I have never been able to see those stupid magic eye images…
Y’know these things:
Never. Not once. Not then. Not now.
“Oh but Travis that’s nothing, that’s a parlor trick, it doesn’t mean anything.” Which is of course indisputably true. But back in their day they were everywhere. Those slots in malls that are selling Twilight posters right now? Or Avatar keychains or Inception dreamcatchers… they were selling Magic Eye posters, keychains, tissue boxes, books, calendars, mouse pads, oven mitts I mean they really were omnipresent.
Maybe you don’t know how foolish being beaten by an illusion you fundamentally understand is. I’m a pretty smart fella and this stupid optical illusion defeated me. I hated it. HATED IT. When you’re smart and snarky (before snarky was even a word) and 18 and you hate something, even something stupid and inanimate, you mock the hell out of it.
This is art.
A more versed human than I would look at this and be able to tell you influences on the painter, and skill level, and objective quality. They could give you facts and context. I can tell you that I like the colours and I like the texture in the spring green spackle.
Most audiences won’t even give you that. They don’t want to appear ignorant.
People have been trained (and are being trained better every day) that if you aren’t an expert in a field that you need to shut up or you’re going to be smacked down by someone else who either is an expert or is loud enough to cloud the issue until you run away. Artists and near-artist experts work so hard to prove how smart they are that they have brow beaten audiences into critical passivity.
Audiences dislike anything that they feel like they may not “get”, and they refuse to believe that they did in fact get it, or how little it matters that they “get it right”. People hate feeling stupid.
So instead of deriding their taste when they go see something that won’t insult them why don’t we meet them halfway? Save your dramaturgy for folks who will appreciate it (email me!) and give a scene after the show. Don’t continue hogging the spotlight, draw out of the audience that remains in your lobby what they saw, what they liked or didn’t. Help them feel comfortable talking about it. We complain vigilantly about the about the dreaded “how did you learn all those lines?” but we hesitate to help give our audiences any more critical vocabulary than they came in with. Be teachers. I understand that you’re tired. But this is a job, not Pretty Polly’s Tea Party.
The North American population has been mainlining short and medium form storytelling since they were infants. They know a ton about it, they just don’t think that they do. Show them that they don’t need magic eyes to see your art and you’re halfway to making a fan out of them.