After almost two years, I recently was able to visit the Getty Villa Museum. Luckily the crowds were minimal so I could really take my time and enjoy the art work. The current show is “Mesopotamia” and the amazing sculptures, reliefs and cuneiforms were fascinating. As an artist, I thought about the ancient writers and sculptors, their work and how it has survived 6000 years. I also thought about our culture and wondered what happens when our current technology is obsolete and what will replace it.
I did take some comfort in knowing that art is important enough to society that we go to great lengths to preserve it. It makes me feel that my work has a chance of surviving long after my time, even if no one is around to explain my motivation, inspiration or creative process
My work is designed to connect with an audience on a visual and emotional level. I use rhythms, patterns and colors that excite me. That creates an intense visual experience, if you can see it.
When I am showing my work, I’ll ask people, “What do you see?” It always fascinates me to hear their stories, impressions and the way people connect with my work.
For a long time I would only title my work with colors and/or numbers. I intentionally left it “specifically vague” so people could read into the work what they saw and felt. Nothing bores me more than work that hits you over the head with “Do you get it? My message is really important!”
I think for most abstract artists, there comes a time when we give up trying to explain, rationalize and justify our work. I’ve been told that if I would provide a more academic standpoint or explanation for my work, then my career would accelerate at a quicker pace. However, there are times when I feel that vantage point sucks the life out of the work.
I’m not an academic and don’t feel I need to be. No matter what I say, people will react to my work in ways I can’t control. That’s how I make a unique connection with each viewer. Their experience is part of the process so no explanation is needed.
Artists do not create in order to please others (unless of course they are being commissioned for it). Art is a means of expression and communication, so not everyone will appreciate how we make them feel or what we have to show or tell them. We know this from the beginning, so if someone doesn’t understand or even like my work, I’m not offended. It’s okay. There are millions of other artist’s out there. Keep looking.
It really helped to immerse myself in the Villa experience and disappear for a few hours. After all the thoughts that emerged during my walk through Mesopotamia, I realized that I don’t need to concern myself with what happens afterwards, I just need to paint, enjoy my time and live for now.