I used to love bugging my artist friend by pointing to random things and asking, “Is this art?” I would claim that “the beauty is in the eye of the beholder” while she said that the art represented the ideas of the artist. Turns out, we were both right, or each half right.
Art is a method of communication between humans with limited perspectives. One side of the communication is producing the art. The artist puts significance into every detail of their work, usually regarding their own lives and struggles. The other side comes from the audience consuming the art.
When you interpret art, you will gather the information that is presented but will synapse that information to your own experiences. You do not know the experiences that the artist is representing but that’s the whole point: you are able to place the representation of another person’s thoughts onto your own!
Art can refer to any medium in which a person can express their intended thoughts in a way that can be interpreted by other people. That medium can be a book, a painting, a song, a dance, a show, anything that an audience can interpret.
The best art will have multiple types of ambiguous stimuli to allow the audience to have a diverse interpretation. The art should relate to the audience, but only enough for them to recognize the relationship. It’s up to the audience to synapse the stimuli to their own experiences. This is why art can “speak to you,” you’re just linking it to your own life.
We can also explain art using a neurograph. Art will try to stimulate thoughts from multiple places around your neurograph by using shapes, colors, sounds, or common items. All of the stimulated neural paths will synapse together as aspects of the artwork. Your interpretation is caused by the stimulated clusters seeking a path to completion, especially when we look for a meaning. Art is often a global process because it spans such a wide area and requires many synapses to solidify the neural cluster.
In addition to discovering how an work of art relates to your own experiences, you have the ability to empathize and determine how the art relates to the artist. When observing art, you can relate it back to yourself or you can try to determine why the artist made each decision. In the latter case, you are empathizing and making synapses based on what you know about the artist. If you observe a work that’s all about a doll, perhaps a childhood memory inspired the artist.
An artist is trying to portray an intended message or feeling. You can choose to apply the representation of the artist’s feelings to your own life, or you can try to understand the intention the artist is trying to share. Regardless of how you choose to interpret art, you are completing neural paths and releasing pleasure in the process. Hopefully you’ll be able to gain something from someone else’s art, and hopefully you’ll feel confident enough to share your feelings through your own art.
We are a social species that loves to communicate and learn. Even when you speak, you are creating a work of art with every sentence. The words you speak are merely a translation of your thoughts which must be interpreted by your audience.
We are all artists finding and sharing the beauty we see in the world. You are unique and nobody else has the same perspective as you. Remember to enjoy other people’s uniqueness and don’t be scared to share your own.