Who do I create work for and how does it influence my creative process?

Stance editors Jan and Tyler posed this question at a recent Stance meeting and this is my base written answer:

One tendency I find dismaying is artists who focus more on creating work for their own fulfillment than on their connection with their audience. Focus on fulfillment is well and good if your work’s ultimate audience is private, without cost. However, once I charge an audience admission to witness my work, I consider it a personal responsibility to communicate with value to your audience.

Value is not selling out. It is an exchange of meaningful substance.

Any work you present to your audience is subject to their scrutiny. You ask of them some degree of sacrifice (their money, time and attention), in return sacrificing the leverage of control over perception of your work. The moment you begin presenting for a witness, judgment of your work is passed to your witnesses, your audience.

No matter how personal my motivations for making work, I ultimately create work for the general public, often people I don’t know and whose mindsets I possible don’t understand… but to whom I must communicate the work I have cultivated for them to see.

While most artists give little thought in process to the perception of their audience, it is an important consideration as I craft ideas into a cohesive piece. I am ultimately communicating, and if I’m not understood in a meaningful way my effort to communicate is for naught.

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