Only Half The Equation
Why do we engage – with art, with products, with experiences or with people?
There are many reasons, and they are layered.
We engage because we seek novelty. This is something/someone new and right now I’m in the mood for new.
Or we engage because we seek security and nostalgia. This album is by the artist who wrote my favourite song ever. It always puts a smile on my face. I’ve got all her albums. Or this sweater reminds me of one I wore as a kid. Wearing it transports me back to a simpler time.
We engage because “everybody else is doing it”. By everybody else, we might actually mean everybody (facebook) or we might mean all the people we see as ‘our people’ (#metoo).
We engage because of the story it allows us to tell ourselves. I’m a creative person so I should have the tools of a creative (MacBook) or I’m cultured, educated and affluent (original art on the wall of your office or home).
When creating something new in the world it’s important to remember that you as the ‘artist’ are only half of the equation. As Austin Kleon says, “art is an interaction between you and the person who is going to experience the work. The person who is going to experience it is bringing just as much to it and is just as important as you are. “
It’s important to remember that the people we engage with our work are not investing their time, energy or money in the tool, show, or person per se, but in how interacting with it will make them feel and how much closer it gets them towards the person they aspire to be.