Thoughts : Art as a Theory


During the holidays, I picked up a book recommended to me, “The View From the Studio Door” by Ted Orland. I read through it…kinda. I was picking it up here and there hoping for inspiration when I was stuck in my rut. Some words from this book did help, but I didn’t read it in order, or for long enough for the entirety of it to sink in, which was a mistake.

I pulled it off the shelf today and had some thoughts after re-reading the beginning of it : this is good stuff.

“A map is a theory, and in many ways so is a piece of art.”

I have, as I’m sure most artists have, asked myself “why do I make art”. Something to do? A way to cope with the things that I DON’T show/say? He talks in this chapter about meeting an individual who has an eye for something that the author does not, and how they literally live in different worlds based on these observations (or lack thereof).

It makes sense. Everyone sees the world differently. Physically, we all live on the same planet, breathe the same air, but what makes humanity beautiful on its own is that we as individuals perceive different words. Different realities. The filter I see through will never be the same as someone else looking at the same thing.

To each of us, through our own vision, SEE something that everyone else overlooks. Someone else may SEE what you’ve found as well but their filters may tell them that it is ugly, or bland, or other-worldly, or majestic.

I think that humans desire, at our core, to share our perceptions of what is around us. What is around everyone who is willing to listen/look/read/hear, but that they may not SEE.

I also think, that because of those individual filters, is a part of why we as artists become so blocked at times when it comes to art-making.

What if it doesn’t come out the way I see it?

What if everyone misconstrues what (I think) I have clearly portrayed?

Two questions which I most certainly repeated to myself during my art depression. What it came down to was this.

I love to express myself in this way, an its not for anyone else. I will display it for other people to perceive what they will, but I am content with expressing it, nonetheless.

Art is a THEORY. On what the world is, what emotions are, and what they COULD be.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them!


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