I have wanted to write a post on art interpretation for some time, I am just now getting around to doing so.
Klecksography is a Swiss game where you take a piece of paper, put ink on it, fold the paper in half and open it. Basically it is pretty pictures of inkblots. Hermann Rorschach invented the Rorschach test also called the Rorschach technique or simply called the inkblot test. He had a systematic approach to asses an individuals personality based upon what they see in the inkblot. Inotherwords, whatever YOU project into the picture, however YOU interpret the picture is how he would determine your level of sanity and or functioning in society. In the USA today we look at the inkblot test as being mostly pseudoscience. I think a lesson can definitely be learned from the folly of the inkblot test… you are simply projecting what you feel on what you see. Some artist paint, draw, sculpt, create, to be interpreted, others do not. For those that do not, it simply is what it is.
One of the biggest disagreements I have with art schools is that they apply a similar strategy to art as Rorschach, John E. Exner, Samuel Beck, Bruno Klopfer, and others did to the inkblot. Writers are subject to a similar “interpretation” as well. Alister Crowley and Hemingway are great examples of that. Crowley wrote to be interpreted and Hemingway did not. I think if he knew his work was being torn to pieces, chewed up and spit out by college professors, he would be rolling over in his grave.
Critics want to think they can look at a piece of your work and tell you all about you. I have always found this one of the most laughable and arrogant things a person can do.
Quick boring Story time:
Several years ago my husband was working on a piece of art. A friend of ours had stopped by to introduce us to his new girlfriend who happened to be studying art. We had a very small apartment at that time and all art tables were out in the open. She immediately noticed his piece and started telling him what the colors “meant.” The laughable part was that the colors were completely accidental. The spray he had used to set the piece had a reaction with the ink and caused the ink to change color. It was neat looking so no bother to him, but the fact that someone would interpret it as anything more was ridiculous.
I respect the artists that want to be interpreted… One of my favorite artist, Michael Whelan, has a lot of things in his work specifically to be interpreted. I also respect the artist that paint, draw, sculpt, create just because they love it and don’t need it to be validated, figured out or interpreted by anyone. That is where I am at. That is where I have always been. If I do something that I want you to interpret, I don’t make you guess, I spell it out for you. There are no clues as to who I am hiding in any of my art. That is purely a projection from yourself onto me, understand that about me. I live in the blogging world in harmony because I chose to live here in harmony. I don’t judge people and I expect not to be judged. If you feel you have the right to judge me, then that is on you, not me. I am not going to give a hoot either which way.
Yes, I do think we project what we feel onto the art or artist when we see a picture, but I don’t necessarily think I can tell you who you are by what you see in a piece of art. If you interpret a piece of my art, and you truly believe you are right about the me and the piece, then all I can say is, “It looks like two men eating a dead body because of the hunger in the colors.”