THE BIG QUESTION
Why is art a good way to explain something to a group of people who don't speak the same language?
Have you ever looked at a popular piece of art, and puzzled over why people are willing to spend money on it? Or wonder why certain piece of your own art attract buyers more than others?
The answer may actually lie on the purpose of art itself, because ultimately, art is a form of expression. When you create a work of art , you are starting a conversation you invite others to join the conversation as soon as you share that work, even if it's just hanging in your home or sitting on a easel where someone else can see it.
And like any form of communication, some people understand and express art with ease , while others find it confusing or intimidating.
Think of this way......the world is full of language, and among those language are dialect and cultural Influence that affect all level of communication. Even when people are speaking their native language, misunderstanding happens every day.
Now pictures all of the different artist In the world, with different backgrounds, using an incredible variety of subject, medium, and techniques. When artist from these different art culture interact with each other, they have the common ground of "art speak" which is, in a sense, a similar language. And even then, there are bound to be some issues as they try to understand each other.
But as these artist bring their unique language to the viewing public, the gap in understanding widens even more. Sometimes the meaning is completely lost.
When I began painting regularly and posting online, I originally took the view that if people didn't get my part, it must be a failure on their part. I quickly realized that this would be equivalent of moving to a foreign country and refusing to pick up any of the language, and subsequently getting angry because no one understood what I was trying to say.
By viewing the whole process as a conversation, I discovered that if I was willing to learn from others, they would be more willing to learn from me. Not every conversation I have throughout the day is going to be clear and successful, and neither is every art interaction I have with a viewer. Different backgrounds and "languages" are going to always be a factor when I share my art, so it's up to me either learn from the experience or try to find someone who speaks my own language.
If you agree, then this brings us to the big question: what steps can an artist take when faced with the frustration of not being understood or appreciated?
In my opinion, artist who want to resonate more with the buying public should learn the buyers
" language" and adjust their art work accordingly. If your goal is simply to sell your art, this might be the best route for you . Look around. What is selling? Can you make art like that? Or take your most popular piece and create a lot more work that is similar to your fans will get more of what they want.
This is what I see a lot of big game artist without changing the art that you make , you may have a little more work ahead of you and it's going to be up to you to teach the public your unique"language".
Start with some basic communication skills. Look at your artwork, and find some things that a viewer who doesn't speak your language might still be able to identify with and enjoy. Does your art have brilliant colour? What is the subject, or the emotion that inspired the piece?.
Then look at your title . Can you change your title so that it let's the viewer in on the meaning of the work? This way you don't have to change how you make your art, you are just adjusting how you present it to others.
At most art event, I like to display a few straight forward piece to start conversation. Many people like boats, flowers, and animals, so I will bring some work featuring these recognizable subject to catch the eyes of patrons.
In the same way that greeting people in their native language make them feel at ease. Finding something recognizable in your art makes viewers feel more comfortable and welcome, even if your is abstract, you can hang pieces with dominant colours and clear title that shares your intention with the viewers , which Invites them to join the conversation.
If you are thinking, I should not have to explain my work or try to make it understandable to others, you are not alone. You may be perfectly fine with having only a select few people deeply know your work, and that's great if it meets your needs as an artist.
If you enjoy having a large group of people connect with your work, however the labour that you put into teaching someone to speak your language will certainly pay off.
Just taking the time to share a little bit of your language and learn the art language of others will be great reward by itself- the appreciation that comes and any sales that may follow are just icing on the cake.