For a visual artist, appearances are everything. Careful care and consideration must be taken in order to create a work that is both visually stimulating and capable of producing a visceral response. Whether the finished product is two-dimensional (e.g., a photograph, painting or collage) or three-dimensional (e.g., a sculpture or piece of jewelry), an artist living nowadays will likely find it necessary to encapsulate his/her work in a JPEG file, which can then be posted online or submitted to various display venues. Many times, the image representing the original work of art takes on a life of its own.
In her recent blog post, And So…the Object has a Second Life, Patricia of Art Does Matter beautifully explores this topic. At the end of her post, she asks readers: “How much do you think about how your artwork appears online?” My response: quite a bit. I keep various portfolios online, the blog you’re reading being just one of them. In the same way that I would want my physical home to appear visually appealing to guests, I expect that my virtual home be equally as inviting.
There are benefits and drawbacks to sharing work online. The benefit is that the work reaches a wider audience. (I’m thrilled to know that Virtual Iridescence–a page of North American origins–has reached places as far away as Israel, Hong, Kong, and South Africa.) The drawback is that an artist may become tempted to spend an inordinate time primping and prepping online profiles, taking time away from the process of actually creating art and submitting work to be shown.
In her post, Patricia also poses the question: “As makers, is it possible to be pleased with this ‘second life’ that our work becomes?” My response: a resounding “yes!” Photography is a medium I commonly use, and I often find myself inspired by other artists’ work. My photographs, then, become two-dimensional interpretations of the work, “translating” for the viewer the unique way in which I witnessed it.
Take, for example, the photo below. The subject, entitled Echo, is a sculpture composed of Carrera marble, and completed in 1868 by Joseph Alexis Bailly. It was acquired by Philadelphia oil tycoon and art collector Charles Knox Smith, whose former estate houses what is now the Woodmere Art Museum. I like to believe that this image–captured in early 2012–breathes new life into the original piece.
I’d like to extend a big “thanks” to Patricia for inspiring today’s post. Happy art-making!