artist's inspiration - dancing figures by Samira Harris

In many artworks the message that the artist is trying to communicate is obvious even to the uninformed viewer. Take the work of British artist Jo Bunce. Her highly detailed approach to painting flowers needs no explanation – she simply wishes to portray the beauty of the flowers she paints.

But in many other works the viewer can appreciate the skill of the artist, find the image evocative or disturbing but may not really know what message the artist is trying to convey. This is particularly true of abstract art.

This is where some background on the artist’s inspiration for a specific piece can greatly add to the appreciation of that work. But background, does not mean the Artist’s Statement that most artists seem to produce under duress and with great difficulty. The reason many artists statements sound somewhat false and stilted is because artists, by their very nature, are skilled at communicating visually. This does not always make them good communicators via words. And does a viewer or potential buyer of art really want to read at length about the artist, their work, how and why they create art in the way they do?

A viewer is attracted first and foremost by the image itself. Then a few sentences giving them some insight into a particular work can simply enhance their enjoyment of the work.

Art is not just about creating something visually appealing but about a dialogue between the creator and the viewer. The artist communicates a message and the viewer responds emotionally. Without that dialogue a piece of art has no meaning and can it really be classed as art if it is no more than a decorative image with no meaning behind it.

Unfortunately in today’s throw-away society so-called “art” with no meaning and little merit is mass-produced for the masses. Instead of being something to treasure it is often bought simply to match the décor and discarded when the décor is changed.

This is such a shame when there are so many fantastic artists producing art that can bring another dimension to a living space, provide a talking point for years to come and, yes, can also be beautiful.

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