An Unlikely Answer To "What is Art?"

An Unlikely Answer To "What is Art?"

My first paper of college prompted much needed introspection.
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In only my first week of college, and my second class period of the week, I was greeted by a question I had not considered in quite a long time. It had been proposed by my English professor in hopes to spark discussion and mindset among the group of thirty in the class, and came as a minor shock to think that this would be what the first hour and fifteen minutes and one page paper of English 111 would consist of. It was a question that was oddly relevant to what I wish to achieve in the future for myself as a film critic (or critic of general pop culture), and yet not related at all in the grand scheme of things.

He asked: "What is art?"

You can imagine my confusion when it came to the idea that this was a topic of discussion in a class where writing was the primary focus, but I let him go on. A few well off paintings were displayed on the bigger screen, and he asks us again- what is art? Bare in mind I had known that we would have a paper to write on this topic, and so my mind was already racing with ideas and yet I could not justifiably define art. It is only at the end of the class that he clarifies the exercise. In order to write, he said, we must first become capable of forming our own opinions.

And what irony does that hold in my life at this time in particular when I thought about where I wish to be in a decade or so., and in order for an opinion to be formed.

And so the following day I sit in the student lounging area and listen to the designated speech i which our first paper is centered around- Neil Gaiman’s Keynote Address at the University of the Arts, 2012. To my surprise, I already had an unlikely definition of what art is, and it goes by the name Srdjan Spasojevic.

Srdjan Spasojevic is one of the most infamous film makers of the twenty first century, one that I aspire to one day have the pleasure of interviewing (quite a long shot if you ask me, what with the language barrier and everything but that is a story for another time). He is most well known due to his movie, “A Serbian Film” or “Srpski Film” which tells the story of a former adult film star who is forced to commit insane acts of violence such as rape, murder, and eventually incest. No surprise to the audience, the film was banned in multiple countries; however, that does not make it any less artistic to me.

Now I know what you may be thinking- how in the world can something so vulgar be “art”? That’s insane! It should be condemned!

Well, you’re right. The acts should be condemned, but what Spasojevic did with the acts, the way they were framed were done justly, and in the name of art, and listening to Gaiman's speech, it dawned on me that this was my own personal “definition” of the arts- Spasojevic’s film style.

In Gaiman’s speech, he states “When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing.” I believe this is relevant for anything within the realm of creating and not just art in itself. He goes on to explain that if you don’t know the rules, you don’t know where to start, you have no barriers, no perimeters, and you will go on to exceed them because you don’t know when to stop. Spasojevic had done this when he created his first and only feature length film of his career, and it went on to Cannes where it was later banned. His mission was to tell the story of Belgrade through the most taboo situation, and do so effectively so the audience left what the country had felt at one point under the government.

In his speech, Gaiman says “I got out into the world, I wrote, and I became a better writer the more I wrote, and I wrote some more, and nobody ever seemed to mind that I was making it up as I went along” which bares an amusing likeness to Spasojevic’s own history in creating film.

And he begs the question, “what would be the fun in creating something you knew would work?”

This to me is the most important of all of the pieces of advice he inserted into the speech. Beneath all of the “don’t be afraid to make mistakes” talk, this was the core less. If something doesn’t work, that means it’s new and memorable because if it worked, someone did it before. What bigger failure of a movie that is so well known and notorious is there than “A Serbian Film”? One could say “Cannibal Holocaust” due to it’s history of being banned and realistic violence, but any movie buff would recommend the film to another horror fan. Not once have I heard someone say “sit down, focus, and watch ‘A Serbian Film’” and that’s where I believe that Spasojevic won because curiosity and controversy gets audiences.

What I mean to say through all of this is that although I had not appreciated it at the initial time of viewing, Spasojevic’s film made me realize my criteria for art itself, and thus helped me understand what criteria I would hold for other movies in the future.

While art takes it’s form differently from being to being, and can vary over time and change in opinion, art to me is rawness.

And so maybe this example is taboo, and maybe it is frowned upon, but upon listening to this speech it made me come to my full attention of what I look for in art, and thus giving me a base for what I look for in movies- is it to that Spasojevic level.

Art is limitless, it’s estimation, it’s guessing, and it’s uncertainty. It’s doing what you want to do regardless of what the outcome is, and it’s conveying messages to the greater masses. Art is communication, and art is not perfect, but in the right lighting, if you squint and close one eye and roll the other back- even the darkest pieces of artwork can be beautifully done.

Cover Image Credit: wickedhorror.com

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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