Sunday, 22 April 2018

Personal Branding and Writing an Artist's Statement

                                    Self Portrait: My modelling services are free

I have been painting prolifically lately which I have to admit is exhausting but some forms of exhaustion are at least enjoyable and painting is much better than washing the car.  Life is a bit stressful at the moment, so painting makes a form of escape.  Stress can make me cranky and excessively judgemental and lately it seems that everywhere I turn there are annoying things, crappy things, eye-roll inducing things.  It’s a good idea for me to just stay home and often an even better idea for me to stay off the internet.

Home may be where I am but the internet is usually too tempting.  I've been reading about personal branding, something I've always found rather horrifying.  I cannot conceive of myself as a brand, but then I've never had anything to sell before.  Now I have to worry about my personality and my online presence and just how it all might be a giant mistake.

Lately I am mulling over writing an artist’s bio and as I ponder this I have read many examples of what other artists write about themselves and in the process learning things about myself.  So much of what other people say or write often seems like a big old load of bullshit to me.  Embellishment, exaggeration, hyperbole, nonsense, word-salad.  Rather like they handed over the job of writing the statement to Deepak Chopra.

Let’s play with some examples I have invented based on the types of things I read.  The first one is just worthy of a great big coffee spew and it’s really just a spoof.  But the second one is absolutely the kind of thing I see and probably the person who would write this really does think this way.  I cannot relate to this person.  I do not trust this person.  I view this person as a bullshitter.

“I paint the dreams of unborn beings manifested by the karma of my essence.”

“My paintings allow inner truth to unfold in waves of colour and texture as I explore the growth of my spirit.”

                                                   In progress, nearly finished

The Mona Lisa after the Zombie Attack

I know that the second statement (way back there before I randomly inserted the paintings) is the type people seem to like.  I wonder how it is that I am an artist, moved by line and colour and texture and driven to play with it when I cannot tolerate the words that would describe this.  My words would be more direct and pragmatic.   My artist statement would be like this:

“I paint because I feel driven to and I enjoy it.  I love colour, texture and line.  Make of it what you will.”

It sounds a bit passive aggressive though and this is why I am stuck.  I can’t seem to reconcile my personality with this concept of artist statements.  Who am I, why do I paint and what do I paint?  I don’t really want to have to tell anyone this.  I don’t like the words I might have to use.

Let me try again:

Painting is something I’ve done most of my life but never allowed myself as much time to focus on as I have in the past five years.  I am self-taught and my favourite medium is acrylic though I also enjoy charcoal and pastel drawing, dabble in collage and am sometimes tempted by mixed media.  Figuratives, still-life florals and landscapes all feature in my work, often painted from my imagination or memory, with lively colour and noticeable brush or knife strokes.  My work is usually abstract though representational.  While I always have an intention when I paint, once I put that work out there it becomes more or less than I intended depending on the reactions to it. 

No, I don’t think this is quite what I am supposed to do.  It should be more like this:

I am a Vancouver Island artist, using acrylic as my main medium, exploring the representation of the world around me, usually in floral still life, abstract landscape and figurative work.  There is always an aspect of the abstract and modern expressionism to some degree and a liberal use of colour because I paint what I feel as well as what I see.

That might be better.

Already I am exhausted and this artist statement making effort is very uncomfortable, like I am competing in the Miss Artist Pageant.   “I would like my art to create world peace...”

All experiences are useful, most processes just as important as the outcome.  I need to sell my art to afford to keep painting and in order to sell I have to make a website and I have to sell myself.  It’s not something I enjoy or am good at but I am diving into the process.  Maybe it’s more like dipping my toe in but either way, in I go.

                                Playing Freely with paint today-this was my warm up


  1. Your whole blog is your artist's statement!
    I feel the same when they ask for a bio on my singing programmes. You have to think of something cute and funny and everyone else has so much better humour than me! Well maybe I feel the opposite to you. I want to make mine more pretentious!
    Maybe that's the difference between the two artistic expressions. Or maybe we are the same and just want to be real and let the art forms speak for themselves. That's why we do it in the first place, because it's the best way to say who we are!
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Yes, I think that what you said about the art speaking for itself is just what I mean. I don't want to come up with words about it, I just want to do the art and leave it to the viewer to like or not like, to interpret as they will. I already know that I often don't see in other artwork what the artist claims is there. Once you create it and send it out into the world it's there for others to perceive as they will. But I am also a bit too down to earth for the art world. As I said, a lot of it seems like total. bullshitting to me. LOL I am not convinced that a bunch of colour blobs are a statement about human relationships. They are just nice colour blobs. xoxo

  2. i had to laugh out loud when reading the 2 "verschwurbelte" sentences!!
    i too would never talk or write like this - even if i know that the flat brained masses are impressed by such. and an artist has to be a snob - because an artist is someone special. if he/she is not special then we have only a crafter....
    just imagine picasso, monet, grosz or kahlo saying such bullshit - could you?

    1. I know many people feel like misfits but I am just another one of those. I never seem to fit and I am a poor fit for the art world it seems too. Haven't found my art tribe yet and maybe never will but carrying on and you aren't likely to see any bullshit from me any time soon! LOL xoxo

  3. I don't understand that statement about unborn beings and karma manifestations but I don't think it was written to be understood.

    I haven't tried making my own site, but I've put up my art on tictal and redbubble site. I'm currently looking into other sites as well.

    1. I have heard of redbubble but not yet explored it. I find social media so overwhelming and stressful that what I am doing now is already a challenge. I think a website to sell art which I can let my partner manage for me might work though. LOL


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