CULTIVATING AESTHETICS

Written by the_chelf@yahoo.gr

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ARTISTIC VISION

What do you see when you look around you?

In one word:   Aesthetics.

From the Paleolithic era, the pre-historic artist added the first aesthetic properties to the tools they had at their disposal by conceiving the idea of incisions and engravings that had no other purpose than to look pretty.

NOBLE INDEED.

Frivolous? Maybe. Yet as senseful and senseless as you and I.

The value of aesthetics lies in self-affirmation and it’s so uniquely human that you cannot exist without being aesthetic-centric. It’s simply the way you perceive the world around you, your personal response to what you see.

 Accept. Click. Admit.

The conceptual philosophical enquiries are enough to fit all mindsets, from Kant who argued about the contradiction between art and work to the romantics, who illustrated the hard-to-swallow-pill of art under capitalism, as they found themselves disillusioned with bourgeois reality. In the end it all worked out to their advantage because hard-to-swallow-pills most likely lead to revolutionary ideas.

On the count of three:  Viva la revolución!

And then there was Marx who –in between proletarian dreams of a classless society- will assert you that the aesthetic sensibility springs from the human process of affirmation.

Before I lose you let’s take a moment to discuss Ernst Fischer and his theory that art is humanity’s attempt to control the world.

Who did you call a control freak, you punk?

In any case and philosophical thesis, we are what we perceive and that’s why aesthetics and matters of taste are so thoroughly dominant in our lives. So it’s no wonder why so many people these days aspire to improve their artistic vision and seek education in taste.

Here’s how to improve your aesthetic vision from a minimalist’s utilitarianistic point of view.

Understand the value of aesthetics.

We are sensuous beings therefore our surroundings have a great impact on how we feel. The quality of our lives improves when we add beauteous things around us and it does not have to be necessarily materialistic. Maybe it’s the lack of things that will make you happier. For me it’s less but better. Quality over quantity. Once you realize the importance of it, the concept will automatically climb higher on you priority list and that’s the first step you need to take.

Expose yourself.

To sources of inspiration. Books, magazines, films, exhibitions, travel. The more the better. It works differently for different kinds of people so don’t look for recommendations. Just head towards what you are drawn to even if you can’t identify the reason why at the moment. It’s instinctive and very safe to follow.

Pick a theme.

At some point you will –if you haven’t already, be able to identify your niche. The vision and voice that seems right for you. Every time you find something visually pleasing, take notes. Revisit your notes and see the pattern. We always, always think in patterns. For me it’s simplistic clean lines, negative space, textures amplified by the lack of color.

  What’s yours?

THE TOOL THAT WILL HELP:

Vision Boards

Vision boards are the perfect tool to help you achieve step two: Identify the pattern that you find satisfying. Whether it’s a cork board or Pinterest, collect images of the things that inspire you. The ideation phase is a necessity as you translate your personality into visual cues.  Create your personal coffee-table book. Steal ideas, you rebel!

Because then you will add your personal touch and change them forever.

Which leads us to the next point:

Develop unique perspective.

Getting inspired is cool. But the ultimate bliss is when the epiphany strikes and you reinvent what is granted. So don’t stop until you get there. Whatever is the industry you are engaging with, take a classic and turn it upside down. See what happens.

THE TOOL THAT WILL HELP:

Trial and Error

Try. Review. Discard/Keep/Adjust.

Be detail oriented but look at the bigger picture.

 It’s the details that make all the difference. But you can’t forget about the big picture as well. A great example here is interior design.  There are so many beautiful decorative items to buy for your home. You focus on the details. Check all the boxes. Bring it home. Only to realize it does not go with the rest of your stuff. It’s a fine balance you have to find.

Utilitarian needs.

Let me go back to Kant and argue about work being strictly pragmatic and art being free and creative. I refuse to compromise. We can have both and micro-escape that mindset which in theory makes perfect sense but rules are made to be broken. Useful objects can be beautiful objects and beautiful objects can be useful too.

To me that’s an important one. I can’t see beauty when it lacks purpose. Point being maybe if you can combine both you’ll end up being more content.

Step out of the Industry.

Also a very important one. Allow me to elaborate. When you are looking to enhance your aesthetics in a specific area, try going to a different industry for inspiration. Say, you need to understand fashion. Try looking at architecture for inspiration. Are you looking to improve your photography skills? Look into your favorite films and see what makes them so special to you.

Accept ephemerality.

Nothing lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change. As we grow, our needs and taste grows with us. So be open to change and accept the fact that your 2018 vision board might be completely different than your 2025 vision board, and that is fine. Don’t stay attached to an aesthetic you are no longer happy with just because you once fell in love with it. Move forward.

