Have you ever looked at an artwork and thought, “Ehh…”? You don’t hate the work, but you certainly don’t love it either. You’re not alone. This happens every time I look at art online. Why does this happen? It’s because a connection did not form between you and the artist.
When an artist creates artwork, they are working towards creating a connection on some psychological level between themselves, their artwork, and hopefully, a patron. The connection is an internal meaning that both the patron and the artist can mutually identify with. It’s of paramount importance to creating any art form and specifically to continuing the artist’s particular artistic vision.
Making a connection is a risky affair for most artists. It means sacrificing the need to please everyone approach of your work and instead selecting a particular topic as the subject of the artwork.
Sadly, not every piece of art produced will create the connection that the artist so fervently works for. It’s even possible for the artwork to make connections with other viewers that was never actually grasped by the buyer. That’s the gamble and struggle of art.
Some artists seem to create these connections effortlessly. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci was famous for creating art that glorified his patrons while insulting them at the same time. He was obviously a genius at making meaningful connections to be able to produce such results consistently. But for the rest of us, why are these connections so difficult to create or manage?
It’s not really our ability to create that is the problem. Instead, the answer lies in our individuality as a consumer. As Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark suggests, it’s about themes. When we go art shopping, we usually unconsciously purchase things according the theme in us.
If a rancher goes online looking for western artwork, he or she is probably very attached to art portraying life on a ranch. It’s something the rancher can identify with and it becomes personally important. This makes it highly unlikely that he/she will purchase Japanese Anime.
Anime is not an interest of the rancher and has very little sway in making his or her purchasing decisions. On the other hand, a wonderful metal print of a cow that is for sale will grab the rancher’s attention. People only tend to purchase what they are truly interested in.
Every patron of the arts will differ in opinion about what is worthy of their consideration as a collector and what is not. It’s simply a matter of personal preference.
So, when a photographic artist looks at an image and wonders whether to sell it or not, they must try to select what theme would produce the greatest chance of that shot being sold. In fact, the mere act of placing a picture under a particular theme is also an example of the artist trying to make that ever-elusive connection.
So, what’s your favorite art theme?
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