Communication Through Art

Greetings Friends,

Last week I had to write an artist statement, and the first question I was asked to address was “What do you hope to communicate through your art?”

I always find this difficult to answer. I work intuitively, and I don’t always know what it is that I’m bringing through. I often don’t have a conscious awareness of trying to communicate anything specific. Sometimes it’s only years later that I can look at a painting and fully understand what it’s about.

Then again, maybe that is my answer! But a part of me would like to have a more definitive response that makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. The question implies that (real?) artists intentionally communicate something with their art.

Each person viewing the work brings their self and their own interpretation to the art. I like to let viewers of my work find their own meaning in it, and not predispose them to what I think the piece might mean. I think it’s more interesting if we all see something different in the art.

Does art have to be about communication? Can it just be about having fun and expressing joy? Or maybe fun and joy is the communication in that case.

Take my “Rubber Sole” paintings, for instance, where I put on shoes with interesting treads, step in paint, and walk on the canvas. They aren’t serious paintings with a profound message. They’re fun and light-hearted.

Cassandra Tondro art

“Autumnal Dance,” 40 x 40 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Or my “Gaia” paintings where I’m experimenting with poured paint.

Cassandra Tondro art

“Meltdown,” 24 x 48 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

I also have some more serious work that addresses issues of our time, like my minimalist and transformational paintings. The minimalist paintings are an offering to calm, balance and soothe a troubled world.

Cassandra Tondro art

“In the Dark,” 24 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

The “Transformation” paintings are expressive pieces that explore the range of experiences around reorganization and change

Cassandra Tondro art

“Storyboard for the Apocalypse,” 24 x 30 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

So how do I sum all of this up briefly for my artist statement? Maybe something like “I’m a process painter and I’m not consciously aware of what I’m communicating through my art but I like to have fun with my work and sometimes I create more serious paintings that address issues of our time.” That’s a mouthful!

What mediums do you use to communicate? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

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4 Comments

  1. Cassandra, thank you for this beautiful post. As an intuitive painter, I often feel like you have expressed. Your thoughts, ideas, and words shared in this post have pulled something out of me that makes sense as I might talk about my art. I wonder if all artists struggle with this same issue – or just some of us? Most art is nonverbal so, how do we place words on it? Is it like forcing a square peg into a round hole? And yet, it’s words that we need to use to communicate with the rest of the world.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mary. Very well stated! I do find it frustrating to communicate using words, and I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to art. Like you said, it’s especially difficult to communicate in words about my art.

      1. The best response I hope to get from my work is a good laugh. Seems to me you are usually working towards “beauty” through texture and color, regardless of the medium. And you can do it with shoe treads. How magical is that?

        1. Well, shoe treads are kind of magical! OK, maybe not everyone sees them that way. Hmmmm. I guess you’re right about working towards beauty. I hadn’t thought of that, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

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