Thought on Flow and Direction in Art

April 28, 2013 at 2:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was at a local eatery the other day and they had remodeled and in the remodeling they changed everything around. All they did was add a new counter but now, instead of starting at one end of the counter, ordering there and going right to pay, you start in the middle and go to the left – which used to be the place to order – to pay. And now you go clear across the room for cups.  There’s a bottleneck of people trying to order where the tables are and a big empty space where we used to order. Phew. It was exhausting – though entertaining – to watch people figure out what the heck to do when they entered. Phew.

While I was enjoying the show, I got to thinking about flow and direction. Part of the confusion in the eatery is based on the fact that that the way it used to be reflected the way so much is in this country- left to right. We read left to right, we drive on the left hand side of the line and the cold water faucets are always on the right to avoid burns as most people are right handed and are just naturally tuned into the right as weird and ethnocentric as that sounds. If rightocentric were a word, it’d be that to.

Then I thought about flow in art – any kind of art, whether painting or dimensional mixed media.  No matter how avante garde your art, this is one of the conventions, this left to right thing we are wired into, you must stick to. Our eyes – and brains – are used to the left to right flow.

So if, for instance, you are creating a piece of art and want to convey pattern – or even just a thought about patters in art or in life – remember if you attempt to lead the eye from left to right, the eye – and mind – of your viewer is more likely to be able to follow your idea or theme easily, thus understand any underlying meaning.


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