I am not a literate artist. That is to say that I have not gone through the usual courses in art, not have I read books on art. History of art as a chronology of events has never interested me—nor for that matter—any history.
Such knowledge of art and such proficiency in art as I have has been acquired by picking up bits and process from here and there. To those bits and pieces I have added attributes, explanations, interpretations from my own imagination. I have not tried to verify the authenticity from any standard sources the veracity of my understanding or knowledge. I have not considered it necessary either. For example what I understand of Cubism or Expressionism, or Dadaism is largely my own imagination of what there terms should mean. Moreover, I find, that in most discourses which pass between artists in which I participate, I have sailed through quite safely (I turned have said authoritatively) without anybody raising an eyebrow on my interpretation or understanding, much less challenging it. During one discourse I was very surprised to find that the difference between expressionism and impressionism is merely that one of the terms (I do not remember which) was coined by a prominent artist for describing a certain work/s of art or,… that cast away any repeat I had for the artistic expressions from my mind. So plastic art, Cubism, Surrealism etc. may mean different things to different people, but as for as I am concerned I am able to get away with all sorts of terms during any discussion without any difficulty or challenge.
Nevertheless when I have seen a work of Salvador Dali and heard that it is called Surrealist art, I can understand why it is so, and can look at other works and tell whether they belong to the same style without anybody instructing me. I can also feel the Cubism or Plasticity in the works of Picasso. In other words, when a name or a term has a generic origin, then it means something to me. But when such a name is given commonly it makes no sense to me.
Similarly when talking of the famous painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, someone informed me that this is the first portrait painting in which landscape was used as a background, it made no sense to me, I said to myself, ‘so what’. The trouble with me [is] that I found that overrated painting quite unimpressive and the enigmatic smile elusive.