Thursday, July 01, 2010

Don't Ask Me

People don't always 'read' an artwork the way the artist intended. Each viewing is filtered through a lens of personal knowledge, experience and prejudice that might not refer to anything to do with art, let alone the artist. Individual responses can be complicated and often contrary to what an artist might expect.
It's the same with writing. As an occasional essayist and diarist, I try to choose my words as carefully and as expressively as possible. But they're still prone to misinterpretation.
It doesn't bother me a bit.
Whatever I create, I want it to be able to stand on its own. When I first conceive a series of paintings, I write a few words to describe what I'm setting out to do and why but this is as much for my own understanding as for others. I'm not offering myself up for a discussion or interrogation. Similarly, my writing is not an invitation to converse with me.
I'm OK with whatever response my work provokes. If some don't 'get' it the way I intended, I don't care. I can't mediate, let alone negotiate, everyone's reactions. Even my own are mutable. By the time I've finished a series of works or posted words online, I've moved on and my mind is elsewhere – sometimes, it has changed completely.
The way I see it, my job is to decide what I want to put out there. The rest is up to...well, you.

7 comments:

Sandra Hendricks said...

I like this outlook. It is all too easy for another to misconceive or misinterpret. This is excellent!

JenXer said...

When I first started sharing my art with other people, I would get frustrated when someone didn't "read" a piece in the way I intended. I thought it was a failing on my part, in skill or execution (or both).

Now, I get excited when someone *has* an opinion about a piece, especially when it deviates from my original thoughts, because it means they've taken ownership of it.

rino said...

A good assurance: I'm not responsible for anyone else's misinterpretation(s).

James Schmeling said...

I understand the comment about your art being your art, and not caring about interpretation, but I don't understand the point about your blogging "I'm not offering myself up for a discussion or interrogation." Isn't that the very essence of blogging and social media? Discussion and interaction? I am always interested in the interaction in blogs and online journals. If I wanted no interaction I'd disable comments or write in a forum not accessible to others. I confess to a reluctance to posting this comment though - perhaps it's not welcome, and perhaps this is antithetical to what you want from your audience.

Artist J lester said...

Hazel, Thank You for sharing your life, Art, and creative journey with all of us. I enjoy your writing, and sharing so much. Right now, I wish you the best for the changes you are going thru, and for your Father as well.
much love & respect,
Jenn

Solemn Reverie said...

same with poetry. many people interpret and perceive my poetry different than my personal intentions. comes with the territory, I guess.

Silence Dogood said...

Hazel Dooney reminds me of Dagny Taggert from the epic story, Atlas Shrugged. I believe it is her confidence and certainty of vision that often disturbs others. So many artists clamor for attention -- either from their audience or the gatekeepers. This is why it is so odd when someone refuses that dance.

Perhaps the comment area is not a place to expect conversation from the artist but simply a place to express their own reflections on Dooney's art. Writing, especially in this electronic age, is often truth-telling and can be seen as an invitation to intimacy. But that would be assumptive.

Nevertheless, I visit for the sheer joy of recognizing one artist who says her creations are first and foremost, hers. And means it.