Every artist that you know or follow is looking for an audience for his or her work. How do I know that? Because if you’re aware of their work, it’s because they chose to make it public, and if they chose to make it public, it’s because they want people – an audience – to be able to see it.
Naturally, having a website and a blog, I include myself in the category of artists looking for an audience. Looking for an audience is a funny thing, though. If you look too hard for one, it can create problems for your work. This can arise, for example, when you start making work based on what you think your audience wants too see. Go down that road too far, and you run the risk of losing touch with why you started creating work in the first place. Rather, the creation of work may become an exercise in repeating past successes to please your audience, or becoming preoccupied with trying to ascertain want your audience wants to see so that you can provide it to them.
On the other hand, in an ideal world, you would want to sustain the connections you’ve made with those who have taken an interest in your work. Changes in your artistic vision or process may result in changes to the work you put out, which can run the risk of alienating those who have followed your work. It’s not trivial to worry about if your audience will come along with you should your work branch off in a different or unexpected direction.
I suspect my thoughts have wandered off into this space as a direct result of the making of a number of abstract triptych photographs over the last week or so, including the image in this post, “Triptych, Feathers No. 1.” Over the past year or two, I’ve devoted a lot of my photography time to making landscape photographs. Probably most of my audience (small though it may be) (but again, thank you sincerely to everyone who’s taken an interest in my photography) has come to know me for this kind of work.
Perhaps oddly enough, I’ve never thought of myself as a landscape photographer. Early on, I made a number of abstract diptychs, triptychs, and other kinds of subject matter. While I love landscape photography and don’t anticipate stopping it by any means, I’m excited to have rediscovered a passion for these different kinds of photography, and I look forward to working them into my repertoire. I’ll just be wondering a little bit if my audience will come along for the ride.