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  • Hannah Kaplan

What's the big secret that the art world doesn't want you to know?⠀


Here it is:⠀

You don't have to know a single thing in order to understand, appreciate, and even collect art.⠀

Yup, I said it.⠀

Overpriced auction houses and snobby art dealers want you to think that you have to be educated in art in order to have an opinion. That way, you believe that you need to pay an expert to tell you what to like (and what to invest your money in) because it's what the art world has decided qualifies as culturally significant art.⠀

Here are 3 simple questions to ask yourself when you want to delve deeper into a artwork's meaning.⠀

1. What does it remind you of?⠀

In representative art, you’ll see a painting of an apple and it will probably make you think of… an apple. And there are so many places that your mind can take things from there. With abstract art, you can still approach it using a similar method. Look for visual cues. Maybe a certain colour reminds you of a shirt you used to own, or the marks remind you of leaves blown around in the wind. Whatever comes to mind is relevant.⠀

2. What emotions does it bring up?⠀

Sometimes when you first see a piece of art, you'll have an immediate emotional response to it. Even if you can't identify the specific emotion, feeling anything at all is a good start.⠀

If you're not experiencing an emotional response, don't force it! Maybe that piece of art isn't for you. Maybe you need to see it 2 or 7 or 30 more times before it resonates with you. Just because other people like or appreciate a piece of art does not mean that you have to force yourself to feel something when it's just not there.⠀

3. How does the title influence my understanding?⠀

Artist's provide the viewer with additional information in the title. Some prefer to use generic titles like "untitled" or "study in blue" while others use descriptive words or phrases. There's no right or wrong way to title a painting, and you can use that information to aid in your interpretation.⠀

The trick to understanding art is about understanding it as it relates to you. That's really all there is to it!⠀

Do you think these tips will help you next time you're looking at abstract art?


xo, Hannah

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Toronto, ON, Canada

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