Sunday, May 16, 2010

Using Art To Feel The World Differently


I have a pen-pal who I have never met in person. We have developed an unexpectedly interesting dialogue through a series of emails that have revolved mostly about art, creativity, photography, Photoshop and the rationale mind. It seems that he is an engineer-type and I am an artist-type. I so appreciate his openness in trying to see art differently, and in turn his comments have caused me to try to "explain" art and the creative process in ways that challenge me.  

Recently, I suggested that rather than try to "understand" art, he use it to see the world differently. He asked for specific suggestions on just how to do that...so here are my notes from a brainstorming exploration of ways to do so. I changed the word "see" to "feel," because I think it is an important distinction. 

How to use art to feel the world differently

Use it as a portal, not as a stopping place. Where does it take you? What do you see there? How do you feel physically? Emotionally?

Use it as a question mark. What is the question? Don’t try to answer; just leave it open.

Imagine living with it – seeing it repeatedly in all different moods, different contexts of your life, angles of light, states of health, etc., seeing it over and over, mulling it repeatedly, talking to it, hearing it speak to you giving consolation, inspiration, or advice, or laughing.

Each day, choose one thing to notice about art you come across (e.g., the use of red) and notice the comparisons.

When you see a work of art, try to imagine what the artist was feeling when she created it, not what the piece “means.”

When you resonate with a piece of art, imagine how the wave lengths that are buffeting your body (not concepts in your brain).

When you see a work of art, imagine you inside of it: Where do you fit? Do you replace something in it? Or add to it? Does your body become different to get into it? How? How do you feel once you are inside it?

Imagine the work of art as a boat you are boarding...does it feel safe? Where is it going to take you?—one place or multiple destinations? Are you alone or with others? Are you in charge? Or are you a passenger?

Imagine that you are the artist creating the piece. Where are you? How are you feeling? What are the specific moment in creating it that touch you the most? When you finish with it, what is the very first thing you are going to do with it?
   
Note to the image: This is the window of a retail art supply store in Helsinki. I've never seen an artist's wooden model so big nor with breasts before...and I loved the come-hither pose! It is all about art, hey?

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