I like that picture quite a bit, it must have been fun to see. It does raise some interesting questions as to the nature of art, after all, we photographers are primarily in the business of documenting 'found' naturally occurring scenes and calling it art. If a wild elephant happened to have made some interesting construction of flowers, fruits. leaves and such and one of us were to come along and document it in some compositionally interesting manner, print it big and then hang it in a show, no one would bat an eye at calling it 'art'. Same with a tame elephant, so one could argue that a photo of that canvas, regardless of the elephants 'intent' (whatever that means could arguably be called 'art', so why not the canvas itself?
Note that I'm not taking a position on this, but it is an interesting line of inquiry.
Well I'm glad at least someone likes it .
What is and isn't art is a terrible question to answer. I'd prefer to approach it from an agreed definition of art. It's much easier to determine whether something that is claimed to be a work of art meets the requirements of a particular definition. Without a clear definition, one tends to endlessly go round in circles.
If we take the first definition in the Oxford English Dictionary: 1. Skill in doing anything as the result of knowledge and practice.
, then in order for the elephant painting in my shot to meet the requirements of 'art' according to that definition, we would have to accept that an elephant is capable of knowledge.
What do you think? Does an elephant possess knowledge? The elephant in my photo has probably had plenty of practice at painting, with a bit of help from its trainer and it obviously posseses a certain skill with that flexible trunk.
If we consider the second definition of art in the Oxford Dictionary, 2. Human skill as an agent, human workmanship. Opposed to nature
, then clearly by that definition, the elephant painting is not art.
Likewise, if we consider the fourth definition, 4. Skill in applying the principles of a special science; technical or professional skill
, then I don't think the elephant painting quite makes it.
photo of the elephant would meet the requirements of all three definitions to be called art. By another definition it may not.
Here's the blow-up of the painting. There's a certain art in my reproducing that here.