‘What does it mean’ is an illustration I drew many years ago. It is shows a guy in a gallery looking at a painting or photo that depicts the horror of war. His response “What does it mean?”.
Every artist knows what they wanted the piece to communicate. At the least what they hoped it would. Yet even when you produce something that is blatantly obvious, there will always be one person who does not get it.
As an artist you can get too close to your work. Sure, you know what went into making this piece. All the ideas and time you spent to produce it. You know everything was chosen deliberately for the purpose of that meaning or message.
The audience is nowhere close to that level of connection. That people can get what you were attempting reveals the similarities common to all of us. Yet time and time again as an artist and maker there is always that one person who will not get it.
When you are asked “What does it mean?” it can be that the person wants to know if they got it right. If the message is not very explicit and the style used unfamiliar that should be expected. As someone who paints abstracts, I rarely expect anyone to find meaning. There is no correct answer.
When I show my art to my best critics, my sisters kids, they tell me what they see in the painting. It is the best. They see things I have never seen in the piece. I like this a lot. Though I could be very alone on that. Artists can be very fragile.
“What does it mean?” was created in a moment of frustration. I had been asked many times this question. I did not understand the reasons for it. I did not realise I was too close. That people were being, tactful and nice. Audiences will make their own minds up about a piece. Some will get it. Others will run off with a total different understanding.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.