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Key Factors Influencing Aesthetic Preference – Psychology Today

There are many temptations to organize our life around the experience of earlier trauma. But that may short-change the future—which starts by our envisioning something better.
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Posted June 1, 2022 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
Aesthetics are about experiencing things as beautiful. Aesthetic experiences include artworks, but also the experience of a breathtaking landscape, the autumn leaves in the park, listening to your favorite music, wardrobe choices, home decoration, and so on. Our daily aesthetic choices reveal preferences (Nanay, 2020). What factors shape individual differences in aesthetic preferences? Winner (2019) tackled this question in her book How Art Works.
1. Pleasure. Aesthetics are about pleasure. Aesthetic pleasure differs from physical pleasures (drinks, pornography, or games). We tire less quickly of artworks in one sitting than of most of the pleasures we physically consume. For example, walking along the beach is quite enjoyable and it can go on for a long time. In contrast, sex, or calories, particularly unhealthy ones, leave you mostly empty afterward. Works of art that move us most activate the area of the brain called the default mode network. And they motivate us to reflect on ourselves—to look inward and think about ourselves.
2. Doing for its own sake. Aesthetic experiences can arise from the appreciation of artworks (poetry, music, painting, etc.) or natural objects like sunsets or landscapes. They are typically sought and savored for their own sake. The focus is on the pleasure that arises from the act of doing something rather than achieving some ultimate personal goal. For example, we care about the way things look when we set a table for guests, when we arrange our living room furniture, or pick out our clothes.
3. Aesthetic judgments. «Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it,» according to Confucius. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. When we have aesthetic disagreements, we have disagreements about aesthetic judgments. For example, I may like Miles Davis and you may like Britney Spears. Observing the stormy sky with strong lightning may be extremely fascinating. However, farmers are not aesthetically captivated at all by a storm. Their judgments would be mostly pragmatic: A storm is a dangerous event that can destroy their crops. How we interpret a situation affects how we respond.
4. Personality. Openness to experience is shown to be the best predictor of aesthetic attitude (appreciating artworks) and participation in aesthetic activities. Individuals with this trait tend to be more intellectually curious which drives a greater taste for aesthetic experiences.
5. Familiarity. Familiarity plays a powerful role in shaping our aesthetic tastes. We like what we are used to. The mere exposure effect, a well-established idea in psychology, suggests that the more you are exposed to something (cereal ads, people, songs), the more you tend to like it. For example, the music we are exposed to in public places (coffee shops, shopping malls, etc.) leaves its mark on our preferences. One reason for this is that artworks take time to understand, and the ones we have seen more seem more understandable to us.
6. Context. Oscar Wilde said, “No object is so ugly that, under certain conditions of light and shade, or proximity to other things, it will not look beautiful.” Context can shift our preferences. An amusing illustration of this occurred when acclaimed Joshua Bell agreed to participate in an experiment conducted by the Washington Post. In the experiment, Bell, wearing jeans and a baseball cap, nonchalantly played his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin during rush hour in the subway. Most passersby barely noticed him and gave no indication of realizing that they were in the presence of an accomplished artist. However, when people see Joshua Bell dressed up in a concert hall, they highly appreciate his talent, even though he is playing the same instrument and the same music.
7. Identity. We take our aesthetic preferences to be a big part of who we are. Our taste in music, film, art, coffee, and dress represents one of the essential features of who we are. And changes in taste can be viewed as changes in identity, especially for young adults. This explains why we feel compelled to try to convince others of what is so important to us. An attack on an artist or a work of art we love feels like an attack on ourselves.
As consumers of art, our interactions with artworks can result in aesthetic pleasure. The aesthetic experience provides an escape from everyday practical experiences. The opportunity to escape from one’s reality contributes to mood improvement. As American Dancer Twyla Tharp remarked, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”
Bence Nanay (2020), Aesthetics: A Very Short Introduction; NY: Oxford University Press.
Winner E (2019), How artworks: A psychological exploration, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., is an associate professor emeritus of health economics of addiction at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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Psychology Today © 2022 Sussex Publishers, LLC
There are many temptations to organize our life around the experience of earlier trauma. But that may short-change the future—which starts by our envisioning something better.


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Tattoo Artist, Entrepreneur, and Oil Painter Kirby van Beek Makes a Mark in the Industry

Kirby van Beek, a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter, has emerged as a prominent figure in the world of tattooing, showcasing his expertise in black and grey realism. Known for his distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist, Kirby has established himself as a highly regarded artist, earning recognition both locally and internationally.

Kirby’s journey as a tattoo artist began at the age of 18 when he taught himself the art form while simultaneously pursuing his education in forensic science. During this time, he displayed unparalleled dedication, working at a morgue during the week and honing his tattooing skills during weekends and spare hours. Kirby’s passion for tattooing led him to work at various tattoo studios in the Netherlands, solidifying his experience and expertise in the field.

About Kirby van Beek:

Kirby van Beek is a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter based in [City]. Renowned for his expertise in black and grey realism, Kirby’s distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist have earned him a prominent position in the industry. With a passion for tattooing and oil painting, Kirby aspires to become a globally recognized artist, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art.

«The things I love most about tattooing is meeting different clients and getting to know them on a personal level during a long tattoo session,» says Kirby. «There is nothing more rewarding than tattooing individuals who appreciate my art so much that they choose to wear it on their skin for life.»

Specializing in realistic black and grey tattoos, portrait tattoos, and horror tattoos, Kirby’s work has garnered attention both nationally and internationally. His talents have been showcased at several tattoo conventions abroad, and his captivating designs have been featured in prominent tattoo magazines. Additionally, he has been recognized by esteemed publications such as LINDA magazine in the Netherlands and the local newspaper BN de Stem. Furthermore, Kirby’s exceptional skills led him to participate as a tattoo artist in the Dutch version of MTV’s Just Tattoo of Us.

