Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
– Winston Churchill (Goodreads, 2014)
To me, taste in regards to art can be a difficult subject to uncover, as it is so unique to each individual, although overall I feel it boils down to society in general. Stereotypically, if one was very rich and upper class, you’d imagine they would buy a piece of expensive art for its prestigiousness of it’s creator being well known, as opposed to actually finding the image aesthetically pleasing. We can also then assume that the working class are more likely to go for the more tacky yet humorous types of art, focusing on parodies and pastiches or novelty items. Of course this sounds like a pretty shallow and prejudice statement to make, but it was just one way showing that taste comes down to our culture; bringing together our styles and mannerisms as well as our personal consumer goods and our education to start to define one’s unique taste.
On another note, I would also consider everyone’s taste to be unique and twinned with their personality, with this in mind, different items acquire higher or lower values due to each persons unique taste and judgement on an item. For example, Someone’s favourite bands special edition vinyl is going to be of a lot more value to them compared to anyone else due to the music being their specific taste from their judgement. However, people still consider items that aren’t their specific acquired taste to be high of value, whether it’s a limited collectors item, or whether it’s an item they feel they could make a profit out of. This comes down to a personal judgement of the item, and whether or not they feel the item would be beneficial to them.
Furthermore, as we see that value is strongly linked to taste, we also understand that taste is strongly linked to our socio-economic in more ways than just the class system. Once again, looking at music for example, if someone was to listen to hip hop of rap compared to someone who listened to death metal and rock, not only do their tastes contrast, but they would view each other in a possible prejudice way. Judged by the music they listened too, one could possibly be seen as more of a chav, whilst the other a metal head covered in tattoos in piercings. The point being is that whatever your individual taste in art is, it’s likely you will be judged on it, as if you’re making a new impression, or giving a new trait of your personality. The same goes when we apply this to fine art. If one person loves Rembrandt whilst another loves Banksy, there may well be a clash of personalities and opinions on what art really is.
Like I said, taste, value and judgement in art terms seems like a very tricky thing for me to explain, but in the end, it comes down to our individuality. Art is art, no matter who’s eyes you’re looking through.