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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What People See In Art

There are a number of motives about why an artist is making art. There are some factors in each case: to notice the artist's motives, to learn how difficult it is in factual terms for the artist to follow their apparent intention, and to come up with alternate intentions. The viewer's participation needs to be enough, in either case, to put together the content of what the participant is getting out of the art.

It seems that quite a few people seem to need to learn to understand how to be a participant of the art. My favorite book on this is a little-known book of the past called: Why Cats Paint

If an artist is making images to communicate, then they must release the content of the communication. Mostly because people are going to see whatever they see in the art! In a "really good" piece of art, a person will notice something different in it almost every time they look at it.

That difference may be reflected in what they believe the piece of art "is", it may be a detail, it may be a virtual question such as " is that figure coming or going?" which is something about what is apparently depicted. That is, every person may interpret the art to "mean something" a little differently.

This phenomena seems to work sometimes, even though the artist is self-referent. It depends on HOW the personal vision is displayed. This seems to boil down to - if the artist is an interesting enough person to start with, this will work for others. At best, the artist just displaying their "personal" building blocks is enough, so that the personal becomes the universal.


  1. What if the purpose of the art is meant to communicate the very message that our perspective is inherently our own; that nobody's perspective can invalidate our own, but instead compel us to challenge the beliefs from which we based that perspective on.

  2. Yes - that question of, "How can someone see that in the same thing I'm looking at when I don't?" Great art makes you go out into the world - and the old same stuff suddenly looks different because you have seen the world through a completely new sensory perspective!