In a former life I was an art student. I actually studied painting, receiving a bachelors in fine art in the subject, though I was careful to never call myself an artist. After a year or two of renting an outside studio and barely painting anything at all, I slowly abandoned my artwork, turning to a life of graphic design and commercial artwork. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t miss it, and when I have a chance, I try to revisit that life. While in New York, I took an afternoon to walk around. What struck me most as I wandered through room after room of white walls with paintings, photographs and sculptures mounted on them wasn’t the artwork itself, though each piece fed my soul in ways that food can’t. It was the people who were there visiting the museum, looking at the artwork. I found myself looking at the museum visitors, a hodgepodge of tourists and locals, more than the artwork itself. I loved how each person interacted with the art, whether it meant taking a photo of it with their cell phone, praying to it (as a 15 year old boy seem to do) or just plain ignoring it. The interactions between the audience and the piece seemed just as important as the piece itself and I couldn’t help but take unwitting portraits of the attendees with the artwork on the wall. I wish I had taken the time to talk to each person I took a photo of, so I could ask them what they were thinking as I took their photo, but like art itself, some interpretations are best left to the imagination.
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