The Lost Mystical Art of Understanding Your Work

Psych! There is no such secret knowledge. I’m almost inclined to make this about your day job, but I won’t. That’s maybe a little too “wink-wink,” and you don’t need that.

Most of us who make art really have no idea what it means, or what we’re doing. I mean, we have skills, a practice, routines, starting points, and something to say. But if asked, we usually only have some vague things to say that could as easily go on the description on the wall placard.

To risk yet another contradictory headline, it doesn’t matter as much that you understand what you make. Other people will derive their own meaning no matter what you do, but being really specific would only partly prevent that. It’s great if it’s widely, wildly interpretable by many people, but that still misses the larger point.

You make the art for your own reasons, and you don’t always know what they are. And that’s cool.