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Talk Like an Artist – Michael Grills Art Skip to main content


Art Talk

Talk Like an Artist

By April 12, 2022No Comments
Compositions in Art Thumbnails B

Mind if I drop some art babble on you?

When people talk to me about art, I’ve noticed that they sometimes get all choked up because they just don’t know what to say.

“I like it,” or “I don’t like it.” After that, many of us don’t know what else there is.

Nowadays, we don’t have art as part of our everyday chat, like movies. (Most people can break down what makes a great movie – script, editing, acting and directing.)

Here’s a little tidbit of artspeak that you can use to chat with somebody. It will be helpful if you talk to the artist you’re excited about or the gallery dealer who’s representing them. Of course, if you pick up a piece from the furniture store, don’t worry about it – Nobody there will care.

The word of the day: COMPOSITION.

Composition is the least controversial word in artspeak, and the artist and the collector can use it without causing any offence. Because, If there is a mark on a canvas, we can talk about how it fits into any composition.

That’s why we can love an abstract painting just as much as a landscape.

Ok, so how does it work?

It’s super simple.

  • It’s how all the elements of the art come together to create the overall look. And the parts can be anything, but the easiest things to think about are shapes and colours, just like the movies – acting and script. 

So you could look at a piece and say, “I like how the artist uses shapes in space, but maybe, I don’t like it in a different piece.

So simple right?

Don’t worry about offending the artist when you talk this way because the artist is already obsessed with these things and knows that not everybody will like the same things. Knowing this will also help you work with the artist if you’re trying to get a commission from them, but their work is close but not exactly what you’re looking for.

For fun, try looking at the art in your home or office and decide what you like about the shapes. Comment aloud to yourself (your family might think you’re crazy, but we don’t really worry about that here). There are no wrong answers, and it will help you figure out how to state what you want in your art collection, and you may surprise yourself.

I’ve attached some examples here so you can check out the basics and try them on for size.

Your friend in art,

Michael Grills

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