Ramble: Aesthetics vs Meaning

Ramble: Aesthetics vs Meaning

Something I’m working on improving within my work is my tendency to lean towards aesthetic values whilst straying away from deeper meaning. I suppose I was/am very much an aestheticist, preferring to create art for the sake of beauty. Of course, this beauty is subjective and something I find to be agreeable may not be agreeable to others. To counter this, I have been trying to inject more meaning and sense of purpose into my work as I develop my creative and technical skills through symbology and subtle ideas. I find it difficult not to be literal with my work, though I feel I am growing away from the need to communicate with the viewer directly rather than subtly using undertones. As I begin to research my current project, I of course worry that I am taking it to head on as I have in the past. Of course, I do realise that I do not have to sacrifice one (beauty & depth) for the other, though I do find it difficult to take on meaningful and fervent suggestions of “why don’t you try this” or “add a little something here” and find myself almost defying these proposals intentionally. I want to create work that, that in the end, above all, pleases me. I don’t think I’d be happy sharing work that didn’t (as I demonstrated in my dissent at the idea of sharing some of my work this year, out of personal embarrassment at showing something I was not completely satisfied with). But all too often, I fall victim to “ooh pretty colour and pattern” and stay away from showing an edge in my own illustrations, though it’s often a point that attracts me to others work. I am beginning to fear that I can no longer recognise whether I’ve taken my work far enough or have remained too literal.

And I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this point, but it is something in general that is weighing on my mind and I would like to develop a solution to it where it pertains to my own work.