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How does the artist see? His secret. The artist’s eye.

Article and photos by Angeles NIeto

Is it true that the artist’s eye exists? Does a maker see different? And if so, how does he see and why? Can you learn to watch like him?

I was in Curacao with a girlfriend who is a journalist. She asked me if it was easy for me to understand the billboards, “the language here looks like Spanish,” she said. I was surprised, “I don’t know, I didn’t notice it,” I replied, “I think I have not read any billboard so far.”I knew which pictures or drawings were on it, colors, shapes, even the letters used, but read, no, I didn’t read them. I felt awkward, I admit, but now I understand why.

“If the ground is covered with snow in which the sun reflects … if you ask someone what color he sees, he will tell you white, pure white, whiter than the sunlight, a little gray in the shadow. Artists will tell you that the shadows are not gray, but a light blue and snow in sunlight is a rich yellow.” Charles S. Peirce

We would say we see everything through our eyes, but it is much more correct to say that everything is seen by the brain. Most of the vision process takes place in the brain, the eyes only stimulate the recipients of this light. This is part of the first phase of visual perception, the information goes on to the association cortex and spread to other parts of the brain. In many cases, this accomplishes the limbic system that provides the emotional impact.

Your perception determines what you think. That is, the brain determines what you see, what you receive, what you save.


Article and photos by Angeles NIeto


Know to see. How do we see?

Knowing how you see is the ability to observe, the ability to interpret information, to understand what’s happening around you. The perception only selects the information that you have been interested in. The perception is the process of recognizing and interpreting sensory stimuli.

A person receives messages from over 250 million visual cells, far too many data, so select your brain from it. This choice will only emerge, which drew the attention of the brain. This is observation.

In daily life, the incentives rise together, never isolated. In the perception of everyday influences external incentives, but also a number of subjective factors. Each individual is determined by his values, his personal history, his memories, his interests, learning ability, motivation and even the socio-economic-cultural context. When we see something, we don’t only see this but make associations with our feelings that depend on our personal experiences. For example: “I like the smell of coconut because it reminds me of summer, holiday, beach”.

Shoes will be viewed in different ways by a shoemaker, by an electrician, designer, athlete, seller, buyer or artist. Interests are very different.


Article and photos by Angeles NIeto


How does an artist / maker, a designer look and why?

The artist / maker, the designer, has his own way of seeing things. Their interests and motivations are linked to their creativity.

1.- The artist is curious, open to what happens

For the artist it is necessary to be open to sensory experiences and the ability to generate curiosity. He needs information to get inspiration, for the concept of a work, idea or creation. Looking beyond the everyday or familiar. He wondered what he sees, studies longer time, observes with more attention. He knows the moment to capture and then uses it as a source of inspiration.

2.- Asks constantly questions

The only way to start the creative process is through questions. The maker is constantly looking for it. Interestingly, the issues are without answers because they force us to think. You have to investigate everything, even with certainties. The ideas and own conclusions give the work an individual and unique character.

3.- Experiment, dare to come out of the conventional

The artist regards life as a laboratory. The maker expresses his own reactions to what the world indicates, and does that with his own style and technique. Based on the vision, style and technique, the creator has the foundation to build a whole career. He experiments with his knowledge and dares to look beyond the conventional.

4.- His point of view

The position of the artist / maker is his signature. Therefore, the deepening of knowledge is important. Having his own perception, particular and different, makes his work interesting. Therein comes his thoughts, opinions, ideas about the world around him..

5.- Has something to tell

It’s essential to have something to say, his own point of view from which the artist / maker speaks. Once you’ve discovered this, it’s easier to follow the creative path, promoting your own workflow.

The artistry is not a profession, it is a way of being and life.

The eye of the artist / maker / designer is this person’s mind, his way of thinking. Sensitivity in the perception, the choice of what you see and thoughts around the observation of the world make that eye change into a specialized eye, an artist’s eye.

What do you think? Do you agree with these thoughts?







Article and images by Ángeles Nieto




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  • Reply
    August 16, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Most helpful insight! I have been teaching art for 20 years… I have so been lost in seeing through my art teacher eyes… I am looking for my own ARTIST EYE.

  • Reply
    Angeles Nieto
    November 6, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Thank you very much for your compliment!

  • Reply
    Lojan Concepcion
    August 21, 2020 at 3:10 am

    Thank you for sharing..it helps me a lot on how to discuss it to my students. God bless you more.

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