Friday, September 25, 2009

Artist Statement!!

Blogger is great cause I can pre-write posts and have them post at a future date. That's what this is... But I wanted to do my Blog Carnival for this month which is "Show us pictures of yourself & tell us a little bit about you!" So like I said yesterday, I wanted to take this opportunity to post my first official draft of my Artist's Statement to you guys. Please tell me what you think. I need some constructive criticism. I think it's pretty much what I want to say when applying to Graduate School, there might be a couple of wording changes, but overall I think this sums up what my artistic philosophy & ideas are. So here are a couple of picts of me & my new Artist's Statement....

For the past seven years I have been making art for other people. I have lived and worked as a Scenic Painter and Sculptor on both the East and West Coasts. Scenic work ranges from painting small silk poppies for a "Wizard of Oz" themed birthday party to sculpting 50 foot tall polystyrene foam rock cliffs for Major Motion Pictures. It's not the most artistically fulfilling job, you are often constrained by client concern's, timing, and money. But it's because of these limitations, I've learned invaluable practical knowledge and experience that I could never have learned in a classroom. What is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to build this project, but also have it look awesome? It's like a puzzle; a client comes to you with an impossible idea, and it's your job to figure out all the steps to complete it: aesthetics, construction, and delivery. I apply this approach to my personal art. How am I supposed to take all this fluffy wool and transform it into this impossible idea I have?

I am a felter. There is something so tactile and personal about felting wool by hand. Each felting technique serves it's own purpose; wet-felting is great for speed and quantity, Nuno felting is perfect for transparency and structure, and needle-felting allows for controlled sculpting and details. I am not a felting purest though, I mix these techniques freely in order to accomplish the goals of a specific piece. I also use additional materials like foam and wire armatures to reinforce structure. With each new piece I make I try to incorporate a new technique or process or material. I see it as just adding one more weapon to my felting arsenal. Then I can pull these experiences out for endless possibilities for the future.

This practical view of materials doesn't always translate to highly conceptual subject matter. My pieces are rarely driven by ideas that illustrate political or social statements, but rather to learn and master techniques. For instance I wanted to create translucent felt, so I made a "JellyFish" sculpture, or I wanted to make Fire, so I created the "Burning Dollar" piece. Despite the straight forwardness of my subjects, the philosophy behind my creative process is full of conceptual contradictions. One contradiction I see within my art is the relationship Fine Art versus Craft. Traditional felt-making is one of the oldest known crafts in the world. The potential of using this well established medium is extremely underrated, and it's my goal is to expand upon the practicality of the material and bring it into the more experimental and expressive Fine Art environment. Another contradiction I'd like to explore more is the super labor intensive nature of the felting process versus the scale of the piece. I would love to make giant felted sculptures or fully felted environments, but fell overwhelmed by the amount of work that would need to go into creating them. Many fibers artists create small pieces to keep the work manageable, but to me, this is an exciting part of the challenge. I am constantly looking for ways to streamline the process to make it more efficient. And finally, I strive to bring more relatability to the viewer within the Fine Art Gallery or Museum setting. Too much art hangs on walls or sits on pedestals. I would much rather have the viewer interact with my work that admire it from a distance. This is why i prefer to make "objects". The obvious comparison between stuffed animals or toys to felted objects invites people into making an intimate connection with my pieces. I am currently working on enhancing this interactivity by incorporating technology and electronic components. The addition of lights, sensors, and (hopefully in the future) independent mobility helps bring human personality and life to my pieces.

I believe the ultimate goal for an artist is to completely master all aspects of their chosen medium. Only after an artist can create pieces without worrying about the technical details, only when creating becomes second nature, can they move to expressing more complex conceptual ideas and subject matter. It's at this point that one encounters the most challenges, but also when true innovations are created.

So Please let me know what you think about my Statement. I know it need some editing & some revisions. I usually wrote some of it, let it sit for a couple weeks, then rewrite it, then let it sit, and now it's sat for like a month & I'm still kinda happy with it, so I think it's a winner!!!

FYI - I'm planning a super-fun-awesome-possibly-wicked thing soon for my blog. With the new pieces I'm working on, I feel the need to MAYBE-POSSIBLY give away some of my old pieces. So possibly-maybe in the next couple weeks I might be offering a special something-something for my blog readers!!! Cause I love ya!!

**** Okay, I just re-read my Artist's Statement and... It's pretty Okay. I know there are some type-o's and weird wording, so I need to re-write, yet again. Are there any parts that I might need to expand upon? Too much wordiness? I'm feeling kinda vulnerable right now, so please be nice!!!! ****


  1. Your statement sounds great to me. My statement on my website is pretty lousy (good example of what not to write). It's too contrite. Yours on the otherhand really reflects your personality, ideas on art and goals. It covers everything and comes from the heart. It's perfect. Good luck with your application!

  2. Thank You!! It's taken me so long to write it, but it's also forced me into really thinking about my art. Thanks for saying it reflects my personality & goals. Many of the things I've heard & read about an artist's statement says to write kinda as if you were talking, rather than a more formal tone, like a resume. I've had so much of the business mentality drilled into me, that I was hoping to open up more & write something more personal & familiar. As always, your are awesome Robin!!!