I'll do the only other thing I'm good at: talking.
Today's subject is "the box". While some of you older folks may have been put in one during military training, and some of you kids might have been put in one when you misbehaved at school, this "box" is the metaphorical kind. The one that you think outside of.
A lot of people tell you to "think outside the box". Why? Because supposedly doing so will grant you some mystical insight, it will make you more creative, more original, "deeper", a better artist, you name it, apparently thinking outside the box will do it. It's kinda like pot or LSD...only less expensive. There's a pretty serious problem with this line of though though and it's especially heinous in the art community because the most commonly expressed idea of "the box" is something akin to a prison.
What a lot of people tend to forget is: the box exists for a reason. The box is not a prison, it's more like a house. It's a safe, well-defined area in which a person feels comfortable. Now there is some merit to the argument that art should attempt to push people out of their box, to present them with ideas that are new and different to them. This is a good argument, art should do this, but if we use the idea of a box represented by a house, we can see that most people are okay going outside of their house. Why? Because they have a yard.
A yard has always been an experiment in controlled chaos, plants grow, animals come and go, there's no roof over your head to protect you from the elements...but it's not always bad outside. People feel comfortable in their yard, but slightly less comfortable than they do in their home, for most people being nude in your house is fine, but few of these people would ever be nude outside, even in their yard. Some might go topless or wear clothes they normally wouldn't wear in public, so generally speaking "the yard" is the area outside "the box" in which people are comfortable with things they normally aren't, in small doses.
We can continue this metaphor into the neighborhood, the town, the city, the state, the nation, and so on, at each level the person becomes less comfortable with whatever they are exposed to. The problem in the art community is that there is a constant state of each artist attempting to one-up each other. It is a competitive market after all so this should be expected at least in terms of quality, but unfortunately this often gets applied to "the box" as well.
When one artist takes the viewer out into the yard, the next takes them into the town, then the city, the state, the nation, and some artists in an attempt to beat the whole system take the person into the depths of space in an alternate dimension in the future of a parallel-reality.
This tends to result in work that is lost on the viewer. While there may be similarities within the work that the viewer can recognize, such as familiar shapes, colors, and patterns, the meaning, the theme, the whole point of the work is lost. All because the artist took the concept too far. My GF constantly says art is about "meaning-making", and in this case, the meaning that was made was such a pseudo-intellectual-existential-pile of goop that the viewer just doesn't get it. Problematically, it is often lauded by other artists, who themselves may not get it, but need to save face to keep up with their perceived market. Thus, the further from the box a work is, the "better" it becomes, and thus people continue to move away from "the box", further alienating the viewer and compounding the problem.
The point, if I've failed to get to it, is that there is nothing wrong with "the box", it is not a prison, it is not a cold, dark, emotionless place in which art has no value or meaning. Nor is "the box" universal for all people, some people's boxes are bigger or smaller, some have more windows, some have big windows that they never open, some have small yards and big towns, some have small towns and big yards. "The box" is simply the comfort zone of the viewer, and things within it are understood, enjoyed, and accepted readily. The short story is: There is no need to run away screaming from "the box" as though it were some kind of horrid monstrosity that will devour you whole, just as there is no need to always "think inside the box" either. But it is preferable that people understand your work, because a lack of understanding generally translates into a dislike. So stand in their yard, wait around in town, set up in the city, but don't take them to an alternate dimension in a parallel universe and then expect them to fully "get" your message. It doesn't benefit you, it doesn't benefit art as a whole, and it's certainly not enjoyable for the viewer.
Listening to: Simon and Garfunkel - Scarborough fair
Watching: GW2 videos