Interpreting Art – Individual Perception

Many people have been asking me what I am teaching in my classes at the ARCH College of Design. While I have been engaged there to take sessions on Business & Professional Communication; the idea really is to inculcate within the students of their various streams of study – Jewelry, Fashion, Interior and Graphic Design, a sense of Deep & Individual Interpretation, and Expression. This, I have tried to accomplish through a module I’ve designed that organically journeys students across a logical progression:

  1. Self – Analysis (looking inward, introspection)
  2. Writing About THEMSELVES
  3. Examining the Environment (social, political landscape)
  4. Developing a Perception & Point of View on Extraneous Facets of Life
  5. Organizing their Perceptions Logically
  6. Writing/Communicating these Opinions in a Convincing, Engaging manner

Ultimately taking them to a stage where, the hope is, having figured out themselves and happenings/phenomena around them, that they are READY to start Interpreting Art/Design/Creation/Objects

Interpreting a piece of Design/Art is an acquired skill. One may be the greatest Creator and Visionary (and many of the students here are). The process of creation however doesn’t often reveal its inspirations very overtly (even to the Artist or the Creator). A Fashion Designer may base his/her Collection on certain elements/inspirations but by the time the final product emerges, the genesis gets lost in translation. That’s because the Artist or Creator is not concerned with these things. To him/her, it is the Process-Of-Creation that is enjoyable.

However, in today’s competitive world, in order to proliferate those creations in an impacting manner, where the world would take notice and one’s designs would break-the-clutter, the Design ALONE isn’t enough. There MUST be a story to accompany the design. It is THIS Story that I am after. This genesis that I am trying to get the students at ARCH to search for, first in other’s creations, and ultimately in their own, and then be able to ARTICULATE that Story in a way that tells a convincing tale to a viewer/admirer/potential buyer.

Design Communication then, forms the bedrock of my engagement at ARCH. And to this end, I am glad that only yesterday, when I first flirted with the idea of getting the students to Interpret some pieces of Art I shared in class, that the exercise solicited healthy participation, and more importantly, evoked educated, individual, unguarded, and thoroughly unique stories from students who proudly communicated an individual perception of a common piece of art.

I suspect we’re on to something great 🙂

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