One of the challenges in Art is seeing it objectively. The reason it can sometimes be difficult is because there are two ways, two important views of what you are doing, that need to be seen simultaneously.
Firstly, there is the close up view. I refer to this as the “quiet conversation,” that you and your viewer will experience up close when standing directly in front of your artwork. It is the view that is seen at arms length, the artist’s intimate conversation that is revealed and recorded when actually making the art. The differences between things, colors and textures in this quieter conversation are usually more refined, subtle and nuanced.
Secondly there is the distant view and I like to refer to this as the “loud conversation.” It could be from the other side of the studio or even from across the street. As a result this has to be much bolder. This louder conversation or bold pattern of shapes and colors has to be engaging from a distance. Then, if the viewer becomes interested, they will come up and look more closely. It is at this point that the quiet conversation can be experienced.
What I have noticed over the years is that most people are better at one or the other. Often their art is missing one of these conversations. Interestingly, I have experienced that those who are more comfortable in a one on one conversation or smaller group settings are particularly good at the “quiet conversation” of their art. In this more intimate, up close setting, detail, refinement and in general, a higher level of subtlety is demonstrated.
However, without the ability to perceive yourself objectively, to rise above where you are standing, or to have an ability to embolden yourself to also be strongly clear in the “loud conversation,” a huge aspect of your art is not realized. There are those of us who excel in holding court, conducting ourselves in front of others and being a strong integral part of a group. You need to be louder, more demonstrative, and surely more self confident to participate. Those who find this easy, tend to spend more time within situations that are more synonymous with the loud conversation. They also sometimes can find it challenging to move towards the quiet conversation of their art. It is in this more intimate view, up close, where the viewer will experience a heightened sense of nuance and subtlety.
Like fire and water, these two conversations, the loud and the quiet are opposites and when presented together bring an exquisite richness into our Art.
It is my belief that the quiet and the loud conversations if not always present should at least be considered, not just in Life but especially in the Art we make. We need both. All of us have the capability to push ourselves somewhat outside of our comfort zone to become louder or more quiet, to become more bold or more subtle. If we can, our Art will end up becoming far more potent, far more engaging. and as a result, more like ourselves.
I am definitely better up close in the quieter conversations of my Art. Which kind of conversation do you tend to have more often? Does this reflect in your work?
In boldness, Nicholas
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.