So, I’m speaking to the public here – not the art gallery going public, but the rest of you that are perhaps daunted, shy, or disinterested in the art world. I would like to know what would make you come to a gallery? What would bring you from perhaps the sports field, or the video game, or the comfort of your living room to a venue where there is a display of art? Perhaps the art has been created by someone you know, or their sister, or son, or distant cousin and you are being hounded by your spouse or your friend to come out and see it out of obligation. Or maybe, you are driving by a little place and something sparks your eye – a colour, a shape – something subliminal that speaks to you and says ‘come see me’ but you dont listen to it because you are intimidated by the place. Maybe it’s like that strange plate of appetizers that someone brought to the pot luck – you dont really think you will like it, but is there something about it that makes you want to step outside of your zone and give it a try?
What would make you want to come and look at art?
Maybe you really don’t care about visual stimulation. Although, I think most of us do – or why do we choose different clothing, furniture, running shoes, car colours? Why do we put flower pots beside our doors and display guitars or neon signs, or hub caps, wear lipstick? I believe that we all have some visual favourites and we don’t even realize how much we are directed in our daily lives by things that catch our eye. Think of billboards or advertising on the side of a bus.
What am I getting at? Well, it occurs to me that there are more people in our community that dont go to galleries and art shops than that do. And I am wondering if there is something that we artists and gallery owners could do to reach out to you and get you to step into our spaces -to have you come to one of our openings, or shows and experience the visual and engage in a conversation, perhaps with the artist, about what it is that appeals to you. You don’t have to be an art lover, or an artist, or a collector, or a customer. I believe there is a misconception that art is for those with an art education, or that you will be required to give a lofty opinion about why or why you dont like a piece; Or that you are expected to buy something merely because you looked at it and were interested. The purchase of art is often a long consideration process before you commit to it – if ever you do. Art is a very personal experience – there will not be a quiz at the end to make sure that you understood it.
And so, after all of these questions that I have asked you – I would like to offer a challenge to come and sample some art. Maybe start with the current show that opens on Saturday April 7 (runs til June 9), at Robertson Fine Arts Studio and Gallery at 399 West St., called “Spring Fever”. It is a buffet of art created by various local artists – all work is in a 12” x 12” format. A sampler platter, for those that just want a taste – kind of like when you go to the supermarket and they let you taste a sample – because they think once you try it, you might like it. You know what you like and what you dont like- but maybe we can blur those divisions a little bit for you and have you taste that ‘unusual food’.
This is my first article for Art 4Brant. As a lifelong artist and art educator I believe I have a lot to learn from you, the public. I am going keep asking questions and hopefully get some answers.