The Imaginary Friends Society

What is Art?

by Alexandre on Jun 7, 2017

If you go out in the streets and ask people how they define art, there is a good chance you will have many different definitions, the most common one being something like ‘Art is Beauty.’

This is a rather elegant definition. After all, for most of its history, art was thought as making pleasant music, painting, or sculpture representing an idealised reality, and so on… However, this vision of art came to an end when reality reproduction techniques (photography, sound records…) appeared. A revolution, really. From then, art needed another definition, and no-one could agree.

The old definition, though, was no more, and the twentieth century’s avant-garde made sure of it: cubism, futurism, abstract art… The coup de grâce was given by Marcel Duchamp and his famous ready-made installation Fontaine: a urinal, taken out of its context, exposed in a museum. The statement was clear: ‘Art isn’t about beauty. Deal with it.’

In the game industry, a standard definition emerged. Game art is about visuals. It is an additional layer, bound to dress up the content. We think it is wrong for two reasons:

  1. It doesn’t accurately describe the work of graphists, which can be very technical and not artistic (when a ‘game artist’ spends months working on clouds, it clearly isn’t art).
  2. It ignores the fact that other team members’ work can equally be artistic (think about the background music, the scenario, the gameplay itself, or even sometimes the programming).

Now, when we say our mission is to change people’s lives through art, we hope you’re not understanding we mean to change lives through visuals.

Hence the need for a clean definition. Ours is as follows:

Art is about expression through emotions.

This is why it can change lives. Touch people emotionally, express something —an idea, a message, a core value—, and you can affect how they see certain things, how they feel, how they react. This is the true power of art.