The Laws of Art

Well, it’s been a while! Spring break was…interesting. It’s one of those liminal moments in your life at college where everything – and yet nothing – seems to happen. Last year I had traveled to Haiti for a week, and this time, I decided to stay home. I visited my parents, avoided my homework for way too long, met up with friends, slept a lot, and didn’t blog.

I kind of missed it. Believe me, unless you’ve done it consistently before, the chore of it becomes annoying. And yet, when you stop, it’s like something is missing. I haven’t had the chance to think about whether I’ll continue this (even after the assignment is completed). I think only time will tell. Maybe I’ll drop down to posting only a few times a week.

Regardless, part of my spring break time was spent visiting a few art galleries. All of them were featuring student work – some of which go to my own school. Yet again, I was subject to being out of my comfort zone. And that’s always fun.

One thing that really annoys me is when someone will write off a piece of art immediately. And when asked why they didn’t like it, they’ll say “I don’t get it.” Nine times out of ten.

I’m sorry, but what a lame excuse. I’m an art student, have had quite a few classes studying art history and modern design, and yet I *understand* about 1% of the art I see. More often than not, especially when viewing mediums I’m not personally familiar with, I don’t necessarily enjoy the art. But, I’ll be with someone who absolutely adores it.

So where do we draw the line? What is art? I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t think anyone really truly does. One of the worst critiques someone can give or receive at our school is the mere “I like it.” Channel your inner Terrible Twos mantra here: Why?

Ask why over and over again to yourself. If you can’t explain why, keep your “I like/don’t like it” comment to yourself until you’ve figured it out. I’m being harsh here, but it’s an important thing to talk about. Everyone has their own preferences, aesthetics, pet peeves, etc. about art and design. There are observational laws about art (check out this website for a few interesting ones regarding UX design), but there are no rules that tell you what you can and can’t do. And therefore, what classifies it as such.

Dig up some self-awareness and question everything. Art is supposed to be an interaction of viewing and then the thinking of such interaction (and no, that wasn’t me making a law). Even if you hate everything about a piece, find something you think is interesting. Maybe it’s the color placement; the material used; the technique it showcases; the way it’s hung on the wall. I’ve argued with friends about the innate interest of everything. I believe everything is interesting – you just need to look for it. Art is not excluded from this. Look for it, and you’ll find it.