Personal Knowledge in the Arts often relies on interpretation.
The Arts is based on the creator and the observer. The art created will be true to the artist as it is a personal experience that no one else would go through, however, the concept of it can be expressed in many ways for other, observers to interpret them, and that interpretation can be true to themselves. The ‘truth’ in the arts is personal knowledge as an observer usually relates to a piece of art when they believe it is true, however it might not be what the artist wanted to convey. An example of this is Georgia O’Keeffe, who had painted flowers in the 20s and she had meant for them to only be flowers, however, many had thought that the flowers represent a female’s genitalia (Ellis-Petersen, 2016). O’Keeffe had resisted this claim however it gained popularity once again in the 70s, women used her work as a statement of women empowerment. They interpreted it one way and it inspired them, it meant something to them and it was the truth to them even if it isn’t the truth for the artist who created it (Ellis-Petersen, 2016).
A counterclaim is that the artist creates the art for people to interpret a certain way, that both the creator and the observer agree with the ‘truth’. An example of this is Kevin Carter’s powerful photography of a little girl dying while a vulture watches and waits for its prey. Carter is said to feeling the need to photograph shocking images to share into the world (Neal, 2014). Some people saw what he was trying to convey and received backlash for it. Carter perhaps found it shocking, so he took a photo of it to share to others and the people who saw this image also interpreted the photo as shocking. But the photographer and the audience reacted to this image differently, even though they had the same truth behind them. His reaction was to share it however the audience’s reaction was to retaliate, wondering if he could have saved the girl (Neal, 2014). This understanding of the photo however becomes shared knowledge as we all feel the same thing.
The arts can be be based on personal experiences or shared knowledge. There is always a creator and an observer and their interpretation does not always have to match for it to be the ‘truth’. It would be the truth to the individual.
Georgia O’Keeffe – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/mar/01/georgia-okeeffe-show-at-tate-modern-to-challenge-outdated-views-of-artist
Kevin Carter – https://allthatsinteresting.com/kevin-carter