My artist statement in the making

This week I took another major step forward in creating and revising my artist statement, with the help of other artists at Part 2 of the Artistic Cartel Meetup sponsored by the Artful Phoenix in North Attleboro, Mass.

Recently, it became even more clear how important a good artist statement is. I applied to get into a juried show and was rejected. When I got the general generic email about why my artwork didn’t make it, I emailed back asking for specifics. The exhibit’s coordinator told me that in addition to looking at the quality of the work and how well all the entries come together as a cohesive exhibit, jurors rely on the artist statement to truly comprehend what an artist is doing. The statement can make or break you when it comes to getting into a show, the person said.

Wow. Scary, huh?

I don’t know whether I’m done with my statement, but at least I feel that it is in better shape than the one I had before and better than the one I sent with my entry form for the show that rejected my work.

My struggle has been trying to nail down what I’m doing as an artist. If I had my choice I would just say something like–“I do what I want, when I want, depending on how I feel that day—kind of like a chef walking into a market, seeing what looks good that day and then deciding what she will cook.” But I don’t think that would do. So, here is what I have now as a statement. I would love your thoughts and feedback. What do you think?

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am driven by an unrelenting curiosity and a desire to play with a variety of mark-making materials and concepts revolving around the spirit of women. These givers of life are beautiful, powerful and mysterious beings, who deserve to be honored and explored in every medium possible.

As I create art, I leave open my journey, allowing myself to receive what comes to head, heart and hand. My aim is to immerse myself in the process of creating, to explore the colors, subjects and materials that most excite me in the moment. Opening myself often leads me to create acrylic-based mixed media collage pieces that showcase women.

The openness of being present also leads me to create artwork that reflects my fascination with the rejuvenative nature of circles as well as the unspoken language of patterns—from the Kente cloth of my unknown African ancestors to the patchwork quilts created by my Alabama grandmother.

Most of my pieces are imbued with a texture that invites viewers to come closer to see the work and possibly touch it, thus creating a connection between viewers and me.

(Above is a drawing from my sketchbook, Sharpie marker on paper, “Three Divided.” Click on the image to see it large.)

12 thoughts on “My artist statement in the making

  • April 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm
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    Sandy your statement seems perfectly good to me, how hard it can all be…you are doing so well in applying and trying hard as you do, an example to me who as yet has done nothing of the sort! I only share my art with close ones and you my blogger friends. One day maybe I’ll step out into the wide open…best of luck to you Sandy!

    • April 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm
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      Thanks, Katrina, you are so supportive. I thank you, and I encourage you to share your incredible talent with the world. Go for it. 🙂

  • April 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm
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    Very nice, I think it sums up your love for women, their spirit and how you take guidance from your desires in the moment of creation. I just wrote my statement for the first time in Feb and I am already wondering if it’s “right”. It took me hours and many drafts to get where it is but, it feels like it will never really be done. Who knew they put so much emphasis on the statement?! Scary and thanks for sharing.

    • April 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm
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      Thanks, Kristen, I would love to see your statement.

  • April 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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    I’ve so enJOYed reading your posts and this time your artist statement as well. I think sometimes when something goes a way that is NOT the way I’ve intended [and hoped] that I, too, want to dive in and “fix” it. So in that way I can see your rationale for getting your Artist Statement together.

    As I live in a community where art leagues and such are everywhere I turn, I’d come to think of myself as a “NOT really” artist and spent much of late 2010 and all of 2011 “trying to BE” a REAL artist!! I’ve got some distance from it Now, yet I always felt NOT enough [or too much] and too little too late.

    What I’m learning is that I am as real and enough an artist. Right Now. As I AM and as I am NOT. For an online course I’ve been taking, the first week’s assignment was to write “My Ambition” which gave me an opportunity to write about what, I suppose, would go into an artist statement of mine. I’ve used it as my profile on my blogs http://366dazeofgrace.blogspot.com/ and http://ayearwithmyselfandothercharacters.blogspot.com/ and I have also printed it up so I see it frequently.

    What I like about your statement, wherever you feel you are with it at this time, is that it has let YOU clarify yourself TO you. I think when WE know what moves us and makes us BE the artists we are, nice as it may BE for a jury to have a sense of us, best of all is that WE know what stirs the embers and makes our creativity get up and dance.

    Thanks for reading me, I sometimes go a little long when I am really moved by someone’s post on CED. BEautimous art, too, by the way.

    • April 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm
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      Oh, my! I love your insight on this. You are so right on so many levels and it is so comforting to think of the statement in this way–it’s more about clarifying me for me. Thanks for the link, too.

  • April 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm
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    Beautiful blog, Sandy! Love that masthead image. Looking to read and see more. Please sign up on mine at thepolishedparagraph.com.

  • May 6, 2012 at 7:16 am
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    Hello Sandy, First of all thanks for commenting on my recent post. When I clicked on the link you left I came first of all to your Creations by Coleman webpage (which I didn’t see last time I visited here) and read what you had to say about your work. This particularly interested me because I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘voice’ recently – the message we are giving about ourselves through what we do and the message the audience receives, which may not be the same thing. Believing that visitors to my blog may have been getting the wrong impression about what I’m trying to do in my creative projects, having given a great deal of thought to this, within the last two days I rewrote my ‘About Me’ and ‘About this Blog’ pages. So you might imagine that I read with particular interest how you described what you do. I know from many years working freelance that writing mission statements and the like that are authentic and come from the heart rather than the head can be difficult. So what I have to say is this: For me, what you wrote on your front page seems to me to be from your heart, authentic, honest and a genuine description of who you and are and what your art is about. The new version has many similarities with that, but for me it doesn’t come from your heart, and this doesn’t sit happily with your art which clearly does come from your heart, your soul, your culture and history. Of course, I’m not an art show juror, and it may be that I and they are not looking for the same things. In which case, disregard everything I’ve just written! But I write it in the hope that it will be constructive and helpful for you, because clearly You are very present in the art you produce, and you don’t seem to me to have that same presence in these new words.
    Good luck!

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