Art Appreciation: A Pragmatist's Perspective

I’ve never been an “artsy” person. It’s not so much that I’ve never liked art, but that I’ve never been a particularly adept artist myself and have tended to value practicality over design or craftsmanship.  And yet somewhat ironically, during my years at The Oaks Academy, I would frequent the Harrison Center on First Fridays, exposing myself to a plethora of different styles and mediums. But instead of looking at the work around me, I was there solely for the purpose hanging with friends. I returned to the Harrison Center recently and toured each artist’s studio as a part of a service project, and, while I won’t venture to say that the experience “revolutionized” my view of art, it did give me a greater appreciation for the talents of local Hoosier artists. 11018845_835358606512066_5864446009921505030_oSnowed In - Jed Dorsey

Jed Dorsey and Matt Kenyon’s studio was one studio of particular interest. On one hand, you have Matt’s work in glassblowing, which seemed to be more abstract than Jed’s paintings, which were more realistic in nature, depicting scenes from around Indianapolis. Due to my lack of sufficient art vernacular, I can’t really comment on either one’s style specifically, but the contrast between the two made their studio all the more interesting.

While I toured more studios than I have space to write about, one thing that surprised me as a whole was the incredible differences that ranged from one artist’s work to another’s and how the condition of each studio, littered, open or cramped—reflected each artist’s work.

It doesn’t take a great amount of prior knowledge or interest to appreciate great artwork. And that’s coming from a future Purdue Boilermaker planning to study finance, practically the definition of a pragmatist.

Ethan Jackson is a recent Park Tudor School graduate who volunteered for the Harrison Center, and made it his goal to learn a bit more about art. Ethan plans to attend Purdue University in the fall.