Sometimes a piece of artwork has such a profound impact that you remember it for years to come. I can easily recall how I responded to a charcoal drawing of a funeral procession. The title of the drawing was The Dirge, but I cannot remember the artist's name. I haven't seen that drawing (or any image of it) for more than 14 or 15 years. But the image is ingrained in my mind. More importantly, the feeling is deeply ingrained. I remember staring at it for what seems like forever. It was probably 45 minutes or so.
Other times art is quickly forgotten. Even art that you like is often forgotten before long. Other art is dismissed as soon as you see it because it doesn't move you or perhaps you even dislike it.
My question is why? Why, or maybe a better question is how can some works of art move us so deeply while some are forgotten and others do absolutely nothing for us?
I think there are multiple reasons.
- Language of Emotion. Art is a language that communicates on an emotional level. No words are involved, but there is a dialogue.
- Subconscious Response. Something in the artwork taps into the subconscious of the viewer. It usually involves a memory, but it could also be an ideal, philosophy, or emotion. Often it is a combination of all of these and more.
- Common Connection. One or more of these subconscious responses are shared between the artist and viewer. That shared connection was felt by the artist when the work was created and also felt by the viewer.
- Genuine Sincerity. For that reason, it is important that the artist create with sincerity. The art needs to be a genuine expression. The subject needs to be felt. There should be deeper meaning for the artist. Only then, can a common emotional or philosophical connection exist between artist and viewer.
- Unique Interpretation. This does not mean that the artist and viewer are the same. It does not mean necessarily that the emotion was felt in the same way. The interpretation may be completely opposite from one another. But, the key is, there is something that resonates within both parties on a deep level.
I want to be clear. I am not saying that art that doesn't move you deeply isn't good art. It may very well be. It may even be superb. But, we are all unique. We are each the product of our life experiences and philosophies. These combine in complex ways to contribute to who we are. We each respond differently because we are different.
The works that move you the deepest are the ones that you should add to your collection. I'm not saying thta you should only add works that you connect with at that deep of a level. There is enjoyment and enrichment that comes from any art that you like - at whatever level. But don't let those that you connect most deeply get away from you. They will be the prized pieces in your collection. They will bring your life a higher level of enrichment that you will cherish.