Artists have long held a privileged role in society, allowing them to spend more time “seeing” what is going on than do most others. In addition, artists’ perspectives have often been sought by those who want to transcend the mundane to draw closer to the sublime.

As a result, a greater artistic vision can open the door for ordinary viewers to experience a broader and more delightful world. What a wonderful gift!

Such expansions occur today for fortunate viewers in these five ways:

1. Assemblages transform ordinary objects into imagination-inspiring constructions that enable viewers to more easily perceive the artist’s purpose through greater interaction with three-dimensional works comprised of the familiar.

2. Artists can prepare works containing Rosetta Stone-like translations of their work into its most fundamental equivalents in what viewers already understand, enabling viewers to make their own translations into and from the artist’s vision.

3. Artists can speak with viewers to learn first what they currently see and then lead each one with questions, observations, and experiences across a conversational bridge to reach an appreciation of what the artist had in mind.

4. Museum curators and educators can also translate artistic vision into the ordinary perspectives of viewers to permit a richer understanding of what’s being expressed and its meaning.

5. Viewers desiring transformative experiences can commission artists to work on particular embodiments of what they seek.

While everyday objects often serve now as artists’ subjects, as well as being their materials, greater artistic vision rarely emerges from literally rendering the physical. Very aware of this limitation, most serious painters and sculptors before the nineteenth century focused on producing human figures and historical subjects.

Assemblages have never been bigger than now, nor have they previously invited such close engagement. Consequently, transcending the daily reality has never been more ironically and vividly expressed.

Success leaves clues. Similarly, artists can strew breadcrumbs to mark the path from what viewers are accustomed to seeing to whatever the artist expresses beyond that. Today’s artists often have a deft touch for providing such clues in ways that evoke spiritual truths hovering beyond the merely physical.

Being with artists has always helped non-artists gain new insights. The wealthy often take lessons from or entertain leading artists. Aspiring artists seek to learn by copying their favorite works. The occasional wealthy artist has the freedom to travel, think, and learn in any way he or she wants.

Current artists are more likely than ever before to engage in conversations with a broader audience, whether in person or through the mass media, that helps viewers appreciate whatever they don’t yet understand. Such conversations help enhance artistic vision by newly exposing opportunities that the artist hasn’t previously grasped.

We should consider ourselves fortunate to live in an age of museums carefully tended by scholars and educators who often spend more time than the artists digging into the roots of the works that are displayed in the hallowed halls. Drawing on such depths of knowledge about art and explaining it, today’s viewers have an easier time than ever before seeing beyond what the casual observer might notice.

Today’s corporations are often patrons of the arts, either by purchasing objects to display or commissioning works that become integral parts of their offerings. In the process, everyday life, both at work and in the home, is enhanced by greater artistic visions.

While many artists have long prided themselves as being more into “art” than “making a living from art,” the possibilities for enhanced connections to viewers has expanded the boundaries of being an artist to include conveying a greater vision more broadly and effectively, even for those who don’t do so with commercial intent. What could be nicer?

Such a paradigm shift can be troubling for some. What should artists make of it?

One of the wisest people I know is Dean Alan Guinn of Rushmore University. To complete the examination of how artists can expand their vision to let viewers see more, I asked Alan to comment:

“Never be afraid to challenge current thought, never be afraid to take the next challenge, and do not let fear constrict your alternatives or construct your life.

“So many people go through life fearing that next decision, fearing challenges that can help make their future an amazing experience -- simply because they are afraid of taking that ‘big step.’ You can’t fear opportunity, and you shouldn’t be afraid of life’s decisions.

“Look, let’s be fair. I’ve been a rule-breaker most of my life and that talent (if it can be called that) has helped guide my decisions. I’ve had a moderate number of successes and some failures. I often look back on events and try to determine if I learned more from my successes or my failures, and the odds makers would probably determine that the failures have taught me exponentially more than the successes. I find rules constricting, especially when I don’t see any reason for them except that someone else is limiting my abilities to excel or to challenge the status quo.”

So expand viewers’ ability to see and appreciate your artistic vision in these and any other ways you like. As you do, remember that, “If at first you don’t succeed, try something different until you do.”

What are you waiting for?

Author's Bio: 

Donald W. Mitchell is a professor at Rushmore University who often teaches people who want to improve their business effectiveness in order to accomplish career breakthroughs through earning advanced degrees. For more information about ways to engage in fruitful lifelong learning at Rushmore University to increase your effectiveness, I invite you to visit