Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Art's Not Finished Until Lots of People See It

Warning: big ramblings ahead

A piece of artwork or film is not finished until a lot of people see it.

It doesn’t become what it is until the audience participates in it. I might finish it, I might take my hand out of it and say its over, but from there, it enters a new place.

The artwork first started from an extra-personal place. The voices of society, your own voices (which develop from sources outside yourself) go into the creation of the artwork. Once it goes through you, then it goes out into society, to percolate in the subconscious of others.

And that process can take a long time. For some immortal pieces of art, it never really ends. People see it, it stirs emotions, which generate commentary, which affect the perception of the piece by others. In that way the piece changes through time. As the artist, you can’t control that process, but its affecting the artwork nonetheless.

That’s why the artist’s work is not finished when she finishes drawings/painting/animating, whatever. It’s not finished until she puts it out into the world, promotes it, and exposes it to as many people as possible. It’s just not finished until lots of people have seen it.

I’m thinking about this because I have a hard time with promoting my work. If I frame it as an extension of the creative process, rather a realm outside of it, then maybe it will be easier to do it. I’m trying to remember that other people’s reactions to my work, however surprising they are to me, are just as important as my own perception of it.

What do you guys think? How do you view the promotion/exposure of your own work?


  1. Fortunately, my reactions to your work are usually simple:

  2. I think that an artist has a responsibility to expose the art that they create to the world as best as possible. I'm more of a hobbyist, but I think that a professional artist's role in society is to give birth to ideas, put them in a communicable form, and strategically expose them to the world to let them reach a form of maturity. I don't think that it is appropriate to just get the exposure however possible, but, if an artist chooses their outlets carefully, and thinks about how they present their work, I think they can maintain, to a high degree, the original intent and feeling that went into the artworks creation. Sorry for the wordiness here, but your post made me start thinking about this with a little more clarity. Definitely worth thinking about.