Wednesday, January 02, 2013

questions from left field

The strangest things will come in dreams.

I had a dream that I was looking at a painting - it was a very large, old oil landscape, something like a Frederic Church spectacle - quickly, the painting morphed into an intricately worked leather belt and, when I looked again,  a bracelet of layered silver links and then, a very large watercolor seething with flowers.

Then I realized that I was looking at these things from the perspective of a person who had no concept of "making" anything - a pure consumer of end products made by others, the mysterious Makers.

It was the oddest feeling; an off-putting incompetence with a dash of defensive arrogance. I thought of a TV show where a crystal skull was being examined and it's provenance could not be explained so it was attributed to aliens. It was a little scary. Who are the Makers? What was their objective in creating these things?

My Maker guise quickly stepped up and took back control of the dream and I was left with questions.

Who are the non-makers and what do they think of Art? What does Art matter to them. Are they another tribe altogether? When does resentment fade and wonder take over?  Do they ever get over being on the outside looking in? I have to ask around outside of this space since I know 99% of my readers are Makers of some sort.


  1. What a dream to have and the questions you're posing to mark the start of a new year. Mark this post to reflect back on 365 days from now.

  2. My BSP is a non-maker and it's interesting to get the non-maker point of view - we were talking about it yesterday in the context of sales - I've received a commission and it's clear from the requests I'm getting from the client that they have only a dim concept of what it takes.

    BSP explained that for a non-maker, it's all about what's "pretty". They can sometimes appreciate that something takes a long time to make, but don't like it anymore if it is difficult or complex; if it produces an emotional response along the lines of "pretty!", "cool!", or something more nebulous like "it makes me feel nice to look at that" - then they might become buyers. But *most* have no clue - buying is just an emotional response, or an aquisition of that emotional response and nothing to do with the art at all, really.

    It was a very intersesting conversation!

  3. oh! curved ball here.

  4. I have an acquaitance who prides herself on being "the ultimate consumer". She understands more than many what goes into making, but has absolutely no desire to create. She enjoys buying, with discretion, and the subsequent arranging and use of what she buys. She knows herself well, and is quite happy with her journey through life.
    It took me some time to understand her outlook, but now I wish I knew more self-aware consumers--because they are the discriminating collectors of what creative people make.
    Good discussion to start off the year!

  5. My husband is a non-maker. He doesn't even make his own food, unless there is no choice and then he wants it all prepared so it can go in the microwave.

    And yet, he gets a thrill out of beautifully prepared food and he is a lover of good art. He has a great eye and I often get good comments from him. He doesn't know how to improve something, but he can see what is wrong. I think it is helpful to get critiques from non-makers because they don't get into technique stuff.

    What a wild dream.

  6. I want to thank everyone who commented here and in emails. I have a small notebook to carry around and will be conducting interviews on the matter with friends, family and total strangers over the course of the month and will revisit with my findings.


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