Updated: May 28
It is a social rule that we are not suppose to touch artwork, not at museums, galleries, etc. And it is obvious not to do it. I mean would you touch the "Venus de Milo" leaving all over her your greasy finger prints? Of course not. These pieces have years behind them and their surface may be very delicate, same thing applies to paintings. And when you go to a gallery is the same concept. It was also a rule before, not to take pictures of the art on display. It began when cameras had flashes, and some of those where harmful for certain pieces of art at the museums. Then it became a matter of copyright and so and so. I understand it, I respect it, we all live by it. However I actually allow my textural work to be touched.
I was living in Houston, Texas, and I had a studio near The Montrose area. One morning while working on a piece, I noticed a family coming in. The parents, with their son and daughter. They were going around looking at what I had hanging on the walls at the moment. I noticed the mother was talking to her daughter in front of one piece. I stepped in to introduce myself and realized that their daughter was visually impaired. The mother said to me, "you have beautiful work, I love the colors and texture". The daughter added "Yeah it sounds very interesting". At that point I asked the daughter to place her hand over the piece and experience it. the mother instantly said " Oh no we can't touch the art, can we?" , "Yes you can" I replied. It turns out that their daughter had lost her vision after an accident three years before. While she was feeling the surface, she described what she was seeing in her mind, pairing the experience with previous memories of when she had her sight. It was fantastic to hear her description, while her mother had a big smile on her face.
Seldomly we think about how lucky we are to have our senses working properly. And it is very easy to make someone happy and expand their vision in art, even when they can't see physical things.
From then on, I started asking people to feel the artwork, "to touch it", "close your eyes and feel it, perhaps you get a different sensation and experience that way."
It is a double whammy in sensory stimulation!
I am not advising or encouraging you to touch every art piece you see.
Be respectful of other artists, museums and galleries. But when you are in front of one of my textural pieces, just close your eyes and feel it.
It may be hard now with Covid-19 to encourage people to touch my paintings, even though they may sanitize them constantly. But this shall pass and then perhaps you may have the chance to do so. Or even better, have one at home.
live, love, be kind and keep eating art.