Looking ahead, Kirby aspires to become a world-renowned tattoo artist and oil painter, with a particular focus on portrait tattoos and dark horror tattoos.

His ultimate goal is to reach clients and famous individuals around the globe, sharing his unique artistry and leaving an indelible mark on the industry. In the future, Kirby envisions opening an art show to showcase his diverse body of work.

To learn more about Kirby van Beek and explore his captivating portfolio, visit his official Instagram page (@kirbyvanbeek) or his website

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DJ Khenya Takes Center Stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Spreading Joy and Connection

The music of DJ Khenya pulsates with rhythm and emotion. A rich mélange of sun-kissed sounds that blend percussive beats with indie and deep house. The artist’s journey to Ibiza has laid the foundation for a musical expression that communicates joy and connectivity. Taking the reins at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Khenya’s vibrations will inspire dance floor dreamers to move and let go.

From the stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, DJ Khenya has shared experiences alongside some of the most influential names in the music industry. When asked about the impact of these experiences, the artist responded humbly: «The truth is I feel lucky. I have total admiration for them as they are a source of inspiration for me.»

The energy at Blue Marlin Ibiza is unlike any other, according to DJ Khenya. He describes the place as «a life experience,» synonymous with summer and with all the ingredients to feel in a state of bliss when you’re there. He thanks the team for being like a family to him and for everything they’ve done.

This summer, DJ Khenya will take his audience on a journey filled with unforgettable emotions. He comments, «My goal is to transmit uplifting and unforgettable sensations. My audience is what sets my heart on fire, and I want them to feel my desire to make them dance.»

The path that led DJ Khenya to become a DJ began in Havacia, Cuba, where he grew up in an environment where rhythm, dance, and poetry are like the air we breathe. With son and salsa running through his veins, his first experience at an electronic music party in the early 2000s marked a shift in his life. Khenya recalls hearing ‘The Underground’ by Celeda and says, «It was a different Cuba, and I loved it. I think from that moment, something changed inside me. A seed had been planted, and life would take me in that direction.»

Having traveled the world and now based in Ibiza, DJ Khenya reflects on how these experiences have shaped his identity as an artist. He comments, «Traveling the world is a privilege that every human being should have, especially an artist because when you have these experiences, you can understand different ways of life and the musicality of each place. Creativity is born from that knowledge, and I still have a lot to learn in that sense.»

This summer, DJ Khenya promises to take Blue Marlin Ibiza to new heights with his unique music and his desire to make everyone dance. The experience is guaranteed to be a celebration of life, joy, and connection through music.

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Oliver Rouz: Weaving Ink and Inspiration into a Legacy

Born on February 13th, 1988, Oliver Rouz’s path to success is one marked by determination, passion, and the pursuit of creative endeavors. From a young age, Oliver exhibited a profound love for various forms of creativity, which ultimately led him to become one of the country’s most celebrated tattoo artists.

During his school years, Oliver’s artistic talent set him apart. His favorite cartoon characters became his canvas as he tirelessly recreated them in his own style. However, drawing was merely a pastime during his teenage years, a source of pleasure until music took center stage in his life.

In 2005, Oliver formed the «Fairy Tale Jelissa Rose» band, a pivotal moment that expanded his horizons. Immersed in the music community, he developed a newfound fascination with tattoos and ink artistry, spurred by the band’s association with the tattoo culture.

A serendipitous encounter with Artem at the «Quick Silver» shop in Moscow in 2010 marked a turning point. Artem’s influence led Oliver to consider a life-altering decision. By 2012, Oliver, now ignited by a passion for tattoos, made a bold move to another city, all while nurturing his tattoo aspirations.

Artem’s transformation into a tattoo artist himself inspired Oliver further. As fate would have it, an opportunity arose in 2012 for them to collaborate and open their tattoo studio in Moscow. This venture required Oliver’s dedicated efforts, alongside his commitment to saving funds to fuel their creative endeavor.

Oliver’s tattooing prowess flourished within a year, prompting a return to his hometown to establish several home-like studios. Yet, he recognized that true growth beckoned him back to Moscow. Thus, in 2017, he joined Good Hands Tattoo, laying the foundation for his continued ascent.

Oliver’s indomitable spirit and devotion to his craft bore fruit, as evidenced by his stint at Black Point studio, born out of a collective dream. His trajectory exemplifies the power of dedication, leading him to become a recognized tattoo luminary within the nation.

Oliver’s journey, however, extends beyond tattooing. From his early affinity for music, highlighted by the formation of his punk rock band at 14, to his involvement in the music industry and flirtation with global recognition, his story embodies the resilience required to navigate creative industries.

A pivotal moment arrived in 2021 when Oliver, undeterred by previous setbacks, chose to channel his creative energy into designing game art. Leaving behind a stable job, he invested his savings of around $5,000 to embark on a transformative journey. Guided by Hexeth’s interview and tutorials, Oliver delved into the realm of game design.

Fueled by dedication and a newfound purpose, Oliver’s creative expression culminated in designing elements for popular games like CS:GO and RUST. Through unwavering commitment and rigorous self-education, he harnessed the potential of his artistic flair.

Today, Oliver Rouz’s name resonates as a testament to the potential of human determination. His path from a young artist with a penchant for creation to a revered tattoo and game artist serves as an inspiration to countless dreamers. Oliver’s legacy continues to evolve, as he pushes the boundaries of his craft and inspires others to chase their passions unrelentingly.

For more information and to view Oliver’s work, visit his Instagram profile: @oliverrouz.

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