What the Eye Sees and the Heart Feels

Hearts feel and eyes see.  Like it or not, that’s the way we humans work.  Satisfying these two key elements – feeling and sight – are what all dedicated professionals pursue when designing monument art, and if they are not, then they should be looking for another line of work.

So if hearts feel and eyes see, then how is a designer of a timeless monument or memorial supposed to satisfy everyone?  After all, women most definitely are from planet Venus while men are most definitely from planet Mars, or some other planet in a far off galaxy…  And added to that gender duality is the mix that inevitably winds up on any committee assigned to review and commission a monument project.  Knowing that no two humans are the same, how then can we hope to appeal to everyone’s “heart and eyes”?

Well, perhaps that’s the wrong question.  Just because everyone feels and sees differently does not mean that a design must satisfy all those hearts and eyes in exactly the same manner.  As I see it, it is this unique verity in all of us that brings the human experience together on some sort of ethereal plane while at the same time respecting everyone’s individuality.

So with that as my foundation of belief – that is, a shared human experience via individual perspectives – I will attempt to make my case.  And my case is simply that monument art, the very best in monument art, can be different things to different people.  And that the very best always addresses both what the eye sees and what the heart feels.

Monument Art at San Leandro honors the fallen.

What the Eye Sees.

We have all heard these comments from people as they view various pieces of art; “what is that supposed to be”, “I don’t get it”, “it looks like a tree, sort of”, and my favorite “that costs how much!!??”.  Monument art is different, or at least the best in monument art should be.  The challenge is to be creative while at the same time providing enough grounding reference points so that most viewers ‘get it’.  The viewer must first ‘get it’ through the prism of their sight.  The more advanced and intriguing of designs will draw the viewer in, will engage them visually while challenging them to think about what they are seeing.  If a design does this, it is on the way to becoming a timeless piece of monument art.

What the Heart Feels.

The heart, ah yes, the heart.  That most fickle of all human organs.  Needed to sustain life one beat at a time.  Complex yet functional in purpose.  When we talk about the heart symbolically we talk about the soul, our essence.  Dependable as an organ yet when we talk about the symbol it is elusive in the feelings it can evoke in all of us.  Wise men say, trust in your heart before you trust in your mind.  And yet others say, do what feels good and pay no attention to the logic of the mind.

And all of this from an organ no larger than a softball, yet it sustains the very essence of life, day after day.  So whatever prominence you give to your heart, the bottom line is that the heart produces and evokes ‘feelings’ in all of us.  Monument art, the good stuff that is, will always draw from us feelings of various kinds and degrees of intensity.

It is the heart that will cause tears to well up in the toughest of soldiers when he is viewing a monument that honors true heroes.  It is also the heart that causes us to give pause while viewing good monument art, and that pausing can produce powerful feelings of compassion, of understanding, of respect, of renewed commitment.

So in the end, this is how I see monument art.  The really good stuff will cause our eyes to see and our hearts to feel.  The really bad stuff evokes no more than a passing glance and certainly no heartfelt feelings.

That’s my case for monument art.  May we see much more of the good stuff in years to come and less and less of the bad stuff.  Your eyes and heart will be the judge…

Onward & Upward…

One Response to “What the Eye Sees and the Heart Feels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *