Whenever I show my work often times I’m often asked “where do you draw your inspiration from?”. My prepared response is usually nature, music or family. The interaction rarely lasts for more than a few minutes and typically the person asking the question comes away feeling satisfied – Or that’s my assumption. However over the years, I’ve found myself asking “did I really connect with the viewer?”. I ask this because when posed a question, I feel the need to give a polished, concise answer so not to occupy too much of the viewer’s time. But there’s some part of me that wants to connect with others in a meaningful way. A connection, where both viewer and artist is comfortable having an ongoing dialogue. It’s one of the reasons why I create, and the reason I’m writing this post today.
It’s my belief that we are social, inquisitive creatures by nature. So I’ve learned over the years to receive any question as the viewer’s genuine attempts to understand the artwork or the artist. It’s also an opportunity for the artist to get to know the viewer.
Today I’ve learned to follow the viewer’s queue and cater each response to their level of interest, ask questions, engage them in the conversation. I’ve learned to spend as much or little time that the viewer allows. By engaging the viewer in this way I’ve learned the most insightful things. It’s what worked for me in forming lasting a relationship with the viewer and adds to the richness of the discussion. After all, the viewer is just as much a part of the art experience.
As an artist, teacher, business professional etc. what’s your approach to opening a dialogue with your audience?
In my next post, I will discuss further the inspiration behind my work.