“tool… 1.

any implement, instrument, or utensil held in the hand and used for cutting, hitting, digging, rubbing, etc… 2. a) any similar instrument that is the working part of a power-driven machine… b) the whole machine; machine tool. 3. anything that serves in the manner of a tool; a means [books are scholar’s tools].”1 Dr. Caulder said, “The important thing about art is not what it does to us but what it does for us.” To put it another way, art is a tool. A thing is defined as art when an audience uses it as art. When people use a thing as art they observe it, analyze it and draw conclusions from it. The conclusions that are drawn are the products that are created when people use the tool of art. Conclusions are then used as tools to create other things. A work of art is a machinist’s tool, and the audience is the machinist. The more open minded the audience is the more machinist’s tools are available to them to use. The more artistically sophisticated an audience is, the more conclusions they will be able to draw from a work of art. As economics shows, the more tools we have access to the more productive we are. Productivity also increases as our skill in using tools increases. Over the long run, increases in productivity will also increase the quality of life for all economic agents. The more open-minded and the more skilled an audience is the more human capital they have

Art is a versatile tool. This paper will examine how art can be used to elicit an emotion, to communicate a message, to create income or to enhance an individual’s level of prestige in the world. I split the uses of art into two groups: internal and external.


Websters New World Dictionary, p 1498

A thing is defined as art when an audience calls it art. An audience comes to the conclusion that a thing is art when it creates a desire within them to treat it as art. We treat something as art by first perceiving it, then processing it in order to form conclusions about the meaning of the work.2 People can analyze a work emotionally or they may use a more logical analysis. Some people enjoy art because of the emotions it creates and others enjoy it because of the knowledge it imparts. Others enjoy art for its ability to create controversy. There are infinite valid interpretations for every piece of art, so specific interpretations of specific pieces are not the important thing about what art is. Dr. Caulder once said that, “The important thing about art is not what it does to us but what it does for us.” To put it another way, art is a tool. Economics teaches us that the more tools people have the more productive humanity is. Therefore, art improves the well being of humanity. As meanings of individual works of art multiply and as the number and scope of things that we can analyze as art increase, the more tools humanity will have and therefore, the better off humanity will be.

The two major categories of uses for art are internal and external.

The acts of reflection and the giving of meaning to a thing are but one use for art. There are many other ways to use art, as there are many ways to use a hammer, for example. The more uses a work of art has, the more useful it is. Therefore, we should artistically analyze as many things as possible in order to make them more useful to us in our daily lives.


Ayn Rand, “The Romantic Manifesto” p. 50