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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Artistic Interpretations and alternative facts

When I was in college working on my BA in Fine Art, I would grate when it was time to critique one another's work... especially when it was time to critique mine. These people were always so far off the mark.

That time when I did a still life of things in my dorm room, which happened to include handcuffs that my brother won at the county fair and somehow I kept them as a momento. That still life was deemed deeply sexual when for me, they were a symbol of strength and connection.

That time when the teacher berated me for doing a Madonna and Child print when in reality the woman holding the child was my oldest sister who had died from Cancer at 30 and the child was my 2nd youngest brother who could not break out of mourning... He was broken and my heart was not only broken for me, but for him and the loss of her.  (I brought in the source photo the next day and threw it at him.)

How could these people look at my work in insinuate their own experiences into them. How dare those student (who I realized sometimes later were ALWAYS high for this class) turn strength into something dirty.  How dare that teacher get angry because he thought I had the audacity to draw something iconic without "permission" when what I had drawn was a broken heart.

How dare they.

These misinterpretations have stunted me artistically. It's been many years, but I am still afraid to put myself out there creatively due to what people might think... say. But I am getting there.

I had a thought today... Perhaps there were some truths in those critiques from decades ago. Perhaps I saw my older sister and younger brother as a religious experience. Perhaps there was some naughtiness to the fact that I included the handcuffs. Perhaps my subconscious knew something that my conscious mind was blocking.  Maybe they were right. Maybe they used alternative facts.

Speaking of alternative facts?  What the hell? But if that is the way our country wants to run itself right now... the actual facts will come out in the wash.  Eventually.

A video for your enjoyment.

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