Art vs. Craft

What distinguishes art from craft?

We tend to think of art with an air of mystery and spontaneity. Art is created and developed, but is difficult to teach or impart. An art form usually starts off as a feeling in the artist’s mind that is given release through an artifact or a performance.

A craft is the means through which an art form turns formalized and codified. A craft has explicit rules and principles that a teacher can impart to students.

Once we understand an art form well enough, we often turn it into a craft. To be an artist is to create your own style of painting while a craftsperson studies the methods that Picasso or Monet once evolved.

Why does this distinction matter?

We often confuse art with craft. Treating art as craft can reduce it from the majestic to the mundane. Treating a craft as art is also wasteful because the practitioner is likely to lack the discipline and rigour that a craft demands.

Before you set out on a creative journey, it helps to clarify whether you seek to become an artist or a craftsperson.

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