Saturday, October 5, 2019

Artist Statement

It has been years since I wrote mine.

What Is an Artist’s Statement? A general introduction to your work, a body of work, or a specific project.
  1. It should open with the work’s basic ideas in an overview of two or three sentences or a short paragraph.
  2. The second paragraph should go into detail about how these issues or ideas are presented in the work.
  3. If writing a full-page statement, you can include some of the following points:
    • Why you have created the work and its history.
    • Your overall vision.
    • What you expect from your audience and how they will react.
    • How your current work relates to your previous work.
    • Where your work fits in with current contemporary art.
    • How your work fits in with the history of art practice.
    • How your work fits into a group exhibition, or a series of projects you have done.
    • Sources and inspiration for your images.
    • Artists you have been influenced by or how your work relates to other artists’ work. Other influences.
    • How this work fits into a series or longer body of work.
    • How a certain technique is important to the work.
    • Your philosophy of art making or of the work’s origin.
  4. The final paragraph should recapitulate the most important points in the statement.
What an Artist’s Statement is NOT:
  1. Pomposity, writing a statement about your role in the world.
  2. Grandiose and empty expressions and clichés about your work and views.
  3. Technical and full of jargon.
  4. Long dissertations or explanations.
  5. Discourses on the materials and techniques you have employed.
  6. Poems or prosy writing.
  7. Folksy anecdotes about some important event in your life.
  8. Nothing about your childhood or family unless it is very relevant to your work.
  9. Not a brag fest or a press release.
Why Write an Artist’s Statement?
  1. Writing an artist’s statement can be a good way to clarify your own ideas about your work.
  2. A gallery dealer, curator, docent, or the public can have access to your description of your work, in your own words. This can be good for a reviewer as well.
  3. Useful in writing a proposal for an exhibition or project.
  4. It is often required when applying for funding.
  5. It is often required when applying to graduate school.
  6. It can be a good idea to include an artist’s statement when your slides are requested for review or your work is included in the slide library of a college or university.
  7. Good to refer to when you are preparing a visiting artist lecture, or someone else is lecturing or writing about your work.
  8. Useful when you are applying for a teaching position.
  9. Good idea when a press release is being written.
  10. Useful when someone is writing about your work in a catalog or magazine.
  11. Useful when someone else is writing a bio for a program brochure.
  12. It is a good way to introduce your work to a buying public. Often the more a buyer knows about your work the more they become interested in what you do, and in purchasing a work.
Types of Artist’s Statements You Might Need.
  1. Full-Page Statement: This statement you will use most often; it speaks generally about your work, the methods you may have used, the history of your work, etc. It may also include specific examples of your current work or project.
  2. Short Statement: A shorter statement that includes the above in an abbreviated way, or is specific to the project at hand.
  3. Short Project Statement: A very short statement about the specific project you are presenting.
  4. Bio: Often a short description of your career as an artist and your major accomplishments.
How Should I Write It?
  1. This most often depends on the context where it will appear. Who is your reader? What assumptions can you make about their knowledge?
    • Emotional tone
    • Theoretical (but not over-the-top)
    • Academic (but not dry)
    • Analytic
    • Humorous
    • Antagonistic
    • Political
    • Professional
  2. Ask yourself “What are you trying to say in the work?” “What influences my work?” “How do my methods of working (techniques, style, formal decisions) support the content of my work?” “What are specific examples of this in my work” “Does this statement conjure up any images?”
  3. Use a word processor so that you can make changes and update it often. You should keep older copies so that you can refer to them if you should need to write or talk about your older work or if you have a retrospective.
  4. Refer to yourself in the first person, not as “the artist”.  Make it come from you. Make it singular, not general, and reflective of yourself and your work.
  5. Make it clear and direct, concise and to the point.
  6. It should not be longer than one page.
  7. Use no smaller than 10 – 12 point type. Some people have trouble reading very small type.
  8. Artist’s statements are usually single-spaced.
  9. Do not use fancy fonts or tricky formatting. The information should wow them, not the graphic design.
  1. Who is your audience? What level are you writing for?
  2. What will your statement be used for?
  3. What does your statement say about you as an artist and a professional?
  1. Be honest.
  2. Try to capture your own speaking voice.
  3. Avoid repetition of phrases and words. Look for sentences that say the same thing you said before, but in a different way. Choose the better of the two.
  4. Vary sentence structure and length. The length of a sentence should relate to the complexity of the idea.
  5. Organization of detail is important. Significant ideas should be at the end of each sentence for emphasis.
Where Should It Go?
  1. In a binder at the front of the gallery with your résumé, list of artworks, and past reviews or articles about your work.
  2. You may want to hang it on the wall, regular size, or enlarged as a didactic statement.
  3. Include it in a program for performance, screening, or panel.
  4. In the application package of the grant you are applying for.
  5. Give to anyone who you feel would benefit from the information.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Art: Another Sylvan Setting

