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The reputation behind artists as having an intellectual, exclusive discourse is probably familiar with those who find they are less creatively literate than others. But it’s not at all true. While there are certainly some intimidating characters in the art industry, it isn’t any more exclusionary than any other passion or interest. And once you discover that, you can start enjoying art for what it is.
We decided to take a few myths about the art industry and show how they are simply untrue. Once you learn to not feel so overwhelmed by an industry you may not completely understand, you can start immersing yourself in it, and joining the experts.
Let’s not even get started on the scary nature of a gallery or museum; guards wandering around, most of the people walking through in quiet contemplation. It can be difficult to feel like it’s the appropriate time to speak in such a quiet space, but it can also be even more difficult knowing exactly what to say.
Are you allowed to ask questions without feeling foolish? Should you just remain in ignorance for fear of being judged? While, of course, some questions artists find annoying, it’s perfectly reasonable and even encouraged to ask questions about a work if you aren’t sure. But use your curious mind appropriately. If you’re in a gallery, try to look around for what you can find out for yourself first. Usually in a gallery there will be a bio beside the work which can get you an idea of what the piece is about. Investigating the ideas around a piece of work can also help you appreciate it more.
There’s also a particular discourse around art that can sometimes seem complex to an outsider, but this discourse, like any, can be learned. And your range of vocabulary doesn’t make your opinion any less significant. The language can be taught, but you have all the skills and understanding to understand how to discuss and analyse a piece already. If you’re a newbie to talking about art, check out our article on art analysis for beginners to get started.
The great thing about art is that it is subjective to taste. As an aesthetic medium, your appeal or lack of appeal to a work does actually hold value regardless of your situation, so don’t feel ineligible just because you don’t have a degree under your arm or a folio of artwork of your own.
It’s also important to remember that it’s okay not to like an artwork, and it’s okay to not fully understand it. Creativity is all subjective and while you may not be skilled in one way, you might have a creative eye in another genre or medium. Use your particular eye to give your own unique and personal opinion. The great thing about art is that it’s always changing and always learning, so learn with it!
This is the case to a certain degree. People with the same interests and work experiences tend to bond together, and the art industry usually will have a community that is all interwoven amongst each other. But, like anything, it’s possible to find your way in, and most art lovers are enthusiastic about finding new and interesting friends. You should always be aware that if you come into something as a newbie, you will be an outsider to an extent, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Take ventures into galleries as an opportunity to socialise and learn. The more you communicate with other members of the community, the more you can get a better understanding of it. So next time you’re exploring an exhibition, strike up a conversation with one of the other onlookers. Ask them what their favourite piece is, ask them what inspired them to come to the event, get them talking and start building your own social circle that way. The great thing is that people working in art are very happy to share their opinion. So with a few pushes, you may even end up finding your way into that community you once were watching from the outside.
Once you’ve built the courage to give the art community a chance, head to Art Lovers Australia online and get a glimpse of some beautiful, totally not intimidating works of art.