The Audience Does Not Exist

Connecting with one’s audience is an issue for every creative. I’m not claiming I just solved this issue for everyone and in all cases ever. But I think I just found something that works for me.

In the last blog entry I deducted that the audience does not exist. Does this mean, my audience is the void? There is nobody? Not in the slightest! I was just caught up imagining „the audience“ I have in mind when doing my work as an abstract, shapeless entity, an unnamed number of people who somehow have the same tastes and needs. That doesn’t make much sense. You can have two people in a room and they couldn’t agree on anything. Maybe I’m still influenced by the book „The world beyond your head“ by Matthew B. Crawford who makes a similar point with „the public“. That one doesn’t exist either, only imaginings of it and wild tries to conform.

Now what do we do with this bit of knowledge? Oh, it opens a lot of doors! So if your abstract dream audience isn’t there yet and likely will not materialize with a vacuum plop sound you have your head free for more important matters. You have people in your life already, real, actual people. Some of them might even take an interest in your work already. If you cater to them, you can only win. You make them happy and get feedback that you have accomplished something and you have an infinitely higher chance that other people might find these works interesting, too, as they come from a place with and aimed at actual people. If you start at literally zero with not a single soul paying attention to your creations you can always find an offline or online community or several of which you can be part of. And every community has characteristics and tastes and needs, problems a creative can solve. Or you can start out by catering to yourself. Be human. No matter what happens, you have to live with your creations closer and longer than anyone else so you better love what you are doing.

I’m going back to an early square of the playing field, but not completely zero. And I’m more excited than ever to create and to get to know the real people around me better. I guess if you get popular (and I never was popular in my life) you are just known by more people than you can actively interact with even if you wanted to. That is it. No abstract audience entity. No numbers crunching. So all is well, nothing is wrong with you for not having „an audience“ yet.

Literature Notes #007

The time has come. I am ripe to write the first edition of my personal artist statement.

An artist statement provides a general overview of an artist’s work, the personality behind it as well as keys to understanding the art and what to look out for in it. As one changes over a lifetime, the artist statement is destined to change, too, so it’s a living document.

But I must spend a note or two preparing the arrival of mine.

For this note-

My notes as a reader on:

My artist influence Wassily Kandinsky

A great example for a strong artist statement is Wassily Kandinsky, who wasn’t content with just giving you a list. He wrote the great essay „Concerning the Spiritual in Art“, laying down how he kept trying to translate music and the progression of time onto canvas. Art cannot do that…or can it? Knowing this, you are looking at his works with different eyes and maybe even with a different intent. The artworks aren’t just visually pleasing anymore, you will look at them and wonder what sounds he tried to catch and how much of a song or symphony you are seeing there, translated, compressed, spoken out on a 2D plane. And you must not forget, you see it interpreted through him and how he is. Can you read the music and hear it in your head? Would you dare to try?

Also, do you see that Kandinsky’s statement is both grandiose but still simple to understand? Drawing music hard! So I guess if the statement is too complex, it is fake again, and you lose yourself. Also note that Kandinsky didn’t pour all of himself into it. The mission he gave his art surely took up a good chunk of his life and later years, yet we don’t hear about who Kandinksy is and how he is. The art and what it does is the focus of the statement, not him as a person. We can deduct some from what he is doing, yet he does not insist that he is his art and that there are no private spaces left for the private person Kandinsky as well as spaces that are only the work, not the artist.