Ask Mr. Manners

Becoming a patron of the arts

Art is an acquired interest.

However, if you’re asking this question in the first place, then the chances are that you already enjoy art in some way. I’m going to take a guess and say that you are looking for reasons to identify with the greater art community and share your interest.

I still remember when I was first invited to an art gallery and my instinctive reaction was a feeling of apprehension. It was a strange feeling as I have always loved art, so why the anxiety? It dawned on me that I was not worried about experiencing the art, but rather, how to react and not look like a complete moron to my friends.

This month, I want to focus on demystifying the process of art through a few simple considerations. Start by making it a habit to observe and appreciate art. In order to understand your specific interests and inclination in art, develop a habit of observing any art object that you come across. We often overlook art objects sitting right in front of us. How many of us honestly take the time in our office spaces to look at the paintings on the walls? As we spend time observing and appreciating the art we are exposed to in our everyday life, then we begin to understand more clearly our likes and dislikes in art.

Once you have spent some time in examining your preferences in art, you move toward understanding the forms of visual art that connect with you most. For some it is the lifelike representations in sculpture, and for others it is the ability of a painter to depict a memory in vivid color. To many of us, all art forms are a treat for the senses and a tribute to the efforts of the artist. As you organize your reactions to different forms of art, you will recognize small differences and variations of colors and shapes that make a piece of art appealing or not so much.

The most significant tip in the art appreciation process is to keep your mind open and receptive to new art experiences. One of the disadvantages of spending time developing a definite pattern of likes and dislikes is that you tend to get trapped in a pattern of defaulting to your preferences. One of the most difficult this to do is to continue the journey, remaining open to new and totally different creations and art forms.

The whole purpose of art appreciation is to open your subconscious to be receptive to new experiences of art. You will be amazed as time passes that your tastes will change styles and themes. Always remember that the objective of art appreciation is to recognize and understand your love of artistry. In time you will react to art and not fear being seen as ignorant. Like most good things in life, these things just take time.

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