What is art?

From Mario Puzo’s “Fools Die”:

What the hell was being an artist?  It was not sensitivity.  It was not intelligence.  It was not anguish.  Not ecstasy.  That was all bullshit.

The truth was that you were like a safecracker fiddling with the dial and listening to the tumblers click into place.  And after a couple of years the door might swing open and you could start typing.  And the hell of it was that what was in the safe was most times not all that valuable.

I’ve often wondered: at what point does someone become an artist, and his work become art?  Must he struggle and pour his soul into it, or can he just be talented and slap something brilliant together?  Must it be considered art by a select few?  The many?  What are art’s most defining characteristics?  Or is it inherently subjective?

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