We showed the shell artwork Granty creates to Emma. She looked at it, very interestedly. Granty told her a little bit about how she made them. Emma, big blue eyes wide, took it all in. Finally I asked her what she thought about all this art.
I pushed a little. Emma announced it was pretty and she liked all the shells and the way the colors looked. And that the shells were shiny. And the sand Granty uses as background in may of her works.....but, they were not art. Now, Dear Reader, this was said in a firm and exceedingly confident voice. Emma knew what was art and THAT WAS NOT IT. I am the first person to defend any one's take on what constitutes art to that individual person. Art is, we all know, very subjective. If Granty's work was not art to Emma, so be it. Four-year-olds aren't usually that, er, what's the word I want here.....critical? Secure in their own taste? Emma, however, is. Very sure. Very, very sure.
Granty's canvases were pretty and she truly liked them, but THEY WERE NOT ART. Nope. Not art. Not at all.
We had to know what was Emma's definition of art and why didn't Granty's things live up to that (apparently) very high, Emma set, bar!
After a lot of questioning and conversation it came out that art is sparkly. Art is glittery. Art fairly glows. Disneyland is art. The opening credits of any Disney movie, with the castle and the fireworks and the fairy dust and the glitz is art, to Emma. Granty's work was, alas, pretty but not glittery or sparkly. It did not shriek of fireworks and Tinkerbell's fairy dust or anything. It was just shells.
So, the photo below is art. To Emma.
(It's a lovely photograph of Disneyland taken by someone with the Flickr name of 'Mastery of Maps'. Please give the photographer due credit for a lovely photo.)
And how did I come to feel the need to share this with you, you ask, Dear Reader? Well, every time I look at my Christmas tree and my eye falls upon a glittery ornament, or I look at the beautiful silver glass glitter stars I both saw and bought when I was at Wendy Addison's Theatre of Dreams last August, or a bit of glitter falls from a Christmas card I received in the morning mail, I think back to Emma and her very sure definition of art.
Christmas is an arty time, isn't it? I hope your Holidays are twinkling and sparkling and joyful. And full of art.