There were three venues for this word when I was a boy:
is it art or science,
art for art’s sake
and Art Carney, Jackie Gleason’s upstairs neighbor in the Honeymooners.
The word has, in my later life, been given another place: people will come up to my stuff when I have it displayed and call it art.
I don’t know what to do with this last reference. Art has been in my mind with the means of achieving it (art or science) and with the end result and its effects (art for art’s sake). The third reference is a single example of art that I actually got. So, how or why art is achieved has circled around and around in my mind and heart.
Art in itself, in other words, has been an enigma to me. I know that the way to art can be mysterious. Also, art stands on its own two feet whether, for instance, it is viewed as economically valuable or not. I know that I have been affected by art. Someone’s vision has caused me to see my worldview pierced and reoriented. It has caused my feelings to be scrambled (Guernica did that to me).
Still, I don’t view myself as an artist in all the senses of the word. There are people that I have met who have a dialogue with the long history of artists. I just don’t have that kind of understanding or feeling. I would just have to classify myself as a craftsman who has received gifts from those around him that have allowed him to find materials and shapes that have moved others In my life, that is art.