Thursday, September 8, 2011

Art Is Made To Evoke Emotion

Ever since I began seriously pursuing a career in the art/entertainment industry, I've taken a different approach to consuming the art around me.  I no longer just enjoy it and smile; instead, I analyze it and study it.  The question that usually comes up first is: what makes this piece of art good?  It's not an easy question to answer, and it may differ from person to person, but I'm going to try and place an answer that I've arrived at in the paragraphs below.

We've all done it before: watched an actor's performance or viewed a piece of art and said "that's really good!"  But when our friends ask us to explain why it's good, we're at a loss for words.  "It's... umm... it's just... cool.  I like it."  My goal recently has been to narrow down the elements that make art "good", and make sure that those elements are incorporated in every project that I embark on, in hopes that the end result will be "good".

There are many elements that make a piece of art "good", but I've noticed that one element keeps showing up in every single piece: the ability to evoke emotion.  All good art evokes some sort of emotion in its viewer: happiness, awe, longing, nostalgia, excitement, fear, etc.  It makes sense that when someone sees something they don't like, a painting for example, they say: "this does nothing for me."  I believe what they are actually saying is that the painting didn't evoke any sort of emotion in them.  Does that make it a bad painting?  Not necessarily because the next person that comes up may feel something from the painting that the previous person didn't.  So the key is to create something that will evoke emotion in as many people as possible.  It's impossible to satisfy or evoke emotion in everyone, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be your goal.

Now take a look at what I consider to be "good" art.  Watch this short film from beginning to end:

The film was simple and short, but it had heart.  It had the right pieces to evoke some sort of emotion in its viewer, from the amazing cinematography to the universal theme of loneliness to Feist's hauntingly beautiful vocals.  If you removed any one of those pieces, the film may not have had the same effect.

This is just my theory of what makes art "good".  The next time you go out to consume art, try to see if you can pinpoint what makes art "good" to you.  Take a step back and see if those elements that make someone else's art "good" can also be found in your own art.

Share your thoughts and findings in the comments below!

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