Ten Reasons to Look at Others’ Art
1. Looking at art is interactive and engages your brain. Looking at others’ art might help you to become unstuck on a problem you’re trying to solve in your own work. The particular stroke of a brush, or the way a rusted shred of metal is applied to the larger might give you an Eureka! moment.
2. Because viewing art is usually a public event, you will expose yourself to members of your community. Knowing others in the community accomplishes many positive things including, on the selfish end of the spectrum, exposing yourself to others as an artist; and on the altruistic end of the spectrum it may reveal to you opportunities to become more involved in your community. Spending time with others looking at art also gives you a sense of what type of art your community enjoys.
3. (When viewing online) You will be exposed to a diverse amount of art that would not be possible in real life. Viewing art online is also a chance to take a break from any work you might be doing, while still extracting value from your activity.
4. You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself to the proprietor of the establishment in which the art is being displayed. By doing this, you are laying groundwork for establishing a relationship with this person, thereby enabling you to more easily suggest that your work be shown in this venue at some point in the future.
5. You will begin to develop a more clear idea of how your art should be displayed in a public space. Even if you have been displaying your work for years, another artist may choose to display his work in such an effective way that you may want to adopt that style as an experiment the next time you show your work. If you’ve never shown your work publicly before, or are just beginning to display your work, you might learn about what is expected when displaying your work. Think about things like framing, matting, and the actual hanging of the work, as well as artist statements, guestbooks, and price lists.
6. You can learn what NOT to do. Let’s face it, sometimes you walk into a place and think to yourself, How in the world did this person ever get a show? Maybe you think that because the artwork is terrible. Maybe you think that because the work is poorly matted or framed. Whatever the reason, you can learn from others’ mistakes.
7. Go to gallery openings and learn how the host artist is expected to behave. If you are just beginning to display your work, you are going to be nervous at your first few shows. I’ve been displaying for years, and I’m nervous after ALL of my shows. Attending the opening night of an exhibition of an established artist can teach you how to behave (or sometimes how NOT to behave) when others are praising (or insulting) your work.
8. You will be inspired. Often, when I am feeling listless and unmotivated to make my own art, I purposely go to an art gallery with a blank notebook and an open mind. Sometimes, I see art that makes me want to make art because I know I can do it better than what I’m looking at on some wall. Other times, it challenges me to explore new themes that I may not have explored before.
9. You can learn by copying. Yes, it seems almost juvenile, but copying someone else’s work can help you to learn. Walk into a gallery, and if they allow photographs, snap a few photos to take home with you and copy later. The photos don’t have to be perfect, just enough to give you an idea of what you’re trying to get at. Most galleries will let you take non-flash photos. If they don’t, draw a quick sketch in your scketchbook for later reference.
10. Because it’s fun! And inexpensive.
Do you go to art galleries or look at other people’s art online? Why do you go to galleries. Or why do you view art online? Do you do both? What are some of your favorite sites online to view art? Let me know in the comments.