The definition of art is elusive. Art can be so many, and yet it can be so little. Ask 100 people to define art, and you’ll get 1000 answers. Out of those answers, only a minute fraction could be true.
Wikipedia defines art as “an aesthetic item or artistic creation” such as:
- an example of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture
- a fine work of architecture or landscape design
- an object that has been designed specifically for its aesthetic appeal, such as a piece of jewelry
- an object that has been designed for aesthetic appeal as well as functional purpose, such as a table lamp
- a photograph, film or visual computer program
- a work of conceptual art or performance art
- a production of live performance, such as theater, ballet or opera
- an interactive game
Going by this definition, cosplay can easily be considered an art, but this is coming from Wikipedia. I think the dragon in my pants is brimming with aesthetic appeal, but drawing it on walls won’t score me a spot in a museum.
Delving deeper into what is considered an “artwork”, we find three elements of art: subject, form, and content. These three are defined by one collegiate website as such:
Works of art have subject, form and content. We often identify a work by its subject: a landscape painting, a sculpture of a young woman, a lithograph of a cat. Form (or design), is the visual organization of the art work -how the artist has used line, shape, value, color, etc. Content is the impact or meaning of this work.
Cosplay has a subject, namely the cosplayer who is wearing a costume based on a fictional character concocted by someone else. Cosplay clearly has form, though it would be great if it had none and hot female cosplayers were all wearing see-through shirts and underwear. Does cosplay have content? Now that’s a criteria which is hard to please.
The only meaning I can derive from cosplay is the cosplayer saying “Look at me! Take pictures of me! I don’t have friends in real life!” It’s ridiculous how they say they cosplay to express. Express what? How big of losers they are? How they have nothing better to do with their lives? That they’re social misfits who will never contribute to the greater good?
At this point, it looks like cosplay as an art is still arguable. Well, let’s have some visuals in here and see whether cosplay can be taken seriously like, say, the Mona Lisa.
This is art:
Now, this is cosplay:
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