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Submitted on
January 15, 2013
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PE: The power of context

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 6:04 AM

A picture is indeed "worth a thousand words", a complex idea can be conveyed with a single still image. This quote also characterizes one of the main goals of visualizations, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. In our perception of artworks we see every day, some get closer to our hearts than others. Imagine a painting, strong and powerful, technique showing an experienced, steady hand, needing nothing but a pair of eyes to enter one's sensitive soul. Are you satisfied with what you see? I wouldn't count on that, but I would be quite sure that after a while your head fills with numerous questions.

On the contrary, your favorite artist publishes their recent work and you, as always, immediately love it. If, however, you would allow your mind a little exercise, you could clearly see that if this work was shown to you at random, under different circumstances and you would not know the author, hardly would it catch your interest for a second.

What is important than, the picture or the context? I will let you decide for yourself, what I intend to mention in this article are a few tips for artists that can hardly understand why their wonderful artworks go around unnoticed. Meanwhile, I strongly hope these will help you on your way to become properly understood and recognized.

:bulletpurple: SIGN IT - In all your creations, you should always use one specific signature, the one that is readable by people. The importance of signing every artwork you make is clear, every time someone sees a piece of art they like, first question asked is "Who is the artist?" The answer needs to be there.

beware of  -  Signature so big and glaring that it puts the picture itself in the corner looks rather ridiculous.

 :bulletpurple:TITLE IT - This is very important, many artists does not bother with titles and their works end up either "untitled" or with numbers as if their creations were cups of coffee. Title says quite a lot about your perception of your own work - giving it a proper name establishes personal attachment, revealing part of its message, thought, idea.

beware of - Offensive and inappropriate titles, numbers, random letters.

:bulletpurple: DATE IT - Especially when the artwork you are presenting was made earlier and your style has developed ever since. By dating your works, you provide your audience a timeline in which they can follow your progress, development of your technique and subjects.

beware of - Providing a false information.

:bulletpurple: EXPLAIN IT - on DeviantArt we have an "artist description" window that gives you enough space for anything you would want to say about the artwork and I suggest you use it. Personally, nothing saddens me more than to see a wonderful artwork with blank and deaf description. Besides artwork commentary, you are welcome to mention your progress, was the work spontaneous or carefully planned, what thoughts command you to work this way, etc.

beware of - Overly long essays, inappropriate phrases but mainly indecent self-criticism - if you truly hate it so much, don't publish it.

:bulletpurple: PLACE IT IN A LARGER CONTEXT - What and who influenced you? What book were you reading, what music were you listening to? What was going on in your personal life? These questions seem to be too much, but often it is exactly a deep personal experience that leads you towards creating something unusual. If you dare to share it, you are on a good way to form a strong connection between your artworks and your audience.

beware of - Listing numerous insignificant events or publishing inside jokes nobody but you understands.

:bulletpurple: LIST THE INGREDIENTS - Techniques you've used shouldn't under no circumstances remain a mystery, make it transparent, list your tools consistently. Not only you will help starting artists and students by pointing them to the right direction towards a specific technique, but you will most likely avoid suspicions regarding origin of your artwork.

beware of - There is no need to list 20 graphite pencils you've used in your sketch one by one, your eraser or a tissue. As with everything, stick to the point.

:bulletpurple: BE - THERE - Publish your works continuously, give it time, be open for discussion and opinions. Write personal journals from time to time, if you like. People will start perceiving your work in a context of yourself, your thoughts and circumstances in which you create. Remember that a "familiar thing" is always seen differently than an unknown picture out of context.

beware of - Overdoing it.

What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article? How do you go around giving your artworks a title? Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?

Write your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week.
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Ceares Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm always afraid of being too talky and think, nobody really cares about my thoughts/process on this piece, be it art or writing. I guess I'll have to amend my thinking on this.
MrTommaya Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
Thanks, that was pretty much what i needed! =)
pyro-pyscho Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Student General Artist
Very, very helpful!
I will have to get better about all of these things...
Miss-Crystal-chan Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahhh, I totally agree with all of this- ESPECIALLY the point concerning blank descriptions.

One, it gives me the impression that the artist thinks that they're so good that they don't need to say anything else. Two, it gives me the impression that maybe they're not the original artist, and that's why they can't say anything about how the piece was made what the inspiration to make it was. Three, it gives me the impression that the artist doesn't care enough... Well, if they don't care, then why should I?

Lovely article! I really enjoy reading about these kinds of topics! :D
Windklang Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article - Things that seem to be either not important or so self-evident, that one seldom bothers to give it a thought.
It was about time, that somebody brought this to my attention :D
Thank you :iconjane-beata:!
sun-lily Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you for this article. 
mritunjay-singh Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I gone through many PE articles today and I felt a bit relaxed and motivated in a way after reading artistic frustation, watercolours advantages and many more.. From above i recognised first point is mostly missing "signature" and last point too.. I am really not much good with words and feel lazy to write :)
In near future , i am going to be a good friend of watercolor as along with a coorporate job .. taking oil and realism pencil portraits are going to be out of touch sooner or later. Never got any art education nor read much of proper techniques , i just used to pick a paper and start doing watercolor .. many times it frustated me alot... but after reading many places and wet-in-wet techniques .. and MOST basic of all.. "preparing paper by soaking in water" is a very good part... i did few days ago by first time soaking water to paper .. and was relieved with lot of frustations and learned hell out of it.. I was always so wrong ... "as of family support for this- something similar i have gone through... as u mentioned in a comment somewhere... will tell you my story too :).. if u want" cheers!!
And afterall "PLEASE CRITICIZE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN on my artworks"
TheAveryChu Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Student General Artist
Interesting I may go back and give a more in-depth description on some of my artwork.
AnnaGladue Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Professional Writer
Hmmm. This made aware of some things I haven't done with my own paintings. Granted, they are in my scraps, but I should have thought of signing them and such. I mean, they are signed and named on the back of the canvas, but that doesn't help the viewer.
Astrikos Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013   General Artist
Your wonderful tutorials have been featured here
Consider giving the article a :+fav: :heart:
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