Nowadays there are even more kinds of art which were scarce a century ago. The most popular one is performance art. It involves movement combined with a finished piece on display. A common example would be violinists serenading the crowd with a painting as a backdrop. Other kinds are riskier because they need audience participation, such as having the guests scribble on a painted canvas. Then there is one type where mirrors are installed in order to reflect the intended object.

Artists are so called because they make us feel. Intentional or not, their art, whether it is a painting, film, music, or book, evokes certain emotions within us. It makes one wonder if they intend the audience to feel a particular way, or if it is up to us how to interpret their work. Abstract paintings, for instance, have a way of making us stare for long periods of time, scrutinizing carefully — what are we supposed to see? Is the painter trying to tell me something? Actually, there is a term called visual indeterminacy. It is “the perceptual experience occurring in response to an image that suggests the presence of objects but denies easy or immediate recognition.” So, when we go to an exhibit to examine a piece of art, what the artist really wants is our undivided attention. The more an image confuses us, the longer we try to analyze and solve the mystery. And since we are standing and staring for an extended period, it prompts the other guests to wonder what is so interesting about our present visual selection. Hence, a crowd forms, giving additional attention to the said piece. At the same time, it also arouses their need to satisfy their craving for the real meaning of the mysterious art piece. The artist, then, succeeds in affecting her audience, whether by confusing or delighting them. The intended outcome has been achieved.

There are many types of artists who use the element of surprise to their advantage. Perhaps it is the successful author who astounds his readers with his unanticipated ending. Or the director of photography in a film that shows unconventional angles. Or maybe the abstract painter who has his followers in a constant guessing dilemma as to the real meaning behind his masterful strokes. Or that musician who allows the silence before the sudden combination of instruments to dictate the predictable applause that follows the conclusion of his masterpiece. Whatever their strategy to gain attention and approval, artists always find a way to involve their audience.

There is an artist inside all of us. Some have found it and have experimented with how best to express their creative side. But there are others who still have to discover what medium they can use to develop their imagination. It is interesting to note, though, that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So, no matter what we create, people will always have their own different opinions about it. Hopefully, we will not let our fear of criticism be a hindrance to our path to artistic success.

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