Memes ARE Art!
Memes are everywhere! If you’ve ever been on the internet, which all of us have, you’ve seen, shared, or liked a meme that resonated with you, and because of this memes are a seamlessly efficient way of connecting people. Memes, with or without context, can bring people together through shared comedy, or specifically expressed opinions others agree with. In some cases they can be used to share information.
But that bates the question, even though memes are a method of communication…can they be considered art? Short answer…
YES, memes are art! But how? They’re just goofy little posts that people post on the internet when their bored. Well according to the internet, specifically, Oxford Dictionary
defines art as, “the use of the imagination to express ideas or feelings, particularly in painting, drawing or sculpture.”
Out of all the definitions I’ve read online, this one seems to be the most accurate one when pertaining to the topic at hand. I wholeheartedly agree with this definition because art is not defined by any one thing. Anyone can make art, whether it’s good or not is subjective and left to the opinion of the viewer, but anything created humans that effectively expresses the artist’s ideas or feelings is and will always be art.
So why would memes be left out if that’s the case???
Even The Harvard Crimson
, a well known site from Harvard Law School, declares that meme are art. This article highlights the dissemination of memes across generational borders as some memes are catered expressly towards Millennials, while others are solely for Gen Z’s taste and understanding. Now if the nerds at Harvard say that memes are art, who are we to argue?
Piggybacking off of the article, they also mention how creating memes is a skill and in order to effectively create a meme people need to have idea of what they want to communicate. They then have either find or create a graphic that corresponds with the text that they plan on writing. In other words, you’re literally creating a body of work that you are in full control of, and based on what you’re referencing, your meme will reach your target audience almost immediately the moment you post it online.
Meme Makers be like….
So now that we’ve established that Memes ARE art, does that mean they are “good” art?
Hmm…subjectively I’ll say that some memes are top tier in their relatability and humor, however, the ones that I don’t understand or don’t resonate with are obviously not going to be high on my list, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad…you know?
Same goes with “traditional” art though. Some pieces you might enjoy looking at a lot and others…not so much.
I will say though, that memes and traditional art are two categories under the umbrella of “ART.” I say this because traditional art, which includes drawing, painting, sketching, sculpting, graphic designing, music making, writing, and even cooking are all things that take time and effort to master. Whereas a meme maker can just decide one day that..”hey I wanna make a meme today” and chooses a random photo and quote and it becomes popular overnight.
As an artist myself I feel like I’m in limbo on the topic because, yes memes are a form of art, but do they carry a lot of weight, time, sacrifice and patience when compared to other art forms? No. However, at the end of the say it is still art.
Now with that being said, like all subjectively “good” art, can memes convey a story as well?
Of course!! Similar to other forms of art that are strung together to tell a coherent story, memes can tell a story through their alternative humor and whim.
^^See what I did there…I insert a meme that suggests a story time is about to happen😏.
But let’s get serious now… solely using gifs and memes let’s craft a narrative of how I, a 19 year old college student who has a horrible sleep schedule, feel about the semester as it goes on…
Let’s just say it’s definitely not syllabus week anymore…but see how I created that narrative using gifs and famous memes to convey my anxiety? Anyone can do it!
Speaking of memes and gifs let’s revisit some of my favorites that may be old but are still classic to me:
While on the subject here’s some strangely specific memes for our class that I made 😀:
P.S. I read some of the documents at the end of the assignment and even though I didn’t directly use them, they helped me find the other articles I used in this post.🏼