Does My Art Need Deep Meaning?

Many artists wonder whether their art has to have “deep meaning” to be valid. Does art have to have a meaningful message in order to be art, or can art be a purely visual experience for the artist and viewer?

Who determines what art needs to have, the artist, the audience, both? Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Cat Huang and Lauryn Welch.

43 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • Ask yourself WHY you are making the images in your artwork.
  • Who is your audience for your artwork, who are you making it for?
  • What context is your art seen in?
  • Meaning can emerge while you are in the process of creating artwork.
  • Meaning is not always planned in advance, it can be spontaneous.
  • You will interpret your artwork differently than other people.
  • Is creating a beautiful artwork “enough” to be valid?
  • Forcing meaning into your work to be taken seriously.
  • When people impose meaning onto your artwork that you didn’t intend.
  • Why does art have to be deep to be taken seriously?

Prof Lieu’s Tips

I love when our ideas come back to us, it’s (for me at least) validation that even when we think we are straying very far from who we think we are, we can’t help but be ourselves anyway?

I love experimenting with my ideas, but I do know that for some people that experimentation can make them feel fragmented. I think any time you can see visible connections from your older work to what you’re doing currently is really exciting.