There are images that I've drawn on the board in my classroom more times than I care to count. To the left is one of them. And though I've taught the lesson associated with this image more times than I can count, I always like teaching it.
I like it because It reminds me of something essential. An artist's ability to communicate with the viewers of his work is not to be taken lightly. We each have the opportunity to speak our own individual truths. When we really understand our respective artforms that way our art has undeniable power.
That said...it's still only half the battle. We are only part of the equation. What? What? What? Artists aren't the end-all-be-all where their art is concerned?! No. Contrary to much of what we may think, we do not control our work's entire existence. We only speak. Someone still has to come along and listen. What we imply, must still lead to an inference from someone else. And the fun part is that we have no control over what they will think. Well, sure we can do the work in the best possible way to convince them to see what we want them to, but ultimately...it is out of our hands.
Though scary at first, this notion that the understanding of our work is out of our hands is liberating in a way. It means that our work can live outside of us. It means that what we put into the world can stand alone. It has to.
So what about the work that isn't seen? What about the talented craftsman who makes work only for the joy of creation and has no desire to show the work off. Well...that would be like speaking what matters most to you to an empty room.
So I guess what I'm saying is, it's not art until somebody sees it.