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What is Your Goal?

parrot_suzhou_embroidery

Have you ever seen a beautiful but ultimately pointless work of art? For instance this embroidery illustration from the Suzhou Studio in China is very beautiful, but what information do you get from it? All I am reading from this piece is that the technicians at that studio are very skilled. Does this image of a green parrot at all change how you look at parrots? Does it’s appearance remind you of something else? There is nothing wrong with beautiful things, and placing them in a context within a space can lend them meaning they did not already have, but there is a difference in value for me between works that are about skill and those that have meaning beyond that.

Whenever you look to make a work of art the first thing you should think about is “what am I trying to tell people?” Are you just trying to prove you can do something? That’s ok, there are many works that are experiments in medium or style and called “studies”, but they are not considered finished products; most professionals create studies as research for a more final work.

Bull-Elepahant-970-slideThis example of illustrative embroidery art, this time by Sophie Standing, contains¬† the same level of skill and detail as the above work, but is far more meaningful because the artist went beyond just accurately representing the subject. This piece is using color, texture, and imagery like the flowers within the illustration to add a mystical element to the image of the elephant that is not present in it’s natural appearance. It is also effectively representing the colors and complexity found in the natural world it lives in, and different people will perceive the different elements of this visually interesting work of art in different ways and orders.

With the same amount of work and talent an artist can produce far more meaningful results. The key is knowing what you want to say first, and then working out how to say it, rather than just showing people that you can speak at all.

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