A Conversation On Abstract Art

Does art always need to be representative of something? Does every mark, have to have a meaning or a reason for being there?

lotus mural
sorry for the crappy phone photo

This week I started working on a new mural for the hospital.  The finished wall will look a lot like a recent abstract painting that I did on canvas.  It’s been an interesting experience so far.

With the growing popularity of art journaling, I had assumed that people have a basic understanding of abstract art, and that most people can appreciate expressive mark-making. However, as I have worked on painting this mural, I have discovered that I was wrong.  Abstract art is still a fairly new concept for people outside of the art world.

The first day of working, I got all the basic background up & a base color for the lotus flower. I started running drips down the wall fairly early in the day because I was excited to see how that was going to workout on this large of a scale.  Personally, I think they turned out perfect – I love them. It didn’t take long, however, for the questioning & comments to begin.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked if the drips are on purpose, or what they were going to be.  I find it interesting that so many people need the drips to be something or to have some sort of meaning.  Just having the drips there as part of the background isn’t enough.

I realize that this is a work in progress, and the drips are the darkest part of the wall causing everyone’s eyes to be immediately drawn to them. They will blend more into the background in a few days, but for now I’m kind of having fun watching people squirm.

What has been your experience with abstract art and the public?

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