How Art Can Be Viewed And Appreciated



  • What I See vs. What I Know
  • How Art Can Be Viewed And Appreciated
  • Theory Test and Test Results
  • What The Theory Test Proves
  • Conclusion
  • Summary


Once upon a time, I was looking through some old photos and was laughing at some of the outdated looks, dress codes and interior decor of the day.

After a while, I started thinking about how some of the visual arts have changed over time too.

Even though there’s lots of different artistic disciplines that can be called visual arts, what thoughts come to mind when you think of the words traditional, mixed media, and digital art?

In respects of these particular disciplines, I started asking myself questions about what I see now and whether I like any of these changes:

  • What is the current trend?
  • Do I like what I see?
  • Do I like this direction of change?
  • Is my artwork contributing to the change I like or don’t like?
  • What artwork or trend would I like to see?
  • Can I create the change I want to see?
  • Is there a standard when it comes to art?
  • To be a good standard, how do I demonstrate a good standard?
  • What type of standard does my own artwork show?


Art doesn’t have boundaries or limitations. Whatever can be used to express a person’s thoughts or feelings will always be identified as art in one form or another.

I singled out and mentioned three particular disciplines within the visual arts arena earlier to demonstrate how the arts are always changing and evolving over time, and therein is where I find little or no thought into standards as time goes by too.

The incorporation of, or the lack of standards, starts from the beginning of the flow of creative juices. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but as we have moved through the generations, it’s been demonstrated it’s easier to create something badly than to make the best version of anything, so eventually bad or poor examples of artistic creations become abundant, and thus become the norm. In many instances, it’s not even art, it’s just rubbish being paraded as a new name.

Even beyond the realms of art, this pattern is evident in every business, service and product across different industries why multiple versions of the same things exist. This is what I refer to in my About page, and it’s upon these findings that started my quest to change things for the better when it comes to the visual arts.

What I see versus what I know shows me changes are generally not producing better results, only sub-standard and copycat results.

“Hold on! Art is meant to be in the eye of the beholder, right!” I’m hearing some of you say. Yes, that is true to a point. However, there are always two sides to an argument and some agree with the thoughts of Mr Robert Florczak, a respected artist in the eyes of many for over 30 years, and this is what he had to say:

Whatever your thoughts are on the topic of art, consider this:

If high standards are easy to identify in other industries, why do people always revert to “art is in the eye of the beholder” to avoid speaking the truth about the standards in modern art?


Our own and other people’s opinions are heavily shaped by what we see, and thus our level of appreciation, or lack of.

Visual art is a form of communication. The artist is expressing a feeling and or thoughts at the time of creating. If we see and understand what is being communicated, we take enjoyment and maybe humour from it, or dislike and maybe even offence.

Visual things also generate one of two emotions or the in-between – love, hate or indifference.

Within the emotions of love and hate, there are degrees of strength that our personal opinion is formed from which may be followed by a reaction – it brings a smile to your face or a frown, gently nodding or shaking your head, or even speaking out audibly ‘hmmm, I like that! or ‘no, don’t like that!’

Right in the middle is indifference. Indifference shows no thought or emotion, so the inclination will be to just move on showing no reaction.

Even if we may not appreciate what the artist was feeling or thinking, or even understand what we’re looking at, it’s still a form of communication, and it’s at this point where our imagination tries to fill in some blanks.

Generally, our imagination is not easy to call upon to provide answers or solutions to things we don’t know, can’t see or understand, but it can be trained.

There will be some arts that you will like, some you won’t and some you didn’t even know was an art, but my acronym is very helpful in learning about the different arts:

A – Appreciatively

R – Rethink

T – Things

Adopting the A.R.T acronym will help you open your mind in wanting to try new experiences. Wanting is the key word here. If you don’t want to, that’s your prerogative, but if you do, there’s a very good chance the unknown might surprise you and become a memorable experience, an experience you can recall and use to your benefit somewhere else.

I apply this acronym to myself to learn about something I may not have known before or to understand a different perspective of something I already know. It’s helped me to indulge in my well of creativity and this helps me envision difference, demonstrate foresight and how to make improvements. It’s even helped me act in such a way so as to solve a variety of problems. For these reasons, A.R.T has, and still enriches my life today.

Learning how to truly appreciate what the arts can do for you always comes down to A.R.T.


I have 3 images I’m going to show you now.

Step 1

Pause the slide show and concentrate on one image at a time. Write down 5 KEY WORDS that come to mind to describe what you see. Get into the image and imagine what it’s like being in there.

Step 2

Once you have 5 key words, stop looking at the image.

Step 3

Now, think of those 5 key words together like a package. As a summary, what do these 5 key words mean to you? What thought or sentence or image comes to mind based on just these 5 words? Please write down your collective summary results as well.

Step 4

Repeat steps 1-3 with the other images now.

Your key words and your summary will be interesting. I’ve tested this theory on myself and with my wife, and I’ve written down our test results so you can see how our results compare to yours once you’ve written yours down.


These are the results of the three images from me and my wife:


  • CHRIS: abstract + colourful + explosion + energy + fresh = teen spirit.
  • BEE: experimenting + fun + colour + flair + free = self discovery.

The abstract image of colour was the best for our imagination to work with.


  • CHRIS: abstract + strength + order + beauty + precision = architecture.
  • BEE: perspective + lines + anchor + tension + strength = architecture.

The architectural image presents no new information for our imagination to work with, thus we conclude what we see.


  • CHRIS: flexible + power + strength + agile + passion = predatory animal.
  • BEE: dance off + people + crowd + club + circle = feel good vibes.

The break dancers image shows the most diversity between our initial responses, thus a more diverse summary.

How did you do?


The five key word formula demonstrates what our imagination presents to our consciousness as one of the first things identified from our data base, possibly something you’ve seen a lot of in your life in one form or another.

The collective summary could be just that, a collective summary, or it could be your imagination has just learnt how to present known information in a new way to your consciousness, which in turn could open up new ways of being creative in looking at or solving any number of situations or problems.


When you see any of the visual arts and it’s not something identifiable with what you already know, imagination or indifference kicks in.

Imagination will try to interpret what your eyes are seeing by focusing on different attributes like shape, texture, colour, size, perspective, context etc and run that against your data base of knowledge so it can present something identifiable to your consciousness.

Indifference will either kick in first, or kick in after imagination has tried and failed to recognise anything identifiable with your data base of knowledge.

On the flip side, when you do recognise what you’re looking at, your imagination finds it’s very difficult or can’t do anything with this visual information because it’s a known fact in your data base, hence nothing to report to your consciousness.


I believe the key word formula and the A.R.T. acronym are the keys to opening up more of your imagination and repurposing your data base of knowledge, which helps you realise this newly discovered aspect of your creativity is unlimited and very unstoppable in it’s potential, not just with viewing visual arts, or any of the arts, but with all subjects in life.

If you were to visit an art gallery now, what will YOU see?

Will indifference just see a labelled piece of something before you? Do you understand the thoughts and feelings of the artist? Has the key word formula awoken your imagination to A.R.T? Has your imagination unleashed your creativity to see other things in a completely new and exciting way? Will you still have your A.R.T. glasses on when you step out of the art gallery?

Understanding and using this key word formula is how A.R.T can be viewed and appreciated – Appreciatively Rethinking Things.

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