Popular culture can be defined as visual art that is predominantly functional or utilitarian in nature, created by hand (or with limited mechanical facilities) for use by the maker or a small circumscribed group of people, and containing an element of retention—the prolonged survival of a traditional way of life. Folk art is the artistic expression of the human fight for civilization within a certain environment, expressed via the development of functional but aesthetically pleasing structures and artefacts, such as houses and objects.
Developmental patterns are a type of pattern.
The vast research into European and American folk art that has been conducted over the past century has revealed specific patterns of growth in folk art. These patterns are susceptible to alteration as the field grows and refines its understanding of them, but they serve as a foundation upon which cultural variances and less common or random events can be taken into consideration.
Folk art has a functional component to it.
As a result, the art is frequently labelled as primarily practical or utilitarian, despite the fact that key categories of art are categorically not functional, such as the widespread miniatures created solely for the enjoyment of the viewer. It is true, however, that a significant amount of artistic effort was expended in order to meet basic needs. As a leisure activity for the folk group, where occupations were often seasonal or weather-dependent and where people had to provide their own amusement, the creation of useful objects became a source of inspiration for people’s creativity; a shuttle could be transformed with carving, a chest could be painted with designs, and even the corset stay became an art form. As a result, folk art (as well as “primitive” art) is best studied when the full handmade product is considered, and consideration is given to both its cultural and aesthetic relevance. It varies from the study of sophisticated art, where there has long been a separation between fine and applied arts, as well as a tendency to reject, or at the very least isolate, utilitarian forms from more strictly aesthetic forms.
Folk art was not intended for display in museums. Indeed, some were made to last, such as legal documents, family portraits, and gravestones; others were made purely for display, such as the Pennsylvania Germans’ “show towel” and the sampler (a piece of needlework with letters or verses embroidered on it as an example of skill); and certain family heirlooms were passed down from generation to generation. On the whole, however, there was a lack of concern about long-term preservation as long as the function was fulfilled, and much of the art was expected to be either consumed or thrown after its celebratory outing. Especially prevalent is intentionally ephemeral folk art, such as the marriage bowl broken after the ceremony, paper objects burned at funerals, festival breads, carnival figures, graffiti and snowmen; temporary symbolic designs were drawn on the threshold on feast days in India, and flower petals were formed for religious processions in Italy, among other things. Folk art collections, which are thus reliant at least in part on chance for survival, must be supported by photographic and textual documentation in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the entire field of art.