Some of the best art is art created not on purpose. That is, art by-mistake.
I don’t have anything against regular, on-purpose art. I am just naturally drawn to happenstance, perhaps because I cannot tune-out distractions.
I am easily arrested by bright sights and sounds and patterns, and can be transfixed by ordinary clouds, or a jumble of construction equipment, arranged just-so, on a downtown worksite. I am often astonished, by the unending, green dimensions that bloom when two mirrors are caught facing each other. And there is something even weirdly enchanting about the remnant traces of graffiti removal.
I see myself acting like this, and I am embarrassed. To be so easily mesmerized by simple patterns and shadows. It would indicate I am either precious, or worse, dimwitted. Also, the argument could be made, what I’m referring to is not actually art—that art is in the eye of the beholder, and things are just things, until someone with an overactive imagination interprets them as something beyond common distractions. That may be true. But also, that is what makes mistake art so unique.
Because mistake art just is, or, just occurs, its commonness is enormously tantalizing—it feels unassuming and unpretentious. Accessible.
Beautiful, moving art is happening all around us.
When mistake art is revealed to us, it can be an intimate discovery. We have the opportunity to be its beholder and participant, a witness to the aesthetic, untethered from its context. And, if we’re lucky enough to snap a picture, maybe we can be its chaperone.