"Wasted Hours" by Carlee Wormington

The school year is officially back in full swing, and I, for one, am immensely excited to delve in and talk about art. But before we can begin discussing, evaluating, or even appreciating art, it’s important to understand what art is. While on the surface level this may seem like a simplistic question, I believe there’s much more to it than meets the eye.

"Dream Transformation" by Addie Miller

First, a few different interpretations

The Oxford English Dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” I believe this is a good start - “the application of human creative skill” seems pretty broad, and pretty all-encompassing. Before we move on though, I want to offer another take on the matter.

During my enrollment in a philosophy-based high school class called "Theory of Knowledge," I decided that I thought art was anything and everything under the sun - paintings; stories; mops; even physical, naturally-formed mountain ranges. Some people find value in avant-garde modern art such as a broken pair of sunglasses in a museum, while others only appreciate traditional art, like symphony, realist painting, or historical fiction. By leaving the definition of art fully open-ended, I felt that the exclusion of any set of ideals would be released. This way, the discussion could focus on values of the art itself rather than discussion-ending claims like “That’s not art.”

I believe, to have a good discussion about art in this case, we must find some meaning which lies between simply “art is painting and sculpture” and “art is everything.” I’d love to speak more about this, but now I want to explore what the relevance is. What does defining art have to do with Prism Arts and Literary Journal? Where are we taking this?

"Electron Cloud Study" by Sara Kerr

How has Prism defined art in the past?

One thing which restricts the way our humble art and literary journal has qualified art in the past is simply the logistics of it - a print magazine cannot feature sculpture, spoken word, video, music, or other non-2D forms of art the way they are meant to be featured. That said, historically, Prism has featured sheet music written by students, and photographs of sculptures and other 3D creations in the magazine. In addition it has, in a few cases, released CDs and other such things, or held space for 3D artwork at on-campus celebrations and launch parties.

I believe Prism has been relatively open-ended in its definition of art historically, but because of the limitations of the format, we have never quite been able to fully explore the meaning of art in the way it affects anyone and everyone. We are not a gallery, nor a discussion group in the way that we share art with the wider OSU community. But I don’t think we have to stay that way.

"Magazine Grimlen" by Hayden Still

What will Prism be doing to broaden the discussion of “art,” and how do we broaden that discussion anyway?

This year for the first time, Prism will have an online portion of the published magazine, where video artwork, audio artwork, and 3D digital spaces will be able to be featured. Whatever our contributors see as art will have a new platform of distribution, which is very exciting. However, looking back at my high school philosophy class definition, this still doesn’t seem to be enough; not quite all-encompassing.

In addition to new featured online pages to go along with the print addition, Prism will seek to become not only a place for feature but a place for discussion. Through podcasts, videos, events, and other opportunities, Prism will strive to be a place to redefine art: a place to explore what art means and what it does for us as a community.

"Resample" by Angel Black

Enough talk about Prism - why are we defining art anyway?

Art has been around as long as people have been coming together and defining themselves as groups. Maybe even longer, depending on how one looks at it. So whether we like it or not, human societies center and revolve around art of various forms; music, painting, storytelling, and everything else. To be creative is, in a sense, what makes humans human. And I, for one, am here to explore that notion and discover what it means to make art. What it means to be an artist. What it means to be human.

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