Essay Rant

Rant from my blogger blog, posted a couple of days ago. I was a bit peeved…

So today I spent my time at home adding to my bibliography, and gathering points for my essay. I’m gradually going mad and rapidly losing faith in the whole idea of the essay. The essay brief is to compare two different drawings,one contemporary and one historical.

Except the historical ones have to be from the 20th Century, meaning a drawing made after my birth, in 1997 for example, would still be considered historical. I’m 19.


Pedantics aside, the whole concept of a drawing, a concept which was always fairly concrete in my mind, has been completely upended. I was perfectly happy, and content, and otherwise unhindered by the notion that a drawing is anything made with a drawing implement. But that does no longer apply, after sitting through a two hour lecture seemingly refuting the criteria necessary for something to be described as a “drawing”.

By the end of it me and my peers started asking ourselves questions like “is life a drawing?” or “is breathing a drawing?”. “Hey it’s a linear motion it must be.” All this debate and philosophy over something which is completely inconsequential in every way.

So looking at the essay and seeing that I had to pick drawings specifically, I was, and am, a bit confused. After seeing this lecture I assumed, whilst not fully agreeing, that anything could be counted as a drawing at least for this purpose, but apparently this essay brief is based on the conventional sense of drawing, the convention that it has to be of pencil, or pastel, or so on. The convention that you just spent two hours disproving.

Stretching the definition of “drawing” is fine and good, if a little bit pointless (what does it matter what it’s called?), but to then set an essay based on the very boundaries that that lecture sought to dissolve is basically madness.

I’ve found my pictures, I’m happy with what drawing is to me and I’m happy with the fact that that’s all I need, but why do we need to put so much value into artistic categories, or even the absence of them? Categories are designed to categorise. Not to strive for. Why is it more desirable to call something a drawing, rather than accept that it is a man walking through a field? Yes it’s a good idea, and yes it’s perfectly valid, but it isn’t a drawing. But That does not diminish it’s value.

The only reason I can think of for widening the category of drawing rather than simply justifying or creating your own category is that you don’t fully believe that your art holds value in it’s own right. So to strengthen it you call it a drawing, to tap into the centuries-old consensus that drawing is a superior and non disputable form of art.

Personally I disagree that it’s a drawing. Personally I don’t like that kind of art, because it’s a gimmick and it’s one step closer to an art industry that favours philosophers and politicians over skilled practitioners. But ignoring my opinion, if you believe in that kind of art, then believe in it, and call it what it is. Call it a performance, a painting, or a photo of a man walking through a field. This expansion and acceptance of anything as a drawing is doing the exact same thing to the category of “drawing” as contemporary hyper-conceptual art is doing to the art industry as a whole. Diluting it.

Let the other categories be and have faith in your own, even if people like me don’t.

Rant over for today.

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