Thursday, May 31, 2012

Art that keeps you coming back again and again

If you like a painting you keep going back to look at it some more.  Over half (52%) of the people who responded to this month's Making A Mark Poll "How long do you spend looking at a painting you like?" underlined the point that looking at a painting you like takes more than one visit.

Most people who like a painting don't just look at it once.  They pay it a repeat visit:
  • 28% of respondents said they pay periodic visits and 
  • 24% pay frequent repeat visits.  
127 respondents in May 2012 - see POLL: How long do you spend looking at a painting you like?

Less than 7% spent less than a minute looking at art they liked.  Unlike the Daily Mail experiment (see We know what we like, and it's not modern art! How gallery visitors only viewed work by Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin for less than 5 seconds), only 2% of respondents wanted to look at art they liked for less than 15 seconds.

An exercise in looking at art

One of the interesting aspects of this poll is to consider what you want to do when visiting an art gallery, art museum or art exhibition - and then think about how people view your own art

Here's an exercise to get you thinking!

Ask yourself these questions when you've reviewed the artwork on view in an exhibition or gallery
  • Do you need to go back and look at a painting (or sculpture or whatever) again?
  • Did you route your path through a gallery or museum so you could look at a particular work again?
  • What is it about the artwork you like which keeps drawing you back?
    Now think about your own art
    • What do people comment on when they look at your art?
    • What do people say they like in particular when looking at your art?
    • Does your art make people want to look at it again and again?
    • Does it contain a motif or coloration or a particular technique which will make people want to look at it again and again?
    • Does it contain the elements which attract you to other artwork?
    Speaking personally, other than the artwork which has won prizes, the artwork I feature in this blog is very often the artwork which I've had to go back and have another look at on my third trip around the gallery or exhibition.  I usually go round an exhibition three times before I leave:
    • once quickly - to see what's there
    • once slowly - to look more carefully at the works on display
    • once again - to make sure I didn't miss anything - and to look again at the works I particularly liked
    It's why I frequently go to exhibitions on my own!

    How do you view art?


    artThe Making A Mark Poll - Resources for Artists


    Are you like other artists? Every month I ask the artist readers of my popular art blog what they think about some aspect of being an artist and selling art...

    4 comments:

    Kristina Wentzell said...

    Interesting article--why I like to go to art exhibits on my own as well. I'm forever wandering here and there, circling back to take a second look at favorite pieces. I can never seem to take in a show in a linear fashion.

    Julie Ford Oliver said...

    If I like a painting I usually get up close and study the surface to see how the artist performed the act of magic.( At least a full 5 minutes) If the image stays with me, I return to enjoy another exploratory session, looking at composition, color mixtures as well as technique. This one can last quite a while because I often take notes. I am always thrilled to find art which connects straight to my art junkie soul!

    Gary said...

    My process is a bit like yours, but I always like to do my second pass in reverse. There's possibly a thesis in here somewhere, but if I view an exhibition say, clockwise first time round I will make sure I go anti-clockwise next and it is astonishing to me how much extra I pick up just by standing on the other side of work, or looking at it from another angle, or seeing it with a different group of strangers, or looking again after I've seen other works, or (especially) after I've done a quick sketch or made some notes of something in the show. But look, look again, then look again brings so much depth to the experience. I think it's called engagement.

    Katherine Tyrrell said...

    I've done that - and I have to agree with you. Walking in reverse makes it seem almost like a whole new exhibition at times - I get surprised by pieces I've already seen. I wonder if it's something to do with the influence of the pieces hanging either side?



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