Monday, July 23, 2012

The Art of Observation*

The following was originally posted on April 30, 2012. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective:

I've been observing and enjoying a lot of public art lately. It might be because I'm traveling and so my eyes are open to noticing the world around me in different ways than usual. But even when I was last home, I found myself increasingly viewing the world in terms of visual art. I've been trying to take more pictures, and I always have my camera (or cell phone camera, at least) on hand and it makes all the difference when I am consciously aware of each new corner of the world as a potential photographic subject.

In every city I visit, I'm finding there is a notable presence of public art: dynamic sculptures, wall murals (some commissioned, some graffiti) activist-inspired installations, and much much more.

These discoveries have led me to think a lot about the presence and role of art in the world in general, and in public spaces in particular. I think about how essential it is, how delightfully overwhelming it can be to be startled, moved, inspired, made to giggle or to react in some visceral way to a piece of art encountered unexpectedly.

There's great power in art, which of course I knew already, being an artist myself, but the sort of art I pursue is more deliberate somehow. Readers don't tend to "accidentally" read a novel, not in the way you can so easily stumble into a piece of visual art, or overhear a song. I suppose you could compare the act of turning a corner and meeting a delicious sculpture to the act of browsing a bookstore and discovering a gem of a read you might never have gone in search of but just finds its way into your hand at the opportune moment.

At any rate, these recent glimpses of art continue to surprise and delight me. I continue to take their pictures and fold them into the photographic record of the life I am currently living. Which, I suppose is another layer of art unto itself.

Do you tend to notice art in the world around you?

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