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What does 'Fine Art' mean?

Fine Art Vs Art: What elevates the ordinary?

The term ‘Fine Art’ can seem a bit odd once you say it a few times.  

‘Fine’ as in okay, or ‘Fine’ as in elevated, or ‘Fine’ as in exquisite…or how ‘Fine’ is often used to explain to your partner that you are in fact annoyed, but don’t want to say you are annoyed. 

‘Babe sorry to cancel our anniversary dinner tonight, but Jeff has tickets to the game.’

‘Oh does he now, well fine, go then. No really, it's FIIIIIINNNEE’ (We all know that in actuality it is not fine, and they are in trouuuuble ooooo.)

But in all seriousness who defines what is ‘Fine Art’? What does that even mean? Is it just an opinion? Is there someone who decides like, *slides into DM’s* ‘Damn gurl, that art is fiinneee’

Or is it more like *posh voice* ‘oh yes, yes, this artwork is very fine, very fine indeed!’’

The honest answer is that ‘Fine Art’ really can be anything, but it is not everything. Confused yet? 


What is considered as Fine Art?


Traditionally speaking, ‘Fine Art’ refers to art that is created primarily for intellectual discussion, aesthetics, and involves conceptual depth, creativity, and skilled technique. It can encompass various forms such as; sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, and more recently, digital and new media art. It also includes dance, theatre, and opera.


‘But what about splatter art?!’ I hear you shout from the rafters. ‘What about giant porcelain noodles, and cans of soup? Anyone could do that!’ 


And you are absolutely right, anyone can toss paint on a bit of page and call it art, but not everyone would be revered like Jackson Pollock. This is where the intention of the artist infuses the art with more than just the visuals. The gray space between conventional art and ‘Fine Art’ is often interpretation, emotion, and intention. 

‘But what about glass blowing, woodwork, and pottery, these art forms are skilled and stunning too?’ 


Correct! They are skilled artforms that take staggering amounts of technique, but as they are also utilitarian and have a practical use they traditionally wouldn’t be categorised as ‘Fine Art’. That doesn’t mean that utilitarian art can’t be ‘Fine Art’, but it’s just not the norm. 

So, is there a difference between Fine Art & Art?


Welcome to the Grey Area, please have a seat. 


Art at its core is not black or white, the whole concept of art is to push boundaries and evoke emotion, so therefore cannot be one thing. Art is subjective and is ever-evolving, and contemporary art is at the forefront of blurring the boundaries. 


‘You are speaking in riddles and haven’t answered my question, who decides what is ‘Fine Art’ and what is just ‘Art’!’


Well, in a word….YOU! Well, not you alone, or you specifically, but you and others like you, who place value on art by wanting it in your life. Let me explain…


‘Fine Art’ is characterised by several key elements, has certain criteria, and even certain mediums, but none of it is worth anything without the ‘eye of the beholder’. The most stunning, talented, extraordinary artists in history die penniless, because their artwork wasn’t valued in their lifetime. 


We, Us, YOU, are what ultimately propel artwork into the ‘Fine Art’ category by giving it worth through our own interpretation, our own emotions, and our deep connection with the piece. Whether it be a meticulous painting done by a master in the Renaissance, or a contemporary Krump dance piece about overdosing in Brooklyn, both evoke emotion, take skill to master, articulate cultural dissonance, have intention, and push creative boundaries, which is what makes ‘Fine Art’, Fine. 


Look, I get it, it’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but that’s kind of the point. Noone should tell you what art SHOULD be or what it MUST be, art is about resonating with something and appreciating it for what it is. 


‘But then why is some ‘Fine Art’ so ruddy expensive?!’ 


Yeah that’ll be your fault too, I’m afraid. Expensive art is arguably no better than affordable art. But supply and demand plays a part. If the art resonates with a wider audience, then the value of the art increases. So just by the act of loving a piece of art, you have increased its value globally. Banksy is a perfect example. Their art is strewn on pavement, hidden is wee soaked doorways, and yet, is arguably one of the most recognisable and sought after artists of our time. We did that. We placed value on their artform and created ‘Fine Art’ from something that in the 1980s would have been painted over by an annoyed council worker. 


The point I am trying to make here is that just because a piece of artwork is expensive and considered ‘Fine Art’ doesn’t mean it will resonate with you. In my humble opinion the point of investing in artwork is to find pieces that evoke joy, sadness, love, and excitement. This is why at Shiver we sell affordable ‘Fine Art’. We showcase artists that we love, who make us feel all the feels, and we want to share their skill and talent with the wider world. We hope that one, or two, or ALL of our artists push your boundaries, make you feel something, and inspire you to bring art into your life. Because to us, that is what makes ‘Fine Art’ Fine.


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