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Less Is More

“Simplicity is the last step of art and the beginning of nature.”


These words sourced from my childhood hero, Bruce Lee, rang true to me then as they still do now. To understand the meaning is to grasp the concept that, great art doesn’t strive to be complex, but rather great work is deceptively simple (in its appearance). In the visual arts world, how one’s work is perceived is largely dictated by the decisions made for the sake of communication regarding the concept and its interpretation. Training oneself to implement simplicity is a process of unlearning, largely ignored as most believe that more is better. What has to be conscientiously applied to the art of editing is the notion that QUALITY is superior to quantity.

 

Truly understanding this allows for an uncluttered means to effectively communicate with your viewer visually. When an idea is to be presented, what is necessary to the viewer is what I like to refer to as “universal symbolism”. By this I mean the visual language is, in fact, a language all its own. As human beings, we share emotional experiences and understand visual cues as symbolic representations for certain ideas. These visual cues are not restricted by language as they are inherently understood. For example, an egg in any part of the world regardless of the language spoken is seen not only as food but can be seen as a visual representation for creation, birth, fertility,… Keeping one's presentation of a chosen idea simple is to say much with little. As a visual artist, it is truly necessary to understand that the fewer words needed to explain an image, the more powerful and effective the concept communicated is. Effective visual communication that uses universal symbolism will simplify your visual presentation and strengthen the connection between your ideas and the viewer.

 

While it is true that art is highly subjective and each viewer will interpret a piece largely from their personal life experiences, the artist that speaks the clearest visually will gain the largest audience. Presenting more to the viewer in a specific piece or even in an overall body of work can serve to dilute the perception of you as an artist. What I am emphasizing here, again, is that quality should always be placed ahead of quantity. It is far better to present only 10 great works rather than to show 50 works with 40 of them interpreted as mediocre. “Less is more” is not simply just a saying, it is a way of life.


MONTANO ST. JULES (theartof1)


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