Should Art Evoke Emotion?

As I sit down to write this post I’m 2 feet away from the last large piece I just painted. 48”x36” staring me right in the face. I’m looking at it and I’m thinking “This character makes me feel this and that character makes me feel that and the whole thing makes me wonder what the heck is going on.”

A really interesting thing when I paint is that I don’t know who’s going to show up in the piece! I have no idea when I begin a piece what the eyes of the characters are going to stay to me. They seem to be a reflection of things that are going on in my own mind and that’s really cool because once I see them in the painting I feel my burden has been lightened a little bit out in the “real” world. I wonder if I keep painting how light my burden might become? Or will it get heavier with all kinds of expectations and mind chatter that I might impose upon myself?

I’ve discovered that when I paint…I really love it, and I really get excited, when a piece is showing me a message. The piece that I am speaking of, that I’m looking at, is showing me something, not really sure what. I think it’s about loosening up and letting go. I know it makes me happy to look at it. I love the colour and the balance and the composition of it. I like the little sneaky eyes that snuck in while I was painting it. But it makes me wonder. Should all art evoke emotion of some kind? I look at a lot of art and I’m bored. I’m really sorry to say that and I know a lot of people put their hearts and souls into things but I really feel bored by a lot of stuff. Is that OK? Is there a lot of art that’s just supposed to be background noise? Hanging on the wall in a hotel room or in your bathroom just to take up space? Giant pieces of whatever in hotel lobbies and in malls just filling up the space. Airports are a lot like that there’s a lot of weird art in airports. Some of it not very good, I know it’s subjective…some people love a lot of what I don’t. Sometimes you get surprised and you see something really interesting but you’re just zooming by on your way to your flight and you don’t get a chance to really stop and take a good look. Last time I was in Las Vegas we stayed at the Bellagio hotel and they knew what they were doing with art. They had a lot of great pieces and I had the time to stop and stand there and appreciate the art in the public space. It was wonderful. They have a beautiful Chihuly Installation of art glass on the ceiling in the lobby. I sat on a cushy lobby seat with all the other tourists and stared up at it. It was very colourful and the shapes were beautiful. All that colour and form and the wonder of how the hell they hung all that glass from the ceiling….it stays with you.

I like painting and viewing pieces that make me laugh or ponder the meaning of life or make me snort my tea out of my nose when I think about what the heck I just saw. I like art that evokes something in me, even if it’s disturbing. I think a lot of people are numb in this day and age. Everything is prepackaged and ready for consumption. We are all supposed to wear the right clothes and have the right cell phones and drive the right cars. I think there’s so much beauty in the odd and the different and the strange. In my opinion it should be arts job to poke us in the eye once in a while and say “Hey, I’m different and weird and you probably are too.”

Whatever it is. A painting, a piece of pottery, an art T-shirt, a carpet. Just please…be different enough to wake me up a little bit from the daily grind and say “Here I am…aren’t I neat?”

“Double Date” 48”x36” Acrylic On Gallery Wrapped Canvas

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