100 Quotes That Begin With “Art Is”

I use a lot of quotes in my work, and over the years, I've collected a ton of them about art. I recently did a set of pages in a friend's altered book, using quotes that began "art is" as the background. It's amazing how many artists have tried their hand at defining exactly what art is, and what it isn't.

Feel free to use these quotes to help spark your next piece, or as journal prompts. Or maybe, to encourage you to try to put into your own words exactly what art is.

A – C

Art is whatever you choose to frame.
Fleur Adcock

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.
Theodor Adorno

Art is about paying attention.
Laurie Anderson

Art is an experience, not the formulation of a problem.
Lindsay Anderson.

Art is an intersection of many human needs.
Carl Andre

Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish.
Aristotle

Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother's womb.
Jean Arp

Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.
W. H. Auden

Art is an international language, understood by all.
Igor Babailov

Art is like therapy; what comes up is what comes up.
Nick Bantock

Art is man's distinctly human way of fighting death.
Leonard Baskin

Art is the tree of life.
William Blake

Art is frozen zen.
Reginald H. Blyth

Art is manipulation without intervention.
Louise Bourgeois

Art is the only thing that can go on mattering once it has stopped hurting.
Elizabeth Bowen

Art is everywhere, and everywhere is art.
Brandon Boyd

Art is a sense of magic.
Stan Brakhage

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
Berthold Brecht

Art is a real thing. Art is the soul of the whisper of the cloud on the horizon.
Peter William Brown

Art is born in attention. Its midwife is detail.
Julia Cameron

Art is the product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the confused.
Al Capp

Art is a harmony parallel with nature.
Paul Cezanne

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers, and never succeeding.
Marc Chagall

Art is a liaison between some sort of deranged mentality and others who are not going through it.
John Chamberlain

Art is the triumph over chaos.
John Cheever

Art is science made clear.
Jean Cocteau

Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.
Jean Cocteau

Art is ruled uniquely by the imagination.
Benedetto Croce

D – K

Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Leonardo da Vinci

Art is wine, and experience is the brandy we distill from it.
Robertson Davies

Art is the most beautiful of all lies.
Claude Debussy

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas

Art is really a battle.
Edgar Degas

Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic.
Annie Dillard

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.
Theodore Dreiser

Art is the most passionate orgy within man's grasp.
John Donne

Art is the one thing that speaks to everyone.
David Dory

Art is the escape from personality.
T. S. Eliot

Art is the path of the creator to his work.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Art is a jealous mistress.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art is a mad search for individualism.
Paul Gaugin

Art is either plagiarism or revolution.
Paul Gauguin

Art is a form of love. Art is the ultimate gift. Art heals life.
Robert Genn

Art is a pigment of your imagination.
Darcy Gerdes

Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.
Kahlil Gibran

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better.
Andre Gide

Art is the beginning of vision into the realm of eternal life.
Lawren Harris

Art is an outsider, a gypsy over the face of the earth.
Robert Henri

Ars longa. Vita brevis.
Art is long. Life is short.
Horace

Art is not a thing, it is a way.
Elbert Hubbard

Art is love.
Holman Hunt

Art is created to live and to be seen and felt.
James Kay

Art is the great democrat, calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Art is man's expression of his joy in labor.
Henry A. Kissinger

Art is a line around your thoughts.
Gustav Klimt

Art is a humanitarian act. Art should be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place.
Jeff Koons

L – P

Art is a by-product of an act of total attention.
Dorothea Lange

Art is an action against death. It is a denial of death.
Jacques Lipchitz

Art is the child of Nature.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Art is to the community what the dream is to the individual.
Thomas Mann

Art is about mystery.
Marisol

Art is an effort to create, besides the real world, a more human world.
Andre Maurois

Art is not a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that.
Andrew Mercer

Art is what you can get away with.
Marshall McLuhan

Art is a jealous thing; it requires the whole and entire man.
Michelangelo

Art is living stopped for a moment of wonder.
Kenneth G. Mills

Art is not to do with the practical side of making a living. It's to live a fuller human life.
Henry Moore

Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.
Piet Mondrian

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.
Robert Motherwell

Art is an epiphany in a coffee cup.
Elizabeth Murray

Art is the sex of the imagination.
George Jean Nathan

Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Art is the proper task of life.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Art is the journey of a free soul.
Alev Oguz

Art is my life and my life is art.
Yoko Ono

Art is always, even at its most repulsive, an impassioned cry of love.
Laurence Overmire

Art is the dominstration that the ordinary is extraordinary.
Amedee Ozenfant

Art is the expression of the immortal part of man.
Ignace Paderewski

Art is a form of catharsis.
Dorothy Parker

Art is a lie which makes us see the truth.
Pablo Picasso

Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.
Pablo Picasso

Art is a kind of illness.
Giacomo Puccini

R – Z

Art is an indecent exposure of the consciousness.
Herbert Read

Art is not imitation, but illusion
Charles Reade

Art is art. Everything else is everything else.
Ad Reinhardt

Art is not the bread, but the wine of life.
John Paul Richter

Art is contemplation.
Auguste Rodin

Art is what is unnecessary, but necessary only to that artist.
Randy Sanders

Art is a delayed echo.
George Santayana

Art is the right hand of nature. The latter only gave us being, but the former made us men.
Friedrich Schiller

Art is the daughter of freedom.
Friedrich Schiller

Art is the signature of civilizations.
Beverly Sills

Art is like a border of flowers along the course of civilization.
Lincoln Steffens

Art is nature seen in the light of its formal significance.
Leo Stein

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp

Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement; art is great matter.
Leo Tolstoy

Art is the soul and spirit of each generation to be passed along to the next and beyond.
Stewart Turcotte

Art is the only means by which one soul can truly touch another.
Curtis Verdun

Art is what's left over after you've defined everything else.
Michael Vitale

Art is not a competitive sport.
Lisa Vollrath

Art is a Verb, not a Noun.
Sylvia White

Art is the thrilling spark that beats death – that's all.
Brett Whiteley

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
Oscar Wilde

Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
Frank Zappa

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