Learning to See/Breaking the Myth

Abstract_5500, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yesterday, while I was hunkered down in my house hoping against all hope that I would not blow away (it was WINDY in Austin yesterday. Phew!) I starting flipping through some recent Facebook posts on my phone (because I was too afraid to turn on the TV, what with the strong winds, power outages, and all) and happened upon something interesting.

Now, first a bit of a back story. Many of the people I follow on Facebook are, in fact, my artist-type friends. You know this type, they are artist, painters, photographers, video/filmmakers, and the lot. And, frankly, most of them buy art, or know how to buy art, or know when to buy art, or, at least, know how to look at a picture (if they must.) Yesterday, I had an interesting run in (of sorts) with somebody who wasn’t like that. No, instead, she’s a lady I follow because she often posts funny jokes (and, if you must know, no, they are not jokes about photography.) She’s, well, she’s just funny and so that’s why I follow her. No harm in that, right? OK, so, to recap, I follow this lady on Facebook and she’s not the typical artist type that I usually bum around with, no, instead she’s just sort of this lady who posts jokes and I find her rather funny.

Yesterday, she posted something about having a frame. Turns out she had purchased a frame, like that you would put a photograph into, and she didn’t know what to put inside the frame. She bought the frame because, well, I guess, she rather liked the frame, but now she was posting on the Internet, asking her followers (her many followers-she actually has a lot of followers. Did I mention she tells really funny jokes?) which child she should put into the frame. She was asking what to put in the frame, and wondering what to do with it, because she (honestly!) didn’t know.

This…wow…what can I say?

If I had a frame, any frame, I’d have about a million pictures to put into it. Even if I didn’t put one of my own in it, I would never, not in a million years, have to ask what to put into it over the Internet. I would just…well, I would just….know. And she didn’t. Not to say that she’s stupid (she’s not) and not to say that she just doesn’t know any better (she does) just to say that she didn’t know what to put in her shiny new frame.

My point in posting this today though is not all about her. You see, if you are an artist type (and, let’s face it, you probably would be if you’ve stumbled onto this blog) you’re probably now thinking, “Oh, wow….like, she’s totally out of it!” When, the reality, the sad reality, is that she’s not out of it. No, she’s not one of the ones who are “out of it” actually, we are. What I mean by that is that many of the people out there, heck, probably most of the people out there, don’t know how to find pictures. They don’t take that many pictures. They don’t know how to buy art. They don’t know, in many cases, that they can even buy art. They just live with blank frames. (Seriously.) The world is full of these people. And, if you are to be a successful artist, you can’t always make art for folks like me (waves hand.) No, you’ve got to make art, any kind of art, that includes her because, well, frankly, there are a lot more people like her out there then there are people like me out there. Seriously.

It can be difficult to pull people into the “art” world. By that I mean, sometimes, we literally have to “pull them in.” Rope them up. Wrangle them. Drag them kicking and screaming. Accept the fact that they will be better off for our efforts, yes, but that’s after the fact. We have to drag them to the starting gate, as it were. Sometimes, rather than try to sell art, we actually have to teach people that they can see. That’s it’s OK to see. That they are capable of making decisions about art. That it’s OK to ask for advice, yes, but that, at the end of the day, art is about liking what you like, nothing more, nothing less.

Nobody should laugh at her because she didn’t know what to put in the frame, rather artist types like myself should help her. Help her see what she already sees. Help her along the way to appreciating art for what it is, what it really is…not fancy names or out-of-touch snooty gallery spaces, no. It’s about what you want to see on your walls, inside of your otherwise blank frames. It’s about what you love. Until we break some of these common myths about art, until we face reality and stop being so upper crust, let’s face it, we’ve knocking a lot of people out of the market who might (who would!) otherwise be there. So, bring it down to earth! I say, it’s the better way to be.

Until next time…

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