Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writing an Artist's Statement

Sunset Oak was accepted for the Arti Gras show! 
I recently learned that I must write an Artist's Statement.

It had been on my to-do list for a long time, but suddenly when my paper sculpture Sunset Oak was accepted into the Leawood Foundation's Arti Gras Juried Show, it was required!

The first thing I had to do, to seriously write an Artist's Statement, was get over some "attitude."

Whenever an Artist's Statement is offered at a show or on a website, I nearly always read it--or try to. Unfortunately, all too often I wade in and struggle until I start drowning in amorphous polysyllabics about the sources of the artist's vision, or his/her philosophy and/or aesthetic approach.

That didn't seem a very attractive or helpful thing to emulate. As I often do, when seeking guidance on the professional side of being a fine artist, I turned to a handy book by local gallery owner Paul Dorrell (coincidentally, he also was the highly tasteful juror who gave the nod to my artwork!).

A handy resource!
Living the Artist's Life, Dorrell's book, addresses Artist's Statements on pp. 60-61. From reading it, I am guessing that Mr. Dorrell has waded through more than his share of amorphous polysyllabics, too, and is even less a fan of them than I am.

Keep it short, he advised: "keep it to one page, and don't over-explain the subtleties of your work. . . Factual biographical information is always more important than fluff."

I certainly could get behind that! So I gave it a shot, then cut the first draft by two-thirds, futzed and polished, and ended up with the Artist's Statement reproduced on one of the secondary pages of this blog (see the tabs at the top). I'll let you decide if I've written a good one (advice is welcome).

And meanwhile, if you're in Kansas City the weekend of February 24-26, please come by and see the Arti Gras Show in the heart of the Leawood Arts District, Leawood Community Center, City Hall, 4800 Town Center Drive, Leawood, KS 66211

Since the Gala on Friday, Feb. 24 is a fundraiser for a good cause, please also check out the Arti Gras Gala page and consider making a reservation.

IMAGE CREDITS: The photo of Sunset Oak is by me, and may be used in a limited manner under a Creative Commons license, as long as they give me credit and do not alter the image. The cover photo for Living the Artist's Life is courtesy of Rainy Day Books. I hope you'll recognize the Arti Gras logo from the City of Leawood website