But is it art? | TheFencePost.com

But is it art?

Mad Jack Hanks
Tales from the O-No Ranch
Wellington, Colo.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder someone once said. I think the definition of art falls in the same corral. I have, as well as you, gentle readers, seen what was called art and you just didn't agree. I think of guys like Joe Beeler, Charles Russell, Norman Rockwell, Charles Shultz, yep Charles the feller that created the cartoon strip "Peanuts" with good ol' Charlie Brown, all as good artist. There are so many great artists today, and in the past, that it would take forever to mention just a fraction of them.

I was told years ago that cartoon art was not fine art. Well now, just a minute there pard! I reckon that depends on who yer talkin' to.

Of course I know you don't see Garfield or Charlie Brown or "the little guy with his stuffed tiger," can't think of his name, featured in any fine art galleries. Maybe they should be there for there surely are more folks that identify with them than some guy that puts an image of Christ in a bottle of urine or the guy that paints Campbell soup cans in his offerings.

When I was but a wee lad about 5, I drew a picture of my horse Buck.

I would have been considered an "impressionist" for my efforts on this pencil on Big Chief tablet. Buck was standing out in the pasture grazing and he had relaxed his, well you know, as some geldings do at times and that's is the exact way I drew him. Being sure my dad would be impressed, I wandered from the front porch into the living room where I found my father listening to a Joe Lewis boxing match on our impressive mahogany radio. "Daddy, Daddy, would you like to see this picture I drew of Buck?" I excitedly offered. "Son, that's pretty good, but you drew him with five legs." "No, he just has four legs Daddy!" I assured him. "Well, what's this here then?" he asked pointing to the well, you know what. "That's his wee wee," I proudly announced.

Seems like Dad was not impressed like I thought he would be. He was impressed alright but being a deacon in the First Baptist Church he had discovered that he had raised one son that had no regard for decency! Gentle readers, he wadded up my fine art and threw it over in the corner and he appeared mad when he did so. "DONT LET YOUR MOTHER SEE THAT!" he bellered. I picked up my fine art, dropped it in the trash basket and, with head hung low, slowly walked outside with my little heart broken. I knew if Mom had seen it she would have told me how good it was, but it was kind of a "man thing" ya know.

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Was I discouraged? Heck no. I loved horses and cowboys and I drew them every chance I got and never ever showed another one to my Dad.

That was a different time folks in 1945. We had been through a terrible war and had so much going on and as a little kid, I didn't know about life, death, and those sort of things. I did know that I wasn't supposed to play with the Catholic kids down the block 'cause their folks drank beer. Nobody told me back then that my mom once played piano in a pool hall and my dad's dad was a wine and beer maker and on occasion he was a bouncer in the local joint where he drank and played pool before he and mom found religion.

Here's the bottom line: When I present a cartoon to this fine paper I have taken much effort to make it as enjoyable, cute and hopefully funny to most if not all who take the time to read it. I call it art. If I don't consider it FINE I don't even send it in. My ability to create and draw over the last 26 years I think has improved for the most part. I can tell you my sense of humor has not faded in the least.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember that "laffter" is the best medicine, fine art or not. I'll c. y'all, all y'all. ❖