What is Art?

The question: “What Is Art”? Has been asked for centuries. I have a simple answer to it: “Art is the response elicited by a creative endeavor”.

Be it a painting, photograph, drawing, sculpture, print, dance, song, poem, or a meal prepared by someone. If the audience of one or more deems that endeavor a success or a failure it qualifies for the moniker: Art.

The way a work of art affects us is what I mean. There must be contained therein after witnessing a work of art, a feeling or thought, something that has a positive or negative push for us.

When someone stands in the Sistine Chapel in The Vatican and looks up for their first time at Michelangelo’s creation it hits many like a ton of bricks. That is a creation possessing the ‘OH WOW’ factor.


Sistine Chapel Ceiling (The Creation), The Vatican

Many times in my life music has had that effect on me. The first time I heard ‘Gee’ by The Crows I had to hear it again and again so I went to the record store and bought a copy. This was in early 1954 when I was five years old.

Someone’s age and art can combine to affect a person’s view of the world and perhaps help make it a better place for them and others.

It is with reverence for the creators of art that we look to them in our times of need to help us through whatever is bothering us. I love to go to the DIA (Detroit Institute of Art) and gaze at the wonderful Impressionist paintings on display there; they have such a calming effect on people, including me.

‘Summer’ 1893 Thomas Dewing

‘Woman in an Armchair’, Pierre-Auguste Renior 1879

‘Woman With a Parasol’, Claude Monet

A 16th Century copper plate engraving by J. Goerec

The time it takes to make a fabulous meal is time well spent and I believe should be rewarded with accolades for the chef. The art of cooking is one of the most important arts. The sustenance of life is in the balance there and makes a good chef a saint in my opinion.

Grilled Spring Lamb Salad

Rissoto Tomato Sauce and Basil Leaves

On the other side of Art is the hand made activity of Sculpture. I believe this art is so difficult to follow in the exact replication of an image from life that the finished product can awe the viewer.

Michelangelo’s Moses

The Dance such as Ballet can have a rousing effect or a calming effect on the audience depending on the choreography and performance given by the artists involved.

The Dance in and of itself is an ancient art, one of love and seduction as in the Egypt of 4000 years ago. Or a story telling vehicle to depict events in modern society. Difficult to excel in and very strenuous on the participants this art form is to me a favorite.

The drawn subject can be almost anything when one can draw it is a unique talent. I knew people in art school that could actually draw people’s faces perfectly. I was so jealous of them and their talent that I was glad I was a photographer.

Drawing of a Teenage girl, artist unknown.

For the drawing above and the photograph below I’ll add a phrase from a poem by John Keats: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,- that is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”

Emily 1996, photograph by Tom Weschler

Art, what a concept?!


Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler
Tom Weschler is a professional photographer known for his photography of entertainment and music bands and singers. He studied at Oakland University and taught photography at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Tom was Bob Seger’s road manager and photographer in the 1960s and 1970s. Weschler published a book named Travelin’ Man, a photo collection on Bob Seger’s career, which includes a foreword by John Mellencamp and an afterword by Kid Rock. A new book of Tom’s is soon to be released, In the Blink of an Eye: Photographs 1964 -2014, as well as future books on music, art, and fashion models. He is also currrently working on two movie projects.

Latest articles


Related articles