Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the eyes of the beholder

© Process of Composition_36X18_Mixed Media
In Private Collection
Everybody can paint, but the difference between an artist and somebody who paints is quite simple. For an 'artist' its all about the process, for others it's about the product.

As an abstract artist, I have come across a lot of people who come up to me and say "My 5 year old paints like you"
But isn't that the point! Its liberating to be free of white noise in the head, to be able to shed off the chatter of details and to understand the basic shapes, patterns and their relationship with each other. To be fearless of judgement and be able to have a voice without any inhibition. 

But well, as much as I am writing all this in this post, there have been times when I got irritated with such comments or disappointed by rejection. After all I am a human. And as my good friend and colleague, Ishita Bandyo rightly said in her blog post 'Criticism is easy, Art is difficult':  "It is hard for creative people to be criticized. Most people who are artists have rice-paper thin skins and negativity can erode their confidence to shambles!"

While technically an artist is trying to appease a collectors sense of aesthetics, he/she is actually just appeasing themselves, their view and their soul. Even a photo realistic artist who is painting a photographic image is truly just juxtaposition-ing various objects they observe and voicing an opinion by arranging these observations in a certain pattern. 
There is always a story!

So here are a few quick questions you need to ask before you pass a critic, hopefully this will help you understand the process a little better.

1. What do you first Notice when you look at the work? And why?
2. What is the over all visual effect or mood of the work?
3. What are the colors you see? What do they invoke within you?
4. Why do you think the artist made these specific artistic decision?
5. Why did the artist create this art work?

And most important, when you visit an art show, take the time to read the Artist statement. 

Believe me, even though abstract art seems to be easy, there is a lot of time, effort, thought, few sketches, couple of drafts that goes in before the piece takes its form as a finished product. But that is a discussion for another post.


  1. totally agree. not all people have the "artistic" eye to appreciate the process of the creations, the time & energy that goes behind them.
    those are nice tips to analyze works of art.

  2. @ lifeinbitznpieces.. Thank you for stopping by! And I am happy that you found my insight interesting and helpful. :) Look forward to more interaction with you.

  3. Well written Joy! I appreciated the questions you asked of the viewer to consider.

  4. I can tell that peronally I just like what my mind tell em to like
    i dont think much !!!


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