• Carolyn Land

The Viewer Artist Connection

A work of Art is completed by the Viewer.”                                                                           Marcel Duchamp

The dialog created in all the art forms, between artist and viewer, listener, or reader, is an exciting form of creative human expression and communication.  A way of enriching the human experience .The “non creator” wants to find a story in the art, something to connect with.

Mixed Media piece by FL artist Carolyn land

What’s Left Behind           Collage


Art not only records society but enriches it.  In many ways it translates experiences across space and time. Therefore, it is important for the artist to define his / her story. Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts are often considered to be the repository of a society’s collective memory. So, what is your story?  What is the message you wish to impart to your viewer?

Research has shown art affects the fundamental sense of self. When a viewer connects with the artists sense of self, it transfers a power and piques their interest. We all want people to look at our art and appreciate it.  So we should let then see who we are.  It is when we work from our core, that our work takes on meaning and people connect with it.

Do you work to record an event: a person, place or thing? Does your work show your love of a subject? Is it to make a political or religious statement? Is it to fight an injustice and make people aware of a situation?  Is it to show the relationship of colors or shapes to each other, or how lines create tension when placed nest to each other?

The role of the viewer in art is very important, because in the end they are the ones who set its value. It is the viewer and buyers who set the trends and put a value on work with the prices they pay.  This is unfortunate in so many ways. I am NOT saying this to suggest that we create in any art field, to please other people, or to “fit in” to what is trending.  It is meant to indicate the importance of creating a dialog with the viewer!

Not every piece of artwork is a commentary on society, but every piece tells a tale—no matter how subtle or abstract. A piece of art is so much more than its aesthetic attributes. It’s a portal into the artist’s life and their unique experiences. While the aesthetics draw a viewer in, the story is often why people fall in love with a piece.  If I am present at the point of sale of a piece of work, I am always asked how and why I did it.

From the first cave painting to the “New Modern Art Age”, art has been telling a story, not just about society, but of the inner “heart” of its creators.  It is good for us to know why we do something.  Spending a little time reflecting on the why of what we do, and our reasons for doing it, can enrich our choices and will speak to our audience.

If you read art history, the story behind famous paintings is fascinating and each artist has a different story, and most have a different story for each painting. For Example: Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”


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