Is art useful or merely decorative?


I'll be teaching a lesson on this in a week or so and I'm just wondering if anyone knows any interesting examples, off the top of your head. Quick example, I once saw an interview with an artist who made suicide machines. -Tasmith

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Hmm, depends on what you mean by "art" and "useful." All visual decisions can be considered art, and you could say that a lot of our world relies on that. So, for example, I'd say that a stop sign is an example of graphic design, therefor art, and is very useful.

And then there are spiritual uses of art. Iconography in Christianity, statues of the Buddha used in shrines, and designs on Tarot cards. Without art you have can be confused as to who you are worshiping or what the cards are reading for your fortune.

-Peter Coene


I believe art is both.

If nothing else, art is useful to me for pounding out new ideas for stories, life plans, etc. as well as for relaxation and pleasure. Not to mention it can be quite addictive for the pleasure it brings. I myself draw and write because it drives me crazy when I don't or can't. So, art can also be therapy for some.

As for being decorative, I think that speaks for itself, especially looking at all the masterpieces I see on this website alone. Art is decoration, 'nuff said.

And let's keep in mind that art is not just pictures of humans or rocks or mountains. Writing is also art. Making faces and being funny is also art. Even talking is art, because it comes from the need to express oneself, and art is expression.

In those regards, art is as useful as it is decorative. There's really no point in pitting usefulness against decoration, because, again, art is both.


Art is useful when it is used for something. The immediate answer is probably Concept Design that is used to inspire ideas which fabricators(in 3d or whatever other medium) can then build as they will.

The problem is that "Art" is a very broad definition: For example even the useful pattern on an old piece of circuit-board could be considered artistic in some light, like an artificial growth of golden vines that infect a plastic surface.

So art can really be anything of aesthetic value and thus both decorative and useful.

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