This is a rambling post about my somewhat strange definition and perception of art.
What people answer to the question “what is art?”, will vary widely. The largest common concept is that art is a visual expression of some sort. I myself have long been of the opinion that almost anything can be an art; whether an action or a set of actions is an “art”, is denoted purely by whether the performing person experiences it as an art.
Drinking a cup of coffee can be an art; the amount you allow to enter your mouth, how long you have let it cool before you drink it, how much (if any) air do you inhale through your nostrils while sipping, savouring, swallowing? Do you deliberately think of anything special before succumbing to the taste of this black brew, or do you simply let it’s taste ride you? How are you seated? Do you tilt the mug, you head, both? You can say “this is merely a skill, not an art. How dare you pollute the beautiful and divine concept of art with such profane mundanity!?”. Let me will explain:
Conventional “art forms” like painting and composing music are ruled by a simple concept of performing actions that culminate into an emotional experience. The actions you perform are ruled by the tools you have, only limited by your creativity, heavily influenced by ‘what feels good and/or right’. This also includes art that tries to send a specific message or react to a certain event or concept; it will feel wrongly wrong, until you finally reach rightly wrong, and are satisfied.
All of this is the case for drinking a cup of coffee as well; your tools are your thoughts, your body, etc. You can also include countless external tools like odour, lighting, the furniture you’re seated on, and so on. The actions required to get the coffee into your mouth and swallow it, will be defined by what feels good/right, executed countless times (yet asymptotic to a non-existant perfection), but you can also try variations outside your comfort zone to evolve and develop new parts of the art form that is drinking coffee. I find myself sometimes wanting to drink my coffee painfully hot (not only because i got tired of waiting, I simply wanted that delicious singe of black magic), or while closing my eyes and thinking of a dusty old book shelf. This is only what feels good/right, and in my opinion this is the same good/right that that guided Da Vinci’s hand when he painted Mona Lisa.
I hope you enjoy your next cup of coffee, because I know I will!