You know…? I’m all about the art! I always have been. You name it, movies, television, music, theater, but mostly visual arts from crafting and sewing to basically anything that allows you to make something out of nothing (except for baking that is, I’m still working on how to do that successfully.)
I’ve always been a creative person! I don’t know that it was ever a conscious decision to pursue art but more so that I was always taking small steps that would lead me down that road. In fact, it wasn’t until my final years of high school that I even found graphic design and digital design. I did, however, know I needed a job that would allow me to be creative, think outside the box and provide a lot of variety. I remember in fourth grade for career day all the girls were dressed up as teachers and nurses while all the boys wanted to be famous athletes and scientist. Me on the other hand, I showed up with a mood board (complete with fabric and paint swatches) and rendered drawings of a dream house because I wanted to have my own HGTV show one day. (Sharing my ideas on a blog and social media is the next best thing to having my own tv show these days!)
So, I’ve always felt a connection with art, creativity, and other artists BUT I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you think art museums and exhibits sound boring, well keep reading because I’m writing this blog for you whether you think you’ll like it or not! This week I’m here to offer up ways you can bring art into your own life in a fun and approachable way that works for you! Just stay with me…
Trust me, I get it! There was a time growing up that I thought visiting an art museum sounded like torture (I was probably five, but that’s not the point.) In our culture, art museums sometimes get a “tricky” reputation. They’re often thought of as being too prestigious, upper class, for people that have a higher education level and a big wallet… this is no longer the case and, in some places, it’s actually the exact opposite. Art and society generally follow suit with one another. With the way our world is changing right now and growing to have a more open understand of other people, cultures, and lifestyles the art community is too.
I didn’t fully begin to appreciate art history and museums until I got to college. Until then, I just like to make things and create my own art and not put much thought into it. As part of my degree requirements I had to take a number of art history classes. I knew going into these classes that it’d be hard. I knew art history meant learning hundreds of different dates and movements, learning words from other languages, and having to spell things like baroque and cubism and also be able to tell you what those words mean. Don’t get me wrong-it was hard, and it could also be incredibly confusing at times. Surprisingly though, my art history classes became some of my favorites (even despite they’re early start times and that they met on Fridays.) Art history changed my life and outlook on art completely. It opened my mind up and changed my college experience for the better.
Art history classes taught me about other cultures, religions, and history that I hadn’t otherwise really been exposed to. It encouraged me to travel the world and look to the past to understand other people and traditions. It gave me a further appreciation and understanding for things that came and existed before me as well as for the things that will outlive me. Now every time I step foot in an art museum, I’m reminded of all of these things.
I have been incredibly blessed to be able to travel around the world and our country. In some cases, I was even fortunate enough to get to see the paintings, sculptures, or buildings that I’ve studied in real life. There’s nothing that can describe the feeling I get when I turn around a corner in a museum and find myself standing face to face with the statue of David or gazing into Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I literally lose my breath and just try to take it all in. Now, I don’t expect everyone to have the same reaction or get as much out of it as I do, but you may just surprise yourself.
Another stereotype closely related to the art world is you have to be rich to see it, to travel to it, or to have it in your home… all of this-not true. Whether in a large metropolitan area or a smaller suburban or rural town, art is all around you and I guarantee you can find it if you’re willing to look. If you don’t believe me, the first place I’d start looking in your area is a local college campus. They’ve got to have something going on whether it’s a student show or a private collection of work in a gallery it could be worth your while to look into it. If you find yourself somewhere like New York, don’t let the prices scare you! A lot of the museums offer different discounts and pricing options, some even take donations rather than set a strict ticket price.
Once you find one and once you get in, then what? What do you look at? How long are you supposed to look at things? What all are you supposed to read? What if I don’t get it?
These are ALL valid questions and my answer to all of them is to stop worrying and do what feels right. Other than being quiet and not running sprints down the hallway, there’s not much “right” or “wrong” to an art museum.
If you aren’t drawn to something right away (or if you think it’s absolutely horrible and don’t understand it as I first felt with abstract art and work by Matisse) I challenge you to just take a brief moment to ask yourself, why don’t I like this piece? Your answer could surprise you and even lead your mind down a rabbit hole to discover something new… but if it doesn’t ring any bells or take you on a journey then on to the next one I say.
I guarantee when you visit a museum, you’re going to see a lot of art that you’d never want to hang on your wall or put in your house (but that’s why it’s hanging a museum and not over your mantel) The point is you came to this place, you saw the things, you thought about it, and it gave you a reaction (that reaction could be “wow this is amazing” or “this is horrible.”) An artist’s most basic goal though, is to get a reaction… might not be the one they had in mind but none the less, they just want to shake up something in you. Try your best to keep an open mind and give it a chance.
Believe it or not museums aren’t just paintings hung on walls these days. There’s actually a lot of artist that are trying to change the traditional “museum” experience and setting AND there’s a lot more work and thought that goes into it than you’d think. I myself got to explore and experience this logic myself when I created and curated my first show, Married to my Work. It was my goal to break these art and museum stereotypes and create a space that was welcoming, memorable, and encouraged you to get involved and play a part in the art. (To read more about my own art show click here: Married to My Work.)
This idea of creating a welcome space is popping up everywhere and LA has some of the greatest examples. If a traditional museum still isn’t speaking to you then find yourself a pop-up exhibit. One of my favorite shows I’ve ever been to was a collection of work for a lot of different artists that transformed a warehouse into an immersive experience in the middle of LA called the 14th Factory organized by artist, Simon Birch. (You may remember or feel like you’ve heard about it because one of the installations was knocked over by a girl taking a selfie resulting in thousands of dollars in damage… let’s take a moment to feel for her though, because I was almost that girl. No, I wasn’t taking a selfie, but my bag did bump one of the pedestals in that same exhibit and almost knocked them over like dominos, but I was able to catch it and steady it in time…still gives me anxiety thinking about it though.)
Another, more pop-culture based exhibit is The Museum of Selfies (where a lot of my pictures have been from lately.) This museum did aim to teach you a thing or two and not just how to take a good selfie, but it’s main purpose was to allow you to interact with different scenes and from there create your own art with your selfie.
Most recently my team at Florapy also attended a pop-up art show in LA called Bloom Art Show. It was an outdoor, weekend event that was all about flowers and experiencing the beauty of nature.
See… there are so many different ways to experience art! Change, breaking out of your comfort zone, try new things, do something different… all key parts to an art museum as well as my goals of this blog. I’m learning from my experiences and pushing my limits with the hope that my readers will too. I challenge all of you who have made it through this lengthy post to keep pushing your boundaries (whatever that may mean to you!) If you go to any cool museums or exhibits OR if there’s any you’d like me to check out, let me know! You know me, always looking for suggestions. If you’d like to see more of my own art and designs, visit designforthestory.com, @designforthestory on Instagram, OR just simply click the Art Work tab above!