Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writing an Artist Statement

I'm currently working on up-dating my artist statement and thought I'd share bits of it here.  I like to write artist statements, although I don't do so nearly as often as I should.  It's a process that articulates the whys and the hows of what you do- what's really at the core or center of a person's work.  

 Anyways, here's the intro and part of the body of my statement so far:

"The practice of making ceramics is truly that, practice.  I grew up with the phrase ‘Practice makes
perfect’, and as everyone knows, making the ‘perfect’ pot in ceramics is an extremely subjective
quest.  Thus, within my current practice, I strive to make pots that ‘sing in harmony’ in form,
function and design. 

I have always blended my painting practice with my ceramics practice.  There are elements from
within my architectural and abstract paintings that make their way to my pottery in the form of
minimal lines, stems and abstract floral shapes.  Simple and stylized, my method of glazing 
informs my ceramics significantly.  Simple wheel-thrown and slip-cast forms become the blank
canvas for my hand-cut stencil design that I place on each pot before glazing the background
of my pots.  Wax resist provides a method of shielding my background glaze from over-lapping
the foreground shapes.  Multiple glazes that work together in colour-scheme and as a pattern
sit side-by-side and can be single fired to cone 6.  As with all practices, knowledge of materials
and processes often become part of the fabric of the final pot. " (c. 2011)

So that's more or less the start of it.  The next paragraph will be about imagery and influence, and hopefully that will round out the process-heavy paragraph that perhaps over-simplifies the concept of my work.  I think in ceramics that it's hard to get away from process being part of concept.  The process is what decides much of what the outcome might be.  And for functional work, the inherent function of the work simplifies the 'why' part.  
Feedback anyone?   The artist statement I'm writing is kind of a general one for submissions to shows and galleries.  A jury's knowledge of the craft is generally quite high, but I don't want to make the statement sound overly academic.  Because that's not really where my work is at.  Would love to hear your thoughts...


Sarah said...

I love the first paragraph and the whole concept of practice, and the second paragraph is a nice mix of creative vision and some of the more technical aspects of your work. I think that both are great, and a really do a nice job of introducing what your work's all about. I love hearing about people's process, and you can definitely tell that you've put a lot of time into thinking about what you make and why. Thanks for sharing.

ang said...

yeh good point.. I must get to it and write one.. i'm really not a writer and find all the things i love about ceramics hard to articulate :))

dahlhaus said...

Thanks for the feed-back Sarah! I appreciate knowing that the introduction is a good framework for the second paragraph!
And Ang, you totally should try writing an artist statement! It's such a good way to narrow down all the things you like to what your work is actually about!

Jesse Lu said...

This is quite the task... here is a great exercise that I just came across.

Here is my feedback:

-try another word than simple. Simple means easy, is your work easy?

-remember to be concise... The sentences about your glazing techniques are somewhat redundant and hide the interesting process that you use to glaze your pots.

-I love this line: "Thus, within my current practice, I strive to make pots that ‘sing in harmony’ in form,
function and design." It relates beautifully to the concept of practice.

Good luck, Heather... I love talking about artist statements. They are so difficult and it's so useful to get feedback. You've inspired me to work on my own again. I'm seeing now that it doesn't quite cut it. :)

dahlhaus said...

Thanks Jesse, I appreciate the feed-back! It's certainly still a work-in-progress, but I'm glad my beginning statement seemed to resonate here.