Curiosity, How it benefits the Artist

Are you Curious enough? Do you Dare to ask Questions? As an artist, how does curiosity play a part in Art?

Many times we tend to downplay curiosity having somewhere along the way, lost our inherent desire to want to know “Why or What if.”

With the help of some quotes from +Vincent Messina, we will discuss how the desire and need to remain ever curious as an artist or art lover.

First off it helps to know what is the definition of curiosity.

  • The dictionary definition of curiosity is – a strong desire to know or learn something, having an interest, spirit of inquiry.
  • As +Vincent Messina points out at the beginning of his Blog about Curiosity and Google+ that Wikipedia explains it as “”a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in human and many animal species.”
  • Then +Vincent gives his personal definition: “Curiosity is when you don’t know something about someone or something, but want to do something to learn.”

So which of these definitions of curiosity applies to the artist? Let’s examine them and discover where each benefits the artist.

As an artist, one needs to have a strong desire to know about their subject matter, their media, (what they chose to use to express themselves with, whether it be watercolor, acrylic or oil paints, clay, metal etc.) The need for an artist to ask “why and/or what.”

Another thing curiosity brings to the artist, also falls under the “why.” Why does the subject matter do things the way they do. How deep did the artist go to learn about their topic in the artwork? Was it a surface level as in ‘a sport done by certain people in a certain country?’ Or does the artist dig deeper, get inquisitive, not be shy about asking and learning the whys and how come the subject matter of the artwork is done about.

Did you apply these points when you began to decide what subject to create about?

  • Ask questions even when you think you should know, but you don’t.
  • If you are not curious by nature, don’t fake it. Learn how to be a little more curious by learning how to ask good questions.
  • Don’t worry so much about being authentic. Worry more about being authentically curious.
  • Am I asking the right questions or are am I playing it safe? Don’t feel afraid to speak up or ask for clarification!
  • What can I ask to start a discussion about this topic?
  • Where can I go to gather more information about the subject I wish to depict.
  • How can I use the information I get to make the artwork come more alive to the viewer of the art?

At the same time an artist cannot be afraid of exploration, the “what if” I do this or combine this media with that, boldly at times, investigating how different approaches or techniques affect and benefit or detract from the overall idea one are trying to express.

We notice that multiple areas of the definition of curiosity applies to the artist. Are you an artist? How do you think the different expressions of curiosity has and can in the future expand your artwork?