I was watching Richmond v Essendon the other night. Richmond is not my favourite team and, as they were winning, it was making me quite disgruntled. There was not a lot of pleasure in it.
Jerry Saltz, in his book How to be an Artist, acknowledges that, sometimes (perhaps often?) we will come across art that we don’t relate to, we don’t find beautiful, leaves us cold or we, quite simply, don’t like. He points out that it is easy to think there is nothing to be gained from these works, that they can slip out of our minds with no loss and, hopefully, never be seen again.
But then he says, ‘Instead, when you come across a piece of art you don’t like, ask yourself: what would I like about this work were I the kind of person that liked it?‘ He encourages us, as artists (and viewers) , to find a couple of good qualities, note a couple of interesting approaches to ‘colour, structure, space and style.’ These are elements we can take back into our own armoury of artistic knowledge. Don’t write it off, he begs. Imagine you like it and think about why you do.
So, Richmond. Brilliant footballers. Slick skills and a club cohesion to be envied. If I liked Richmond, I would be excited by their success and entranced by their play. I would be delighted by recent premierships and eagerly anticipate the next. If I liked Richmond, I’d be sitting pretty happily.
Not sure how I can take that into my art ….. but it will make watching this week’s game a lot easier!