Desk Doodle–or–What is ART?

I sat down in my desk at school last week, fully ready and eager to give input on the discussion the class was about to have, when I was suddenly distracted; there was a doodle on my desk which–despite its lack of complexity and slight smudge from previous seat-occupants–was actually pretty good. I sat and admired, quickly snapping a picture before class began. As I half-listened to my professor talk about Frederick Douglass and the (not so) Civil War, I contemplated this little gem I had stumbled across;

Who had drawn this? How long had it taken? What was their inspiration? Was their class really that bad?


I spun over it, butterflies flapping away at my stomach as I rehearsed all of the fun things I could write about regarding this simple desk-doodle, when I stopped and pondered; was this really art? I write about art, and though there are a lot of things I myself would consider to be art (have you heard of eye bombing?!), I wondered if others’ opinions might not be so lax? After all, I had read an article a while back that stated that a four-year-old girl’s doodle paintings were art (and selling for $24,000 mind you! It’s okay, all other striving artists can just find the nearest bridge), so I couldn’t decide where the rest of the world stands.

The dictionary says this:



  1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture,…: “the art of the Renaissance”
  2. Works produced by such skill and imagination.
craft – skill – artifice – science – workmanship – knack

What do YOU say?


3 thoughts on “Desk Doodle–or–What is ART?

  1. For me, art is the expression of the soul through any medium. It could be a doodle on a desk (I am guilty of sketching whole worlds on desks in school!), a poem, a painting, an etching, a piece of pottery, a sculpture, a photograph, even a found object that you appropriate and stage in a new context (take, for instance, Marcel Duchamp’s urinal). Now, whether or not this expression is good is entirely subjective. Sure, there are such things as draftsmanship, perspective, originality, etc. etc. etc., but if the artisan makes you think or celebrate art for art’s sake or crap for crap’s sake, then I think the medium is doing its job.

    • Very well put. It’s like with the eye bombing–the art appreciation comes from within me, at that point it doesn’t matter if it’s formally considered “art,” what matters is that I’m moved, and inspired, and thinking about it days later, smiling to myself. Great answer!

  2. Pingback: Brain picker: a few ART favorites | artrenotoday

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