Some time ago I published a picture that I had drawn to send
one message and several months later realized that it would probably be misinterpreted by people
on the opposite end of the political spectrum to mean something else completely. Now I won't tell
people which picture it is (partly because people could probably
assume it's just about any picture I've shown publicly and if
people looked through my gallery trying to guess which one it
was it will force them to think more).
On the other hand more often than not I come back to picture
several months or even years later and realize what I may have subconsciously been saying (thankfully
my subconscious and I always turn out to be on the same page about values and political statements
despite what can later become obvious misinterpretations). Even just for the artist (never mind
the people who are looking at the artwork) it's a pretty amazing
window into a persons subconscious mind and what it might have been working on at the time. A few times
coming back to interpret my own work later reveals some very powerful ideas and concepts that I've only
just started thinking about consciously were something that my subconscious mind was fully aware of
and working on before.
While one could argue that I'm looking at the artwork
later through a different lens (and given the fact that I came up with that interpretation
months or years after I had drawn the picture in a
sense they are absolutely right if for not other reason that I might not have been ready
to be consciously aware of the interpretation at the time, or even if I was it doesn't change
the fact that I wasn't conscious of it then and I am now) and there for I'm just seeing what
I want to see (just like every other human being on the planet).
There might be a infinite number of interpretations for a given work of art,
and they all tell you as much about the person making the interpretations as what was going through the
artists mind (even if they weren't consciously aware of what they were thinking beyond this is a fun
concept to play with). When someone looks at any piece of artwork
misinterpretation just comes with the territory, it doesn't matter if you are exploring the nature
of existence itself, making a political statement, suggesting something about love, war, hate,
and peace, or saying something no one else has ever thought of.
As an artist I say please feel free to interpret my artwork give
your brain a work out, but remember I'm the only one who can really know for sure what I was saying
with those pictures and the only way anyone can know for sure
is for me to tip my hand, and who said I consciously know the answer to that question yet.
Not every artist would be willing to admit that they didn't know what they might
have been trying to say at the time (at least not consciously), or maybe that there
might be one or two pictures that they'll never
know the meaning of (besides that they had fun producing aesthetically appealing result)
but then again not every artist is bold enough to welcome not only correct
interpenetration but misinterpretation with the understanding that the way people
interpret and misinterpret their artwork says more
about the people from who those (mis)interpretations come than it does about the artists.
I invite people to interpret and misinterpret my artwork
because while I am the only one who knows their true meaning, peoples interpretations and
misinterpretations will help to show those peoples true colors.
And I ask all artists reading this regardless of what type of art
they create to welcome misinterpretation and remind everyone that the only person who can correctly interpret your
artwork for certain is the person who created it.