Recently I helped my cousin to translate some English text on Arts and Culture. As it often happens with these educational texts, they are not a serious treatise on the matter, but only a kind of simulation, a virtual debate, which only real purpose is to show phrases, teach the student a few new words, spiced with an idiom or two you might hear on the subject, or you may never. A fake.
Yet one of those boring sentences captured my attention. "There are many things, that can feed the body, several to feed the mind, but only the art can feed the imagination, blahblahblah... "
Which is of course, nonsense! For example, all those roleplaying ideas we create here, those definitively manage to feed our imagination, and are not Art, right?
Now, thinking got in a way uncomfortable. As another ingenious phrase announced, "From a strictly practical point of view, art is useless." How useful are our works, deep at the core? Sure, they can get useful to a few people, or to many people if the idea is right and you get it to the audience. Yet it does not feed them, nor clothe them. They either use it for a game in some imaginary world, or perhaps get inspired for some real-life need. It has little use in real life otherwise. Sure, if you are good, you can make a living out of it, but good artists can survive on their work, too (and many bad artists...).
Now, for something to be art, it not only has to be "useless" in a purely material way, it has to be aesthetically pleasing in some way. And let me tell you, I DO find many of those ideas pleasing. If I read a scientific treatise on magic (a strange combination of words, huh?), if I think about ecosystems that never existed, or if I see a beautifully created world, nicely balanced with all kind of surprising details, I take the time to study it, and immerse into the masterwork... I can't deny I feel impressed, like you should if it is art.
So? Are we artists? We could use our time better, concentrate on the school, our jobs, spend more time with our friends and families, and possibly make the world a nicer place. But instead, we hear to the RPG muse, and create. We already have some audience, mostly those, that use and interact with our art, but it exists.
Is it Art what we do?
Now, let's get to the fun. Things have a tendency to grow, and movements attract followers. What if the Art becomes popular, or (gasp), even mainstream? Will one day an expert examine an old article, and scratching his beard say, "Wow, this is indeed an early work of Strolen!" Or will a great scandal arise around a MoonHunter's impersonator, whose work was sold in a Sotheby's auction as original?
Let's see if this provokes some replies...