Audience, Dialogue, and Co-Creation

I had vague thoughts on my audience for my “Designs by Mannix” project, since I understood that appealing to “everybody” usually means you will, inevitably, appeal to nobody. However, my thoughts were so nebulous that I wasn’t confident I was reaching any groups. I found that crafting personas helped shape what I was looking for in an audience immensely, and, more importantly, it truly allowed me to imagine what they would think. First of all, my original website is heavy on the art, light on the context–which was a major critique of my previous professor. Now I would like to provide some context by explaining how World War II affected the people of Plainville. I always felt uncomfortable drawing conclusions for Gordon–if he isn’t around to say so, how am I qualified to do so? However, by leaving him completely silent, I’m doing more of a disservice to his memory, since I’m not even trying to imagine or empathize with him. Interviewing older Plainville citizens and digging up some local history seems like a good way to indirectly find out how Gordon might have felt about certain events, both local and global. Secondly, while my exhibit is art-heavy–it is comprised of mostly images, after all–it doesn’t say much about the actual art beyond descriptors. Once again, I didn’t feel like I had the time or the qualifications to weigh in more about the quality and technique of Gordon’s art, once again to the disservice of Gordon. He entered so many competitions and sketched so much–he must’ve craved feedback. I have to give it to him and let him receive it from outside sources. I think Gordon is a genius–and he clearly was objectively talented, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten his scholarship. However, due to my glowing appreciation of his art, I’ve been shy to ask my art history and artist friends what they think about his art, afraid that they might eviscerate his work. I need to stop coddling Gordon–or myself, more accurately–and seek out real opinions that will only serve to make this online gallery better.

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