Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Friday, October 9, 2015

ART MAKES THINGS STRANGE: Looking at and Talking About Art

I had the pleasure on being on a panel in early October at SDAI. I made a presentation but I came away with lots of new ideas as well delivered by the other panelist and audience.We were all delighted with Jennifer DeCarlo's  (jdc fine art ) idea of an art participation pyramid.  It is built on a strong base of community involvement with art writers and curators, art administrators, gallerist as you climb to the peak. Artist are too free to be part of the structure but hoover all around.

Jennifer DeCarlo Cultural Consumer Pyramid
One of the most interesting things about the evening was the comment that San Diego only needs sun, tech and the border. Maybe we do put too much energy in cultivating the general public. But my belief in the power of art is so great that I see it as a necessity like food, water and shelter. If art is this powerful in a great many lives, it does seem as if everyone would benefit from it. I admire communities that know and practice their daily involvement in the arts.They are richer for it.
Funding For The Arts Month @ SDAI Oct 8 Looking at and Talking About Art (Jennifer DeCarlo, Director of jdc fine art; Larry Baza, Chair of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; Patricia Frischer, Founder of the San Diego Visual Arts Network; Alessandra Moctezuma, Professor of Fine Art and Director of the Mesa College Art Gallery)

Here is my presentation for the evening:

I have chosen to speak about the young or newly interested potential art gamer. This is someone who might have gone to the meet up at one of the museums like TNT at MOCA or Night Owl at Athenaeum or Culture and Cocktails at SDMA or Art After Dark at OMA. They might be tempted to attend by the possibility of picking up a date. But Art is not an everyday occurrence in our lives. It is a strange thing that makes us notice ordinary things in a new light. What we need younger generations to realize is that when you look hard and talk about a work of art, you are actually defining yourself. You reveal yourself to others and if you are lucky to yourself.  

Most viewers have an inferiority complex and think you need an art history degree for the ability to understand art. This is compounded by many artists not being able to speak about their work. But a viewer can start by describing exactly what is viewed. Start with size, color, line, content and before you know it ideas will start to flow about content and meaning and you will bring yourself into the experience. Simply by describing a work you can start the process and once started here are some questions to enrich that dialogue.

What one art works would you choose to give as a gift and to whom would you give it?
Which artwork speaks to you and what does it say?
If you could meet one of these artists which would you choose to meet?
If you could walk inside one of these works in miniature, which would you choose?
Can you imagine this artwork in your home and where would you put it? Why does it relate to that place?

How did you think the artist got the idea for the piece?
What is the media used and why do you think that was chosen to fabricate it?
What do you like most about it?
What does it remind you of?
What did you learn looking at this art work?
Did this work remind you of another work?
Why do you think you like or dislike it?

Artist can do the same thing:  
Start with a paragraph description of an art work of yours you like best.
How did you get the idea for the piece?
Why did you choose that media to fabricate it?
What do you like most about it?
What does it remind you of?
What did you learn by doing this art work?
Did this work lead you to make another work?
Who bought or expressed a liking for the work and why do you think they bought or liked it?

Artist can interview themselves as a way of preparing to create a dialogue

When did you first start creating artwork?
What media do you use? 
Is there a reason you choose that medium?
Do you start out with an idea of the end in mind?
What inspires your work?
When you conceive or set about executing a work of art, do you think you're guided mostly by a constant driving inner aesthetic?  Or do you think you're in some significant way reacting to the world around you - to culture or the economy, say?
Do you think that you actually see the world differently than other people?
Does religion, or any sort of spiritual belief, play in the creation of your work?
Who would you say are your greatest influences? Or is there a particular historical period from which you draw inspiration?
What's your history of working in San Diego?
Does your work sell well in another geographical area?  If so, why do you think that is?
Is it ever hard to part with a work?
Did you ever consider expressing yourself in other art forms?
What do you think art is really about today?
Do you have a favorite art work among your creations?
How do you know you've finished a particular art work? i.e. How do you know when to stop working on a piece?
When it comes right down to it, what do you like best about making art?
How can people see your art and buy it?

Or an artist could:
Keep a diary - write up notes during the creation of the work and pull information from those notes.

Or an artist could
Interview a good friend about the art work and borrow the best bits

Yes, I do mean you may have never said, "I'll buy that one, please."

1.       When the lights are on in an art sales gallery after 5 o'clock and a crowd has gathered, it means you can walk right in, have a drink and a bite to eat and look at the art.  No invitation is needed.  You don't have to pay to enter and you won't be pressured to buy anything.  Gallery openings are listed in magazines and newspapers and you are welcome to attend.
2.       One of the pleasures of owning a work of art is meeting the artist.  There are many opportunities for this to happen.  Go to an exhibition opening and the artist is often present.  Most cities have an open studio tour or an art walk (San Diego has both). An art dealer may be able to arrange a meeting and most artists welcome a call from you directly to arrange to see more of their work.
3.       Celebrate if you fall in love with an artwork.  This is a totally valid reason to buy.  Like in any good love match, if you treasure it, it will reward you. Give yourself permission to own the work. Long term you will learn more and more about it and about yourself.
4.       It is also OK to buy a work because it fits the d├ęcor of your home.  Just make sure you have an emotional and/or intellectual connection to the work as well.
5.       Don't hesitate to buy a work of art to commemorate a special event or to remember a favorite place or feeling.  Many famous collections were started in just this way.
6.       If you do happen to like one of the works but you are unsure, ask if you can take it home to see if you can live with the artwork.
7.       If you are nervous about buying or even looking at art, seek out a friend, an art collector, an art dealer or consultant to mentor you.  Some artists are excellent mentors and can speak well about a whole range of artwork.
8.       If you buy art, you may eventually outgrow it.  This is all right and you can sell the work, give it away or put it in the attic and see if it can tell you more later.  Just make sure and replace it with a new work.
9.       Once you buy an artwork, share it with friends and let them experience the joy, insight and pleasure from the works that surround you. Your art defines you and is another way to show who you are.