his/her energy on creating the output (the portrayal of their concept in some viewable format).
If you deny that advertising is art, then art in itself does not exist. By no means do I mean that advertising defines art, but what I have tried to express above is that what it takes to create an ad, is the same energy and creativity it takes to create a mural, painting, song, or any other type of accepted artistic expression. It is only the forces of society and culture which make us inclined to deny the fact that advertising is art. But if you really critique the components of what makes something a piece of art, you will come to the conclusion that art is everything, art is everywhere, and everything is art.
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