Monday, March 17, 2014

The Friday Rorschach: Happy Heart On A Stick

Heart On A Stick, 2014, tempera paint on paper

What it is: This is one of my son's creations. It is a painting of a heart with an arrow going through it. The dots on the bottom of the page are drops of blood. He said the brown blot at the top of the painting is more blood, as is the red blot at the bottom (more about that bottom blot in a minute).

He swore this painting was not inspired by the famous (to our family) sculpture outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. If you haven't seen it in person, I highly recommend it. During the day, it rotates on a pole. At night, it continues to rotate, but it also lights up.

The heart sculpture outside of the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver

This sculpture has led my family to have deep conversations about the following topics:

1. Classic tattoos
2. Love
3. Heartbreak
4. Violence
5. The nature of art
6. How things rotate

As I mentioned above, my son said he was not thinking about the sculpture when he painted his heart. As a psychologist, I have my suspicions--I think it was somewhere in his unconscious when he was painting.

What you thought it was: This painting has a strong form demand. In Rorschach terms, that means when you look at it, you can discern what it is supposed to be without putting too much mental effort into it. I was wondering if the strong form of the heart would limit your responses. As suspected, most of you saw it for what it was:

A number of you added Valentine's Day to the mix, stretching the limits of the heart form and adding context to your responses:

Most of you thought it had positive emotions associated with it (most likely because of the smiley face):

At least one of you saw negativity, however:

And then there was the poop (this was a surprise to me):

Most people who used the brown color tended to interpret it as chocolate:

This was the first week where someone rotated the picture before responding. In the Rorschach, it is perfectly acceptable to rotate the inkblot and see different images depending on your vantage point. It is harder to rotate a Twitter image since you are not physically holding it, though:

I don't see a sunset. Do you?

Every week, at least one person sees a superhero:

As I am the only person on the planet who has not seen Avatar, I needed to look this one up:

I also needed to look up Tacitus:

And my personal favorite for the week (I was singing Bon Jovi all weekend):

detail of the lower, left-center "house"
What you might have missed: 

The house. There is very clearly a house at the bottom of the painting, although no one noticed it. This is possibly due to the fact that there is a huge heart crushing the house under its weight.

One last thought: One person actually saw a tattoo in the painting:

Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.

Friday Rorschach is a fun project designed to engage readers' creativity. To participate, follow Max on twitter. He posts the drawing every Friday morning around 10am ET/8am MT. There are no wrong answers to the Friday Rorschach.


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