For the record, I don't think Mao is artistic. But then again, I don't consider Yu-Na, Carolina, Alissa, Joannie, or any of the current/recent ladies skaters as artistic either. They are charismatic performers who follow instructions well, or perhaps have great line/posture that results in an aesthetically pleasant picture on the ice, etc. How I view this whole thing about 'Art' in figure skating is that elite figure skating is first and foremost a sport. Skaters skate to win competitions, and to do so, they construct their programs to get the most points under the current rules of the sport--creativity, imagination, etc be damned. Right now, what can plausibly be construed as 'Art' means relatively little in figure skating (as the criteria and structure of PCS scoring clearly indicate) and so the vast majority of skaters' programs reflect this. You stick those transitions before and after your jumps not because they add to the character of the music or fulfil some artistic vision, but because transitions are very important in getting points as they are needed for positive GOE and the TR component of PCS (remember: harder/more intricate is always better!). Cramming the correct number of brackets, counters and mohawks, etc with vigorous upper-body motion tend to be the main factors in dictating the character of footwork (you need to get those levels somehow), not the music or emotions. Try not to succumb to complete artistic abandon/get lost in the performance, because you might leave out a rotation and lose a level or two on a spin. Throw in the fact that the judges seem to link all the components of PCS quite closely together (within a point, IIRC) and that SS--a very technical component--seems to be the component that decides the rest of the PCS....well, yeah. Hence my less-than-laudatory attitude towards the 'artistic' side of figure skating (except for a very, very few exceptions).