"Art is a word that immediately scares people off, as being a little too grand. But all I mean by art is writing something that is valuable in itself and that works in itself. The basis of art is truth, both in matter and mode. The person who aims after art in his work aims after truth, in an imaginative sense, no more and no less."
Flannery O'Connor, The Nature and Aim of Fiction, in Mystery and Manners
The question “what is art” can be answered in a thousand different ways, from many varying points of view. All such points all carry an element of weight, especially to the one who formulated the argument; however there must be some linking aspect that makes art art. In Flannery O’Connor’s essay “The Nature and Aim of Fiction”, she discusses the practice of writing and what explains the difference between works of writing that are works of art as opposed to those that are simply writings for monetary gain. Although Flannery O’Connor is speaking about writing, her ideals can also be applied to art. Art as she describes it is “something that is valuable in itself and that works in itself.” Truth must be at the core of art. More than fame or fortune, producing just what is popular for good reviews, the true artist aims solely after truth.
A true piece of art is not something calculated, and there exists no formula for creating a piece of artwork. Art must spring forth organically from its material; therefore it is impossible to create two works alike. A writer is able to place within their work symbols that lead the reader into many varying levels of understanding and comprehension of the work, just as the painter is able to place a deeper meaning and commentary of the surrounding world through their work. In both fields a deeper understanding of the nature of things surrounding us is first and foremost the goal of the artist. It is such passion and commitment to organic creation that gives artwork the life to live on long after the artist has accomplished the work.