I was at Ethan’s (9) elementary school open house.  He was showing me all of his sculptures, paintings, poems, stories and other materials.  He made this one piece of artwork using colored tracing paper.  Of course, there were 20 pieces like this next to it, but Ethan’s stopped me in my tracks.

Unlike the others, his had excellent composition, balance, color, movement and most importantly taste.  It was actually legitimate artwork.  It was a simple piece, but all of the details were right.

One might be a great chef, musician, interior designer, hairdresser or other kind of artist without any training.  You could just naturally have taste.  Learning the terms and official doctrines is a great thing to do and will help an artist evolve, but doesn’t change the fundamentals.

What is taste?  Where does it come from?  Why do some people have it and others do not?  If you have taste in food, does that translate to other disciplines?  Being able to create and being able to recognize great things is different as well.  One might have taste in food and not be a chef; such as a food critic.

I want to encourage my kids to think about how things are put together and why one is better than another on objective as well as subjective levels.  Why do we remember Mozart and not Salieri?  Why do people pay so much for a Van Gogh but not as much for a Winslow Homer?  Something is hard wired in our brains to like certain things.  Beauty isn’t all subjective.  Having taste has something to do with being able to see and feel these wirings.

Maybe I am not uncovering some innate truth here, but looking at that piece by Ethan last night, I felt proud that my boy had some taste.

4 replies on “Taste”

Does he have taste of talent? Does he realize why it is better and did he create it with that in mind. Especially in art, someone could have great taste, but doesn’t have the talent or understanding to create it themselves. Or do our taste just conform with with everyone else. I think the move The Departed was one of the worst pieces of junk I ever saw, does that mean I have bad taste? Did Ethan learn composition from your own tastes and thus it appeals to you?

Is this art? Does this artist have good taste?

Now what if I told you it is being displayed at the MOMA, does that change how you think about it?

I don’t think I have good taste. I know what I like, but there is probably very little connection between that and the actual value or skill it takes to create something.

I think dandelions are absolutely beautiful.

Why do flowers look, smell and feel the way they do? Because there is something hard wired in bees and people that are attracted to it and that helps the flowers reproduce.

Looking, tasting, feeling, smelling, sounding great is one of the most important aspects about our world. That guy has no taste and being in a museum doesn’t change that.

Whatya think?