What Are You Looking At?

Original collage by Stratford artist Donna Osterby Brien

This weekend — at Art in Paradise Alley — you get the chance to stop staring at your screen.

Walk outside.
Talk to artists.
To look inside yourself and ask: “What am I looking at?”

Art takes us into the minds of the artist, true. But it’s best used for getting to know ourselves Art works best when it starts create questions like:

  • What do I like?
  • What do I see?
  • How does this fit with my idea of the world?
  • Why does this bother me?
  • Who do I know that I think WOULD like this? Do I like THEM? Why or why not?
  • Why do I want to go back and look at that last piece again?
  • What do I want from this that I’m not getting?

My colleague at the Stratford Arts Guild, Donna Osterby Brien, does collage pieces. This gorgeous piece, above, (sorry for the hopelessly terrible photograph, Donna!) stopped me in my tracks when I saw it last week.

First, I loved the incongruity of the images in it.  I loved the staircases to nowhere and the enormous birds with the tiny, hidden humans.

Second, the colors and the natural setting seemed so soothing. You can see very well Donna’s interior design expertise coming out here.

Also, the depth of layering the individual items in the collage creates really made me wonder: what is the context of the original pieces? And I love to wonder! I love to look at something I’ve seen before and see something new. To me, that’s how people are, and that’s one of that great qualities of any art piece.

Stratford Arts Guild Art in Paradise AlleyFinally, I felt taken away by it. Art that appeals to me — whatever the medium — is something that distracts me from the now and creates an alternate “now.” Donna’s collage world isn’t real, but I felt happy to wander around lost in it for awhile. And I haven’t put it down since last week when I looked in.

Come out, then, and have a look at Donna’s gorgeous work in person this weekend at Art in the Alley … Or support your own local arts council.

It’s a beautiful way to experience the world, beauty, and to get to know yourself better.