Jake: I live by literary hack-work, and a little original writing, as little as possible. One can live by writing these days, if one does it pretty well all the time, and is prepared to write anything which the market asks for.(Iris Murdoch, Under the Net, 1954)
The creative arts is a generic term covering a wide variety of activities, including the arts that produce things – the visual arts, the crafts, musical composition, and literature (nowadays often referred to as ‘creative writing’) – and the arts that involve interpretation, such as musical performance, drama, dance, opera and music theatre. Within each of these artistic categories there is a further division into specific forms of practice: painting, drawing, printmaking, etc., in the visual arts, for example, or rock, pop, folk, jazz, classical, etc., in music. But although a taxonomic exercise within the family ‘creative arts’ can construct a reasonably coherent basic classification of artistic genres, there are many blurred edges. Should narrative non-fiction such as biography be included in the literary arts? Does ‘new media art’ comprise a separate category on its own, or is it simply a variant of something else? Are all types of film-making classifiable within the creative arts, or only those producing films for ‘art house’ cinemas?
Such definitional issues raise longstanding arguments surrounding terms such as the ‘high arts’ or the ‘serious arts’.