What comes first – Art or Artist?
September 2, 2007
What do you like most when you click on an artist website? Do you like to see the portrait of the artist first place on the homepage? No matter what the layout or design of the website might be – what impact does it have on you, the viewer?
You might say, okay wonderful, I know how s/he looks like – young or old, nice interesting looking face or rather boring features of a person you would never believe being an artist.
You realize – the psychological impact is there. Anyone judges another person unconsciously without any further intent from the first impression=view. You cannot do anything about it. In those few seconds you decide whether you like a person or not. You can always change your mind afterwards but that very first impression will always leave an imprint on your gut feeling, instinct.
So how sensitive is it to have a photo of yourself right on the very first page before the viewer had a chance to look up what you are doing?
If you are a good looking girl/boy it might help to convince the viewer immediately that what you are offering is quality, good work, interesting and worth while to show it to the public. You offer a positive image that spreads from yourself on everything you surround yourself with. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
On the other hand – what could it also say?
It could say – hey I am such a goodlooking one, no-one could refuse me – therefore no-one will ever refuse my work. I am the person who is behind the work – or rather I am the person who can do all this, I am the one who should be right in the middle of the show! The most important thing in the world is that people realize and appreciate that it is me who has done the work. I want the recognition for it. This is legitimate – isn’t it? Be honest – isn’t it easier to be “convinced” by a smart looking girl or boy when it comes to “buy” anything rather than from a person who does not emanate that aura of youth, freshness, enthusiasm, total self-consciousness and success?
Now to the other side of the coin.
If you put up a photo on your website, that just portraits you as you are, not the youngest any more, not with trendy coiffure and a face that would never be found in a crowd – what would this say to the viewer? Boring person, common, nothing extraordinary – how can this be an artist creating breathtaking works? Would you draw the connection between this person and outstanding work without any prejudice? You would probably not. Clichés are firmly planted in our heads.
So if this does not help you to be recognized, your work should speak for you. Wouldn’t it be better to place it in front, let it make the very first impression and keep your person in the background?
No matter whether you believe in some devine powers or are even deeply religious, I think creativity is a gift and not an accomplishment. You cannot teach it and you cannot learn it – it is there or not. Therefore the person itself is not the important part but what s/he is doing with the gift and the result, whether she looks good or not. Ego and vanity often play a tricky role in life and sometimes it may be an advantage not to belong to the “bold and beautiful” – so you could concentrate on your work and not on your appearance. It makes me sometimes laugh out loud when I see a sculptor or painter with long red fingernails in TV (how on earth do they manage to work with those fingernails? And male “artists” are no better by any means when it comes to appear in public and behaving like a cockerel!)
I do neither judge anyone for putting himself in front of an audience – this is sometimes necessary – nor do I judge someone for the wish to look nice and well-manicured. The above are only my thoughts about various things. But I think there is a lack of awareness in this world towards the fact that everything we do has consequences in one way or another.