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“Money is something that can be measured; art is not. It’s all subjective.”
– Jerry Saltz
“Art is subjective” – we hear this phrase quite a bit, particularly in response to someone that has made a disparaging comment about a particular artist or piece of work. While the statement about subjectivity is true, what does it actually mean?
We all know what art is, or at least have a fairly good idea of what it is; the textbook definition of art is “the expression or application of creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” So that makes sense… but then what does the word “subjective” mean? It means that an individual’s reaction to something is based on and influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
So there you have it; art – which is created for beauty and emotional reaction – being appreciated by individuals, using personal feelings and tastes to form an opinion.
The important word in that last sentence is “personal”, because any type of art speaks to each of us in very different ways – even multiple people who might appreciate the exact same piece of work. For example, a group of individuals standing in front of a painting may all agree that they appreciate the artwork. But each one of them will appreciate the piece in different ways and for different reasons – no matter how subtle or broad those differences are – because each of them has had different life experiences that have brought them to that place and point in time. Like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike – even identical twins will still have varying subjective opinions and thoughts on things.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve always found any type of “professional critic” within the arts to be a strange thing; sure, they can be trained with years of objective schooling in all the elements and basic protocols for a particular style of work… but no matter how long they have been reviewing and studying art, their opinion is simply that; it’s _their_ opinion – a subjective viewpoint – based on personal taste and feelings. Their viewpoint and opinion on Chagall’s brushstrokes, the latest rendition of “The Wiz” or Justin Beiber’s latest hit single is still just that; it’s their opinion, and should be regarded as such.
“Art and life are subjective. Not everybody’s gonna dig what I dig, but I reserve the right to dig it.”
– Whoopi Goldberg
The bottom line of this official kick-off post is simple; don’t let someone else’s subjective viewpoint sway your viewpoint, when it comes to art; your mind knows what moves you, and your heart knows what it loves… and if your heart loves Justin Beiber music, put your headphones on, crank it up and dance like no one is watching. If your heart loves the works of Van Gogh, go to a museum and study his paintings, from 10 feet away and from 2 inches away, until tears roll down your cheeks. Don’t be bashful, don’t hold back – LET ART MOVE YOU. Let it move you to the very core of your being; that’s what it’s there for… that’s why people labour over it, and spend their lives creating it… it’s there for you to take in, to appreciate and to connect with, on a very personal, individual level.
And if you feel really inspired? Make art yourself.
It’s with these thoughts that I welcome you my blog at The Zen Orange – a place that focuses on the arts, in it’s many forms. Some of it you may be familiar with, hopefully some of it is new to you and expands your horizons… because I want to open your world to various forms of art that you can connect with, on that basic emotional level – whatever emotion it may elicit, it’s there to bring those emotions to the surface; to make you feel, to make you think, to inspire you and to move you. If you feel strongly about something I share in the blog, be sure to comment and tell me why; what it means to you, how it affects you… share your passion. If you make art, send me a link and maybe I can feature it here in the blog, to share with others as well.
While this may initially sound contrary to everything I just said, I will do my best to share an objective standpoint on the information I share; my goal is not to sway your opinion, or to impose my subjective thoughts onto you… my goal is to only share the art with you. If you wish to see my personal thoughts or feelings on a particular piece, I will sometimes offer a hidden “My Opinion” section on posts, that you can click on to read… but I suggest that you only do so after taking in the art on your own, and forming your own opinion.
My current plan for the blog is to focus on certain overall fields of art on certain days. It may or may not stay this way, but here is the current plan:
|Sunday||“Science Sunday”||art in science and nature|
|Monday||“Music Monday”||music and dance|
|Tuesday||“Inside & Out Tuesday”||architecture and interior design|
|Wednesday||“Commercial Break”||commercial arts (design, photography, fashion, etc)|
|Thursday||“Thespian Thursday”||stage, books, movies and theater|
|Friday||“Fine Art Friday”||fine arts, studio arts|
|Saturday||“Weekend Grab-Bag”||random – anything goes|
I would encourage anyone that wishes to comment to not troll by saying “such-and-such sucks” — as I stated before, it’s fine if you don’t like something, but your opinion is simply that – your opinion. Be constructive and quantify your statement with “I don’t like this piece, and here’s why…” – because while you are always entitled to your opinion, it’s not the art… it’s only your perception of the art.
I look forward to sharing my love of the arts with you! If you like what you see here, you can show your support by following The Zen Orange on the various social channels being used, checking out and supporting my sponsors, and even buying me a cup of coffee from the sidebar (I may be biased, but I’m really partial to that last option).
Be well, and take care of one another,
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