Fred Mandell Author.Artist.Speaker.Creative Catalyst

Recent Bloutchers

Recent Bloutchers

What Is Art, Really?

In this Bloutcher

Where Art, Life and Leadership Collide

  • What Is Art, Really?
  • A Joyful Book about Brands
  • From the Sketchbook:  Karen at the Computer

What Is Art, Really?

I just returned from the Positive Aging Conference in Sarasota where my series of 5 paintings entitled Memory Calls was exhibited.  The 5 paintings are an effort to visually tell the story of the people and events in the first five years of my life.  It is a mixed media series, incorporating oil painting, photo transfer, collage, as well as other media.

I also gave a talk. 

After the talk a woman came up to me and asked:  “What is art, really?”

The question threw me.  It was a direct question asked by such a genuinely perplexed and serious person.  Yet, it threw me partly, I think, because it can be responded to in so many ways.

So I decided to respond not through the abstract filter of art theory but simply through the filter of what I was trying to do with Memory Calls.

For me Memory Calls is about art as ENCOUNTER.  First, it is an encounter between the artist and his experience—in this case, the experience is made up of specific memories.  The task of this encounter as I see it is not about remembering but about giving meaning to my memories.

But the other aspect of ENCOUNTER is that between the work of art and the viewer.  One can make the case that there is no art without a viewer.  But for me the critical thing is what actually happens when a viewer encounters a work of art.  I hope this encounter provokes, disturbs, deepens appreciation.  I hope this encounter causes reflection and conversation.  And eventually I hope through provocation, reflection and conversation that art leads the viewer to examine his/her own experience and gain insight and self understanding.

In this way, art is about learning to see things differently through the ENCOUNTER, about shifting paradigms and enriching and deepening our own experiences and making connections with ourselves and others that might not otherwise have occurred.  At its deepest level art is about change.

 What do you think?  What is art to you?  Is art to be appreciated simply for what it is or for its impact?  Does art stop at the studio door or does it reach beyond the threshold into the wider world? 

A Joyful Book About Brands

I recently read a most joyful book entitled What Great Brands Know by Tracy Carlson.  If you would like a totally originally, provocative and invaluable take on what makes great brands and how to create one, then I highly recommend this book.  Carlson is a self described “unrepentant Yale humanities geek” who has worked with some of the most notable and artful brands including Dove, Hellman’s, Wisk, General Mills, Rubbermaid and Pepsi.  She deftly shows how bringing “right brain” thinking and an Art framework into the development of a brand can have a powerful impact on the way a business goes about its business as well as on the way the public perceives the business.  Check it out here.

From the Sketchbook:  Karen at the Computer


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