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Principles of Art and Relationships

March 19, 2012

It is not a novel concept that art and sex have much to talk about. Much of art conveys and provokes desire. Art and relationships have a much more subtle connection. They have one major factor in common- they are both created. Bad art is sloppily and thoughtlessly thrown together. Good art takes into consideration the principles of design to present a cohesive image and message. Many of these principles of design easily apply to the creation of relationships.

Crazy Horse Cabaret

Relationships must be thoughtfully created. We must each envision the relationship we would like to be a part of and work to prosper the individual elements that form that relationship. In thinking about the sort of relationship I want to create, I began to think about how I create other things.

The other half of my life, outside of The Sexual Operator, is one of art. I design and create leather goods. When I started studying art in college I learned the Principles of Design- seven elements to consider in designing a work of art: unity, dominance, harmony, contrast, repetition, gradation, and balance. While some of my work has a stronger focus on one principle, all are taken into consideration before the piece is done.

Relationships can learn something from the world of art. Relationships also need unity, dominance, harmony, contrast, repetition, gradation and balance.

The two (or more) people involved need to feel a deep sense of unity, of moving in the same direction, of cohesiveness.  feeling “like a team” is important.  Without unity, it may be more challenging to coexist much less create a long lasting fulfilling connection.

Dominance is currently a scarey word for many. Do not read dominant as oppressor but as leader. A partner may be better suited as a leader in one area than another. Or a couple may take turns being the leader (both in bed and in more mundane daily life).  One may be leader in starting conversations while the other may be the leader in directing the conversation. It is important to know your strength and then the play with the role of the dominant.

Harmony in art is use of similar or complimentary shapes, colors or ideas to create a visually appealing image. Harmony in relationships is the existence of similar worldviews, similar goals, and complimentary interests.

Contrast may be “opposites attract” or it may be small differences that make another person unique and interesting. You’ve overheard perhaps someone claim “I could never go out with Billy-it would be like dating myself. We are just too similar!” Contrast keeps the relationship engaging.

Repetition. It sounds boring. But routine offers security and a continued sense of connection. It may take the form of going to the local bar for happy hour every Tuesday. That repetition may mean knowing that she will take care of the power bill. It may mean knowing that he will always smile at that joke.

Gradation is a natural part of long term relationships. It starts out hot and steamy. Then due to stress, lack of novelty, the way our bodies are wired, or any other number of reasons, the intense passion fades slowly. This does not mean it wont pick back up. It does not mean you can encourage that passion. But the edd and flow or gradation of passion, love, and contentedness are common.


The final principle, balance, is an easy one to understand. We need balance in our individual lives as much as we do in relationships. As much as we would love to spend all weekend naked in bed, we must balance responsibilities and basic human needs like food and urination along with our crazy libidos. We must balance what we talk about over dinner, who with socialize with, and our contrasting interests. We must learn to balance all of the other principles.

 Tell me your thoughts, dear reader.  Do you see connections between art and your relationships?  Are they similar to the ones I mentioned?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 19, 2012 3:24 pm

    LOL..i like your post. I wrote about a Gaultier exhibit that I think you may like to read since there is a lot of art & pleasure involved…

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