Friday, June 24, 2011

Art Speaks-But Did You Really Catch What It Said?

I know I've been a bad blogger!  But sometimes your life just gets so crazy somethings got to give!  But hopefully sanity has been restored (well, if you call it that) and life may get back to semi-normal- which is my normal.

My last blog I talked about speaking with your art.  This blog I want to explore that theme a little farther.  As a woman's board member for the CMA (Columbus Museum of Art) I volunteered for the Decorators show house.  A major fundraiser of the woman's board, the show house is a Columbus area home redecorated by area interior designers and open to the public for 3 weeks. 

As a volunteer I was basically a docent for several show house rooms.  My job was to read the designers intent and explain the intent and the prominent features of the room to visitors.  It was a lot of fun and having a flair for the dramatic I was well suited to it.  I would bullet point the important things I read in my head, prepare a little speech and tell the visitors what they should know about the room.  What I found was that not all the docents had the same way of doing things.  Several people who came through more than once told me that the last person had not mentioned this or that.  Had not had the enthusiasm for the job I had.  What can I say?  I like people and talking!

What interested me about these comments were that the rooms came alive for the public when they understood the designers intent and were shown it's fine points.  One room, the Veranda, was a stand alone space.  It was cobalt blue and white and very beachy.  A showstopper on its own, but when I explained the floor was hand stenciled like Mediterranean tile-people were excited!  They bent to touch it.  They examined it from all angles.  Asked questions, etc.  Nodded their head when I gave the well known designers name. They were just a little more engaged.  A little more informed about what it was they were seeing.

A room that stood out for me was the "He Den".  In the designers explanation I found much to appreciate, but you did not get all the details and thought put into it from a brief glance around the room.  What was most interesting to me was the art in the room.  The designer had chosen a wonderful piece from Ryan Smith an instructor with CCAD who's large painting of the demolition of city center was the center of the room and design.  The colors for the room were pulled from this painting and when I explained it's meaning there were many excited comments.

What this experience brought home to me is this:  What we do as artists (and I consider interior design to be a form of art!) is to speak through our art.  But rarely does anyone "get it" as a stand alone.  My thoughts are that a piece may touch you for it's color while the artist may not have intended color to be the voice for the piece.  Not that it matters if it speaks to you.  I just think the meanings are deeper with information.  I'm always happy to explain my intent when someone is viewing and I notice they are always then more engaged with the piece.  If they watch me demo they are always more likely to like it or even buy it since I've detailed my thoughts on process and intent as I go. They are more invested and understand the piece better. 

The motto for the CMA is "Art Speaks-Join the Conversation".  How appropriate.