Ugh, the big questions!!
So many great pieces of art come with considerable meaning attached to them. The teachers and historians explain with great detail the significance of each element of the piece and how the artist was trying to tell some great story, highlight a social issue, or depict their own personal struggles.
And so many artists have impressive stories to tell! They have seen something in the world and they wish to show their vision through their art. These artists are story tellers. Sometimes it is the good and sometimes it is the bad, but these artists hold a mirror up the world and demand that we LOOK!
I always quietly wished I was one of these artists. I wanted to have some huge, important story to tell as I handed over my pieces for assessment at school. I wanted to be able to stand up and hold my art to the world and say “This means something!!” However I have never found it to be in my personality to intentionally create art for this purpose, and at times this has made me feel like “less” of an artist.
I certainly have my own share of personal demons, and I see so many things in the world which I think demand a closer look. But I am not as bold as those story tellers. While I see plenty of stories to tell, my personal approach to life is quieter and much more optimistic. While the storms of life rage on, I take time to look for the little things, the pretty things, the millions of tiny wonders that surround me every single day. While the daily news jabbers in the background telling me to be afraid, and the thousand pressures of modern life try to grind me into submission, I try to shift my focus to studying a bee working on a flower or breathing in the colours of the afternoon light.
Now I am older, I understand that my outlook on the world IS the meaning behind my art! The two concepts are inseparable. I want the people who see my art to stop for a moment and appreciate the little things; for example, the way the light shines through an onion skin like a stained glass window, or the moment a frog is balanced precariously amongst the flowers. I want to hold up that artists mirror and show you magnificent things and uplifting moments! If I don’t achieve this lofty goal, I hope that my art gifts the viewer a brief moment in their day to let go of the stresses of the world and rest their mind upon something beautiful. That is more than enough meaning for me.