Art and Communication

Some people think that art has to do with communication. I am one of them.

I think that art should communicate. If it is does not, someone has forgotten something.

Art can be very effective at drawing attention to things. One can also do a poor job of this. Some commercial art is very nice to look at (and might win industry awards), but if you do not remember the company or product, then the art has failed. Another piece of commercial art, you might not like nearly as much, but if you remember the company or product, then that art worked.

Here are two examples of art gone wrong:

I was a volunteer peer tutor for the Writing Centre at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. (It is my alma mater.) One time, the co-ordinator showed me some art she had gotten done by a student in the Fine Arts program. Neither one of us cared for it. It had nice colouring and such, but it missed the point. It was supposed to be a sign to go on a sandwich board in the hall to promote the Writing Centre. For that, it did not do. It was not clear for all its prettiness.

In another case, I was riding on a bus in Vancouver and saw a beautiful sign. The outside of it had a ring that was of flowers with a long interwoven stem, and there was a smaller, solid pattern in the middle. A Celtic interlace pattern or something similar. Very, very nice to look at. Then, it occurred to me. That is probably a sign for a business. The pattern in the middle looked as if it might be lettering. I tried to read it, but I had been so entranced by the art that I did not have time to read it before the bus went past. I never saw the sign again. If it was a sign for a store, it certainly did not promote the store to me.

So what art have you seen lately that has communicated to you?