Is it good or bad?

Jackson Pollock

You have probably wondered countless times what it is that distinguishes the good art from the bad.

Is it the timeless quality of a painting? Is it the perfect depiction of a nose, eye, mouth or hands in a classical art piece? Is it originality? Can one say that an art work is good because it exudes passion, or because its subject is one that we can recognise or associate with?

A friend of mine could never understand how an abstract painting could be considered good. He would argue, “Oh, I could paint that myself.” “That is besides the point”, I’d retort. A good abstract artist has the ability to get their message across using elements that are not immediately recognisable. It is not because they cannot draw or paint a decent nude or still life, but because they have done enough of that and have evolved from it.

It is true that it is definitely easier to define quality in art that is representational or realistic rather than that which is modern or abstract. But at the end of the day it all boils down to developing an eye for knowing what is good and bad. The more you look at art – whatever its form or genre – the better you will become at telling the good from the bad.

What makes good art? Watch this space for answers from art world professionals next.