Monday, July 11, 2011

Art ~ Beyond The Work

Hub and I went to Art Walk as planned last Friday.  We didn't see anything that hit our hot button.  Well, we did, actually but couldn't afford it.  Oddly enough it was Ganesha.  We loved it.

Not finding something isn't unusual.  A mood can make the difference.  Even if you're looking at the work of an artist you love, a particular piece may just not appeal.  That does not diminish the piece in any way.  The person next to me is likely to love it.  Such is the world of "art".

Saturday I had a comment on my post from Thursday, on Ganesha, from the artist Rick Davis, in response to my comment that I'd seen nothing from the artist on why he had chosen to do that particular piece.

"The reason I originally chose to do this piece was at the suggestion of my Yoga teacher.  But as the project progressed, and I did more research into Ganesha, the themes that surround him seemed to be unfolding in my life.  So he became a 3 1/2 year teaching/learning moment for me."

Art, no matter what form it takes,  is probably the most subjective commodity in the world.  We either like what we see or we don't.  As with this month's Art Walk.  What shouldn't be forgotten, however, in viewing the finished product, there is a process behind it.  As Mr. Davis points out, his piece became a teaching/learning moment.  Certainly nothing sinister nor intended to offend.

I think it has to be a fundamental truth with every producing artist from a doodler to a master.  They are trying to convey something - an emotion, a mood, an enlightenment.  I know it's true for me.  When I undertake a chess set there is a great deal of research to be done.  Not unlike a writer researching a novel.

When I did my Lewis and Clark set I had the Corp of Discovery pitted against the Indians they met on their journey.  Who were they?  What sequence?  Were they friendly or hostile?  How did they dress?  I spent hours pouring over the history of the adventure and even more researching each tribe I  chose to represent.

It didn't stop there.  My work is mixed media/wood carving.  I then had to figure out how to make the accouterments.  Headdresses, weapons and so forth.  My goal was accuracy to the best of my ability and a history lesson for all who viewed the finished piece.

I cannot imagine any artist not going through the same hoops with their work.  The selection of a brush or chisel, the technique for a specific effect.  It's all part of the process.

Then comes knowledge of the artist him or herself.  As collectors, we've met many of those  whose work we collect.  Talking with them enriches the experience for we gain insight as to what inspires them.

Artists, gallery people and collectors know these truths.  Many who can do no more than appreciate do too.  It's something for the casual observer to bear in mind.  There is always a process behind a work, and more importantly, a person.  Just like you or me.  With the same feelings.

So if you don't like it, that's okay.  But to denigrate it without knowing the process is doing a disservice not only to the artist, but to yourself.  Let it be a teaching/learning moment.  Next thing you know you'll become an appreciator of the art form and the creator. It can be an awesome eye opener.

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