We all know what to expect when we go to an art gallery. Hushed rooms, white walls and low lights; the sound of the polite murmur of us humans sharing opinion. Written text is small and subtle, giving snippets of information without disturbing the eye. And punctuating this serenity, unique pieces of art, carefully created and presented for our pleasure. But there are other art galleries with an altogether different atmosphere. Loud voices, louder music, bright lights, and large words. The art is everywhere - stacked up in quantity, like supermarket shelves. In fact, like supermarkets themselves.
When we are there, we rarely think much beyond the food we need to buy. But look past the hard sell and the production line surroundings and take a moment to do something different. Stop amongst the pickles, pause at the soups, or take a moment at the cereals and take a closer look. Suddenly there’s a new world of imagination to behold - the art of packaging is creative and intriguing.
In a conventional art gallery, each artwork is uniquely created, drawing you in and sparking your emotions to tell you a story or take you on a journey. The artist works hard to convey their feelings to the viewer. This gallery is perhaps no different - with each bottle, tin, and box trying to convey many of the same sensations, albeit with different objectives.
Look at them as a piece of art. The materials are pleasing and familiar, their shape sculpted in a multitude of satisfying forms. The typefaces are enticing and exotic, suggestive of another time or place. The drawings, paintings, and photographs take you further still – somewhere desirable or captivating. And an endless palette of colors and shades unite everything into a single work of art.
This is not to say supermarkets are somehow superseding the art gallery, or packaging designers replacing the artist. Still, there’s no harm in enjoying all forms of artistic expression, even when we discover it in unlikely places. So next time you are grocery shopping, assume you’re in an art gallery and enjoy what you see for its own sake. Andy Warhol did.