February 9, 2012 | Alyson Stanfield

Interested or Interesting

©2005 Rona Green, Party Fink. Linocut and watercolor, 33 x 33 centimeters, edition of 33.

In Letters to a Young Artist: Building a Life in Art, Julia Cameron writes:

Remember that art is about being interested, not about being interesting.

How so?
Why not?

13 comments add a comment
  • Absolutely… art is about being interested in the world: form, colours, textures, how it’s put together, how it impacts us and joins or separates…. Interested in the meaning, the purpose, the what, the how… the beauty…
    Artists are observers… creating an alchemical reaction when observation informs the internal reflection and assimilation into new works, new perspectives, new emotive broadcasts…
    The most interested become the most interesting.

  • Certainly. If art is about engagement not decoration, then you are not going to engage anyone when you are bored yourself.

  • I agree with Lezley- we become interesting by being interested, enthusiastic and engaged with life.
    The worst of the worst is to be bored and boring. It is the pit of despair.

  • It sounds a bit like Betty Crocker’s Hints For The Homemaker from 1961:
    “Have a hobby. Garden, paint pictures, look through magazines for home planning ideas, read a good book, or attend club meetings. Be interested—and you’ll always be interesting.”

  • Maureen

    In order for a person to be interested in your art ~ it has to be interesting.

  • I believe that Passion is what really impacts on your art. It is about projecting feeling and life in to your art. This is what truly brings art alive and will make people stop and think about it…..

  • I know what she means…but to sell art I think both must be true. You first need to be interested in a subject enough to paint it, however that’s not enough. If your work isn’t “designed” and edited in a way to emphasize and communicate whatever aspect of your subject that initially caught your eye, then it will not interest someone else enough to buy it. Be interested in life, then actively and consciously create an interesting design.

    • Well put, John! If you plan to earn a living at art, it had better be interesting to the potential buyer. And, you’d better be interested in the subject matter. As I tell my drawing students to the point of them quoting it with me, “Pick something you love because you’ll be staring at it for a lonnnnnng time.”

  • Jill Rosoff

    I like using the work curious. Covers both the giver (artist) and the receiver (art lover).

  • Both. Art is about communicating what the artist has seen and felt – if they’re not interested then the art won’t be interesting. But if the artist isn’t striving to make interesting work the chances are they won’t be interested in it either.

  • Thanks for featuring my work Alyson!
    I think Julia has a good point.

  • Be interested in your process, your practice, your exploration of life through art.
    Do not try to please an audience. Listen to your muse not to your critics.

  • Valerie Samuel Henderson

    I like the way this poses a provocative question. This is the part that grabs our interest. It made me feel engaged. It made me think about how I would answer the question. I had to step back and say,”How do I want to look at this?” and “What is my point of view”.

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