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1 researchok  Mon, Feb 13, 2012 9:40:56am

A lot of the shapes/patterns we see are the result of 'muscle memory'- that is the range of motion we can attribute to animal physiology.

Man does have more refined motor skills, thus allowing for greater creative control. That speaks to both the physicality and interpretive capabilities.

Creativity however is an entirely different notion.

Put a crayon/clay/camera in the hands of a child and he or she will go to town, as best as their cognitive and/or physical skills will allow. The same thing happens with music- who hasn't seen a happy child bang away at a plastic xylophone for hours at a time?

It seems to me brain development has a lot to do with artistic skills. The more developed (in that area) the brain, the more creative the art. Some of us have very highly developed art skills- most of us do not.

I often wonder just how differently the artist sees the world than the rest of us. The chasm can't be that great- after all, we can and do appreciate that art and by definition, get excited about it. Still, there is a difference. They artist instinctively sees what the rest of us do not- until we're shown/explained/hear for ourselves.

Also, we are discussing visual art. How about auditory art? Is there a case to be made that animals make music besides maternal cooing, etc?

What is it musicians hear/feel/ in their heads?

This is a fascinating subject. Lots to learn, for sure.

Great post.

2 JEA62  Mon, Feb 13, 2012 11:32:16am

Answer: no.

Why? Because even the most "primitive" human beings that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago created art. Humans went out of their way to create art. They collected and produced pigments, crafted purely artistic objects which served no "need" other than a creative impulse.

I've never seen an animal in any wild setting produce anything that could be called art. Only in an artificially created institutional setting. If animals are capable of creating art, then wouldn't they create art on their own, not in situations where a zookeeper or researcher gives them a paintbrush, paints and a canvas and shows them how to do it?

Intelligence is one thing; creativity is another.

3 John Vreeland  Mon, Feb 13, 2012 1:28:57pm

Some human art is on a par with animal forms. Many (but not all) examples of abstract nonrepresentational art can easily be confused with animal productions. The example shown here is not very interesting but it does show some understanding of how to fill a canvas without going overboard.

I have an acquaintance with an odd dog which has an obsession with arranging its toys in patterns. The dog would put its toys in lines and rough circles and spend a long time getting their position just right. They were fairly certain that this was not trained behavior.

And I found a video.

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