If you remember a landscape called Shirley's Woods, this is a view from the glade looking back the opposite way. Now the sun is behind us. The entrance to this fairy tale place is up the incline, where you have to duck beneath the trunk leaning to our left. Switching the direction of the sun produces an entirely different feel; the emphasis in now on the jumbled branches and their shadows. Rather than attempt so much detail, we let our brush do all the work. Load it with two or three colors for that specific region, and you'll get not only the suggestion of detail, but some nice dry blends for soft edges.

This one is also 8x10 acrylic. Working from my own photo, it took about an hour. You don't have to just copy your photo. In this case, contrast was magnified to increase the three-dimensional feel. I made about 15 shots that day, but so far have only painted three. It's probably time to revisit that album and take another look with the old magic eye.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Writing Essentials

Strong or Weak Words?

Words thought as weak in writing.  I don’t always think they’re weak, but used at the right time in some cases.  One person’s style or preference isn’t the same. 



Very/ Really





Overuse of adverbs

I have never used some of these words or came across them much in literature.   I think we are all used to the word suddenly.  That particular word alerts the reader something significant is going to happen in the story.  What are some words you use instead of these?   In stead of being redundant with the word suddenly, I like to use  “all at once” or use of a transition word that gives the reader the alert to the scene.  

Again it all depends on how well the writer expresses this in their storytelling.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Anecdotes in Fiction

An anecdote is a short, amusing account that can be informative. These 'stories within a story' enrich a novel. The trick is working them into the narrative without interrupting the flow. A short anecdote can serve as a transition scene, one where the tension abates enough to digest what came before, and prepare for what comes next. It does double duty by developing character. This example has two men betting on a high stakes ball game.

Ed's team was leading at halftime, putting him in an expansive mood. Nor could he resist taunting the competitive Pete. He hoisted his beer. "Here's mud in your eye, bro."

Pete scowled. "Man, what does that even mean?"

"Let's find out that little thing." Ed magnanimously did the honors on his pad. "It's an English racing term. It seems my horse will kick mud in your Jockey's face all the way around the track!"

"Boogity." Pete turned up his soda, ignoring the toast.

This might reinforce Pete's sour mood, leading to consequences later on. But suppose it's Ed who's wigged out? In this example, the two are watching a police drama, where a cop has just used the term T.O.D.

"Unbelievable," Ed groused. "T.O.D. is the same three syllables as Time Of Death. It only saves time on the written page! Stoopid!" Pete didn't seem to care, even when the cops made fun of the "vic's" appearance. "Our vic? Wasn't the guy a human being? Real cops don't do that either!"

"Chill, homey."

The stage is set to propel Ed into the next scene, and we've learned something about both men. Anecdotes are readily found from personal experience or 'tall tales' you hear from friends. A few ideas:

Porch spiders: some actually make pets of them. And where do they go in winter?

Mole stakes: not the sonic kind, but sticks you plant along the property line to keep the critters from tunneling in.

Rodent traps: and the wide array of birds you get to see close up before you open the trap door.

Getting any ideas yet? Jot them in a handy notebook for inclusion wherever you want to lighten the mood.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Series In Art

Painters throughout history have made one or more alternate versions of certain works, notably the Impressionist Monet. Even musicians do so: the folksy take of Elvis' I Beg Of You is even better than the polished radio version. It isn't always a search for the best presentation; you also max out the mileage for a given inspiration. If it's good enough to paint, why not do it more than once?

This pair is based on the sixties Gothic soap Dark Shadows. The cliff only needed the addition of Collinwood, the haunted estate the show revolved around. Widow's Cliff got its name from a number of suicides we'd expect from such a place. The best known of these was Josette, when she learned her fiance Barnabas was a vampire. This of course created Josette's ghost, an obscure figure who influenced a number of future episodes. One of the best dramatic scenes was near the end of the series, where Josette appears to Barnabas and bids him farewell.

Dry blends are used throughout these pictures in keeping with the Impressionist feel. Sometimes it's hard to decide on a horizon color, such as on the right side. Orange or lavender? Well, orange would compete with the orange on the left side, but we still need some to extend across the sea. One solution is to paint in the orange, then overlay with a thin wash of lavender, letting some of the orange peek through (who says you can't have both).

These are 9x12 acrylics, titled Widow's Cliff Blue and Widow's Cliff Mauve. The latter has a more ominous, pre-storm feel. Check your inventory for works just begging for an evil twin or two.