Questions About Art

As an artist what is your relationship with your viewer?

I have what I define as a “strange” relationship with my viewer. I certainly want as many people as possible to see my work. My work is for someone other than myself. I feel as though making art is my way of contributing something positive to society, so other people have to see it in order for it to reach its potential (well at least one other person, to start the cycle–but more would be nice). This is all fine and dandy until I am in the studio. That is when the tables have to be turned and I have to listen to myself and no one else. The second my mind asks the question, “What do you think others will say when they see this…” I have to leave. I have ruined many -an-artwork by concerning myself with the big ART world while producing a work of art.

So, separation, for the most part, is the relationship I have in the beginning process. That is, except for the fact that I invite my viewer to participate in the beginning steps of the art work. I do what I call “Participatory Art” which, for me, means that the work would not be completed without someone else’s involvement. Something has to happen first, before I can make a piece. Examples include asking others to send me a certain object–and more recently I have been collecting found objects and shopping more and more at recycling and re-using stores. The products I am using lately already have a story before I start to work with them.

So, I need the viewer, but I have to remain at some distance in order to stay healthy. Does this make sense? I have to trust myself, but since my concept is completely about others realizing their own potential and affect on the world around them, I have to involve them in order to deliver that message more clearly.

I go in circles with the viewer.

After the art work is made is the most fragile part of the relationship with the viewer for me. I crave acceptance with my art–if I am completely honest. I just want to be understood. But, at the same time, I want the work to speak for itself. I try and deliver my message in subtle fashion so that the viewer begins to feel their own gut speaking to them and hopefully trusts it.

I am certainly willing to have a conversation with a viewer about my work. Sometimes I feel as though I get more out of it then they do. Something I have realized is that the viewer knows a lot more about art then they give themselves credit for. I believe they deserve more attention. I just can’t give it to them during certain times of my process. Maybe at some point I will, just not today.

That is what I mean by “strange.” I push and I pull. I crave and I run. But, I need the viewer because I believe my art is just a catalyst for conversation and the viewer will be the one to deliver the message.


As an artist or a viewer of art, what is your opinion?

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