Bring all those elements together and never stop searching. Be mindful of the things around you, size, scale, proportion, use all your senses and acclimate yourself to objects, take up aesthetic challenges and study. The whole world is a lesson.

Until the next one,

Chelf.

32 thoughts on “CULTIVATING AESTHETICS

  1. I have always felt absolutely lost when it comes to defining my own aesthetic preferences and perspective. Really, I think most of the confusion stems from when I try identify specifics. Thank you for the reminder to rely on instinct rather than thought. Can’t wait to see how a vision board helps to develop my visual grounding.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Instinct is 99% of the times the perfect clue to take you to the right path! Follow along 🙂 Good to see you on the Chelfdom Lois <3

  2. I love the way you’ve guided this exploratory journey. I’m not a naturally artistic individual and had to really delve deep to find the proper home decor aesthetic. I often got it wrong but I think I’ve finally landed on just the look that I love!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Yay! Congrats! Send us pics we’d all love to take a look!

  3. I love how you have this all set up for us. I am not very artsy, but this guide definitely helps bring out a creative side in me! Thanks

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Always happy to help Lisa! You made my day with your lovely comment!

  4. These are such great tips for cultivating fresh aesthetics which can be very helpful for branding. I like the idea of vision boards and I also think Pinterest is a good place to start too.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Yes! When it comes to branding I especially think that stepping outside the industry is very important!

  5. I’m terrible at getting what aesthetics are, I normally just pick what I think looks nice. I love vision boards though, I have plenty of those on Pinterest 🙂

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      You can’t be terrible at aesthetics 🙂 Maybe the term is confusing because we all use it differently to describe a lot of different thigns and concepts (see tumblr) but it’s basically what you like and what not, so I bet you are pretty awesome at it 😉

  6. Marjie Mare says:

    I have learned to appreciate anything related to art which talks to my soul. Thanks so much for your beautiful post.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Thank you for the kind words Marjie! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post.

  7. I like making vision boards online when I am working on something new. It really helps to visualize a project before diving in completely.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Me too! It’s a great motivational action!

  8. Christa says:

    I think that aesthetics are such an important part of who we are and how we operate. I find that my aesthetics can slowly change over time depending on lifestyle and what I’m exposed to. Vision boards are such a great way to organize those things which are difficult to name. I find they are incredibly beneficial. Love this post!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Hey Christa! Thank you for stopping by. Ephimerality yes! We change as we grow and same goes for our taste and needs!

  9. Neely says:

    I don’t know a ton about aesthetics but I loved this. I need to think about my personal aesthetic.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Hey Neely. Noone really knows a lot about aestehtics. It’s just a matter of personal preference and the way we perceive the world 🙂

  10. Aesthetics are so important. They can be tied in with your image so you need to make sure you are putting a lot into it. It took me forever to find my aesthetic and now that I have I have found it is so important to stick to

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      I agree 100%. It’s a huge part of who we are and in a way defines us.

  11. I love the last piece of art! Exposure is the hardest step for me, I am so afraid of critique but I need to step out of my comfort zone, find others that challenge my art.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      That’s where all the magic happens Angela 😉

  12. The artwork here is so amazing. I wish I was that creative. Love and agree with all your tips here.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  13. Szebastian Onne #INSPIRE says:

    While I get exactly where this article is going, I have to say I still struggle to find the calm in establishing my aesthetics journey. I will read this a few times and might research a bit more. I kind of need to connect more on this level.

  14. Such a beautiful lesson for any of us learning about aesthetics. An really important lesson for anything from branding to even home decor. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. I’m an interior designer! So aesthetics are my jam! This was such a great and thorough post and I’m sure that it will help a lot of people better understand their personal preferences.

  16. I’m so glad I had to take Art History 101 before graduating college lol. I thoroughly enjoyed this class actually even though my major was Chemical Engineering and basically aesthetics were easily thrown out the window with most projects! I can see the minimalistic nature in negative space and really loved how well you described aesthetics as a personal pattern because I couldn’t agree with you more!

  17. Kim says:

    This is such a lovely guide to help get in the artistic mode! I adore all of these art pieces!

  18. Elyssa says:

    The take that aesthetics come from the need for human affirmation is so interesting. I love what you say about understanding and appreciating the value of aesthetics and art, and how we can expose ourselves to different forms of art. My belief is that we can find art everywhere!

  19. I simply devoured your post, and just kept nodding and smiling through it. I really resonated with your ideas, and the images you used are beautiful and inspiring.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr says:

      Thank you so much dear! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! <3

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