Describing Art

Art is hard to describe. As a performer, I like to do, not talk about my art form or performance. When thoughts of creation come from stream of consciousness,  and art is produced, that’s when it is hardest to describe. Art that is made to impress, is different than art that is made to self-express. Certain notions, theories, philosophies can certainly influence our art, but that’s academic talk. It’s the kind of presentation one does when part of field. A story accompanying art gives it more meaning, and sometimes significance.  Van Gogh was manic depressive, chopped a piece of his ear, and drew a self-portrait about it. That detail within itself not only give essence to the painting, but he became a Bi-Polar icon, reminding all the manic depressives out-there that they are not alone, and that manic depression could mean creativity, uniqueness, and recognized talent. In Elkin’s Art Critiques, he encourages artists to be honest when describing one’s work. The language could get sophisticated and confident to express an art piece, but is it a genuine description? It makes us think of what we write when we are faced with such a task, whether in an academic setting or an artistic setting like a exhibition, museum or gallery. Are we writing about artwork to impress the sophisticated? Or we portraying the truth about the piece? Artists and students are placed in situations to think, speak, and express. It’s a learning process, but it doesn’t mean that the thoughts are genuine or completely honest. It’s forced expression to impress or respond to an instructor or audience. Sometimes insight come out of rushed and pressured expression. I’m not going to deny that. It’s like pushing for effort, rather than thoughts coming out effortlessly. True-expression, whether an assignment or a collaborative project with an organization,   happens when the art is vessel. Faking genuinity can work sometimes and fake art might appeal to critics. This usually happens when an artist is struggling hard to be innovative and create something extra-ordinary and out of the blue. There is nothing wrong with that. If critics or instructors can push an artist to create something new or innovative, that’s acceptable. Often, when this happens, we find lack of honesty in the description too. The real reason behind an innovative art piece could be innovation itself. Some choose silence over dishonesty. Others choose to impress.













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