Nowadays, most things that involve creativity in the process of creation are considered art, but many people do not share the same opinion when it comes to discussing the notion of art. For instance, art and craft are often considered one and the same, although many people would disagree on this point. So, what are the differences between art and craft, and can these two notions really be regarded as the same?
While art and craft are both regarded as forms of creativity, they have differences that make them two separate notions. In art, the artist expresses their personal emotions through their work. In craft, the craftsman demonstrates a certain technique, learned through a great deal of practice.
In this article, I will discuss the differences between art and craft, and I will explain thoroughly why these two should not be regarded as the same notions.
Through a comparison of both forms of creativity, I will help you understand the main differences between the two. Once you read about the features and purposes of these activities, you will acknowledge why the two cannot be put in the same category.
Table of Contents
What Is Art?
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By a traditional definition, visual art is seen as a personal depiction of particular emotions or ideas represented in a drawing or painting. The artist uses art as a source to show certain feelings or opinions on a canvas, paper, or another type of surface. By an Oxford definition, art is considered everything that represents beauty or emotional power expressed through a painting or sculpture.
However, nowadays, this definition is commonly misinterpreted, and with the appearance of different forms of creativity, the meaning of the definition is quite blurred. In order to make an accurate distinction, you have to acknowledge the main creative visual arts. These are painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography.
To make any of these visual arts, you have to use your creative skill and imagination. In addition, the main purpose when you create a certain form of creative art is to provoke appreciation in people who are observing the same. Also, you have to think about the aesthetic beauty that your piece of art will represent.
In the past, art has revolved more around aesthetic beauty, but contemporary artists nowadays tend to express their emotions and personal beliefs through their work. Therefore, today, you can notice obscure paintings that give you the notion of something dark and twisted and colorful paintings that denote happy feelings and have a joyful impact on the observers. This is a masterful way of representing one’s personal self, and also to impact the public with some important notions that need to be shared widely.
What Is Craft?
When we talk about craft, we usually refer to materiality and craftsmanship. Since there are materials involved, the most common materials used in craftsmanship are glass, fiber, metal, wood, and ceramics. These craft forms also involve creative skill and imagination, but it is significantly different from art.
When it comes to making crafts, the activity is usually associated with free time and a type of hobby. People who do crafts at their homes and in their free time are not considered as artists but people with a certain type of hobby. Although this might not be an opinion that all people share, generally, it is not regarded as a profession.
However, there are people whose occupation is mostly about creating items that require a particular set of skills. That is why it is difficult to make a distinction whether craftsmanship is an art in general or just a creative hobby. Nonetheless, it is clear that without the necessary skills and imagination, you would not be able to create an item that will be used for a certain purpose.
Sometimes, you can hear someone referring to crafts as decorative arts. Since they involve decorations and details that represent art, this title is quite justified. Still, it is not the same as art, and it should be regarded as a separate notion.
Key Differences Between Art And Craft
Considering that it is quite difficult to make a distinction and the fact that most people refer to art and craft as the same notions, it is important to point out the key differences in order to come to an understanding.
When you have a proper comparison of the features involved in both art and craft, you will see that they are significantly different from one another, and you will see that they should not be regarded as one discipline. Below, I have discussed and explained the key differences thoroughly, so it will be more clear.
Meaning: Art vs Craft
When an artist creates a certain piece of artwork, they do not follow instructions or a particular structure. Of course, there are some rules that artists follow, but when they are making a painting, they do not consult a manual for creating the same painting. Therefore, they do it freely as their imagination guides them.
Artists use their emotions or personal ideas and beliefs to create the current painting while following the rules for mixing and applying paint in the appropriate manner. Their main inspiration comes from within themselves, and they create as they find appropriate.
On the other hand, craft refers to an activity, and the item that is usually produced does not carry a particular meaning. Understandably, for the craftsman, the craft that they produced has a certain meaning, but that is not usually visible to other people. In addition, they follow some common rules that apply to materials, so the item would be able to sustain the environmental changes.
In the process of making crafts, the craftsman uses creative skills and might include particular artistic details, but that is not regarded as the true form of art.
Basis: Art vs Craft
In the art world, art is based on creative merit, meaning that the artist uses what is in their head or soul in order to produce something that will reflect those notions. Many times, people refer to creative merit as talent, and it is believed that talent is something people are born with. However, in order to use this talent, an artist has to express it with the right tools on the right surface.
Meanwhile, the craft is based on learned skills and techniques. In order to be able to create different items with selected materials, you have to know the proper methods to achieve that. That is why a craftsperson has to possess a certain set of skills to be able to use them while producing a specific crafting item.
Purpose: Art vs. Craft
As I mentioned before, the purpose of art in the past has been mostly of aesthetic nature, i.e., the focus has been on the aesthetic beauty that the certain piece of art represents. However, nowadays, art is also a form for representing personal ideas and emotions.
On the other hand, the purpose of craft is more leaned towards decorative and functional means. For instance, a craftsman would create something that will take place in your home and serve as a decoration, or it will be used as an aid in the housework chores. Something that is of the nature of art does not serve to be used as an aid but to be visually represented and just observed by others.
Focus: Art vs Craft
The focus in art is accented on emotions and feelings, while the focus in craft is on the usage of the proper tools and materials. An artist tries to find the proper colors and paints to express their feelings, while a craftsman focuses on finding the right tools with which they will be able to model particular materials and produce a certain item.
This being said, it is clear that when it comes to art you need to use innate talent, while when it comes to craft you need to use your knowledge in materials as well as using skills with your hands.
Reproducible Features: Craft vs Art
Pieces of original artwork, such as paintings and sculptures cannot be reproduced. This means that once an artist creates a painting, they can never do it in the same way twice. Even if they try to copy it, the new piece will never be exactly the same.
Meanwhile, when it comes to crafts, they can usually be reproduced. This is due to the fact that they are created by following a certain set of rules for crafting as well as knowledge of the materials in question. If you follow the same measures, you can easily create the same thing multiple times.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you have come to see that art and craft are two completely different notions.
Even though they might seem similar because they involve producing something using one’s creativity, some major distinctions make art and craft separate disciplines. Therefore, they should not be regarded as the same thing.