Artist’s Statements

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Canadian Art

I’m not sure what to title this. For now it’s just a draft. A half thought, half rant, one that I’ve been carrying around for literally decades. I think due to the impending start-up of an Arts & Crafts Studio & Creative Lab – I should make it clear. I have every intention of promoting artists but I need to make it SUPER CLEAR.


They are complete bulls&%! And here’s why:

In grade 11, at the tender age of 16 I started a battle with my English teacher. I was so ticked off at her that I wanted to start a rebellion. Bring on the protesters, write up the signs! My English teacher is a fraud!!! Our assignment was to tell her what a poem meant that we’d read in class. I will admit – I was a little bitter that I was in the second tier English class, when I thought I should be in first regardless of my marks the year before. I wanted to read Shakespeare and there we were, being asked to GUESS what someone meant when they wrote a poem. I know now I should have just done my bloody homework and I would have been in first tier. Harumph.

In the poem the author described herself as wearing a white dress. Walking up a path, with rocks and stones on either side of the path pulling at the bottom of her dress, as though to hold her back.  So, being 16 and all anti-establishment and anti-institution and anti-everything I decided that the woman was getting married ( a little obvious with the white dress I thought), that she was walking down the aisle towards her future life and the rocks and stones that were pulling at her dress were the people and experiences in her life,  that were all telling her to stop, that she was walking the wrong path, making her question whether it was the right choice even at that final moment.

Well, I don’t remember if I got a zero, or an F or what, but I remember the teacher telling me I was wrong and I lost it. How can you possibly grade someone as being wrong when they are being asked to guess what something means? You can’t give me a fail for not being psychic enough?! Can you?! She did.  I think it was soon after that  I decided the public education system was a load of hooey and I wanted nothing to do with it.

Poetry, art, music, all things created by man (or nature) are completely subjective – if it means something to you, or has an affect on you, well done. If you have to write an essay on what it means or why you did it, and come up with the most baffling, nonsensical bull you can think of in order for it to be accepted by the masses, tell the masses to give their head a shake.

Here’s my all encompassing artist’s statement. Blanket statement, for everything I create, including dinner.

Like it or don’t.

To be fair, I found an argument FOR artist’s statements. It has it’s merits. And so does the business practicality of writing a personal bio if it means selling a piece vs. not. However, I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous artist’s statements. Seriously. Go find some galleries and look them up. They are the perfect example of using the phrase – if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

Argument For Artist’s Statements

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