Saturday, December 17

Ephemeral Art

When I was in college, one of the required courses was a four-part humanities series. For three semesters we studied pretty much all of recorded history with a focus on the arts, while the fourth provided a more hands-on experience as we each designed and created our own art projects and present them before the class.

During the fourth semester, I was first introduced to the concept of ephemeral art. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it basically means art that is designed to be temporary. It covers a broad range of types, everything from ice carving to face painting to sand castles to fire sculptures that burn up as they are displayed.

I was reminded of my general amazement with the genre this morning when I found Rosi drawing in the condensation on the back window.

Being the amazing educational facilitator I (occasionally) am, I immediately turned her play into an art lesson. As part of our study, we looked at collections of ephemeral art online. Some of my favorites were by Richard Shilling and Andy Goldsworthy, who do something called "land art" or working outdoors with primarily natural materials which then may erode or decay naturally. Be sure to check out the links; both of these guys do some really incredible stuff!

Photo by Mike and Kirsty Grundy [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Very cool! Tell Rosi I like her art.

  2. I’m reminded as I read your post that in one sense all music is ephemeral art. It exists only as it is performed and heard. Once the last note of a piece fades off, it no longer exists. The score or recording is not more the “art” than the photograph of your daughter’s drawings on the window.

  3. Marsha, Rosi says, "Thank you. I'm glad you like my window drawings. I want you to know that I miss you. If you want to send me an e-mail, I will send you an e-mail back!"

    Dad, I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense. Thanks!


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