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Art is a Subjective Experience

Ok, let me see if I can articulate this…

The impact a particular piece of art has on us is inextricably tied to the time in our lives when we were first moved by it. How we were feeling at the moment, our emotional state (probably the most important), the weather, our age, our understanding of of the culture in which the artist created, whether or not we were in a relationship, where we were when we experienced it, the questions we were asking ourselves about about life at the time.

So even if we want to turn our friends onto it, hoping they’ll love it as much as we do, they can never experience it quite the same way.

One of the interesting things about this phenomenon is that even a large scale “event” like a movie release or an anticipated record or book by a major artist will be experienced completely differently by any two people.

This is why we can feel so personally connected to a particular artifact, even one meant for mass consumption – and wonder why someone else who shares our sensibilities doesn’t get it.

It’s also what allows these things to become seminal parts of our mythology – they both influence and become inseparable from the stories we tell ourselves about our lives.