Writing My Latest Artist Statement...
I just finished the first version of an artist statement that I am writing to go with a recent body of work for a grant application. I HATE writing these. They get heavy and wordy and no one reads them anyway. I usually just write a quick quirky wiseass version. (Only because it shows the reader who I really am.) But, this one is for a serious grant that gives out some serious cash. I didn't wait until the last minute because I wanted to leave it for a little while and come back to it to see if I'm still feeling it, and then edit it down using new eyes. Then I thought that I'd put it on here to try and get some feedback. So here it is. Please tell me what you think;
People always ask,”What do you do?” at some point during small talk. For a long time now my response has been,”I am a painter.” And I was. Until recently, I painted work solely to sell. I painted what I thought people would buy; sail boats, light houses, and white picket fences. And they did. For years my paintings filled the white tents, which filled ball fields and parking lots across Cape Cod all summer long. People came, and saw, and bought. I was making my living as an artist. I didn’t however call myself an artist, I didn't feel it was art. I was simply a painter, painting souvenirs, not an artist.
Despite not giving myself credit, the time I spent painting gave me a sense of peace. Until one morning when Multiple Sclerosis stepped in and took that peace away. It took, overnight, my balance, my vision, and my fine motor skills. I could no longer see my sketches, hold my brushes, or stand before my easel. Sympathy is not necessary here. This was how I realized I truly am an artist. There was void that not being able to paint left in my soul. So, despite the pain, I painted. One day, sitting on my studio floor, no longer able to stand, wearing a patch over one of my eyes to keep them from crossing, holding a broomstick that served as both a crutch and a moll in one hand, and a brush duct taped to the other, looking at a, finally, finished work, I, accepted that, now, I can call myself an artist. My primal urge to paint, the artist inside me, had overridden any fear of pain. I smiled. Then laughed. Then cried.
My vision, my balance, and fine motor skills, all of the things that I lost, I would give up again in exchange for what I’ve found; my voice.
My current work is about painting simply to paint. No longer representational, it has far less to do with what you see, than it does with pure release. It has to do with the smell of paint wafting out of my studio, and the paint that stains every article of clothing I own. It is about the cool wet feel of it on my hands, and that of the rough textured surface that I smear it on. It’s about the way the paints and glazes puddle in the pock marks of the surface, the overlapping of color, and the depth brought forth in the varnishing. It’s about more than the painting itself. It expands to each tiny vignette created within, quietly asking the viewer to lean closer for a better look.