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Rebekah Krieger

Artist Statement

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Chris Campbell    1,081

"Respectfully, I would like to assert a clear distinction between "verbally obtuse garbage," "jargon," (whatever we're calling it) and skillful use of language. You'll take note that the Pitelka quote observes this rather well. Perhaps I am projecting (likely not), but I detect a disdain for "intelligent writing," ironically enough next to pleas for originality amongst a group participating in a rather archaic practice...."

 

 

I have absolutely no problem with skillful use of language or intelligent writing. Being a writer myself, I appreciate those who can distil their thoughts into a well written piece. I love a statement that informs rather than tries to impress ... A statement that let's me into your world for a few moments.

 

But, I also recognize obtuse verbal jargon when I read it.

 

A well written set of statements is very hard work that is never quite finished. The temptation to hide behind trusty phrases and vague illusions is hard to resist for all of us ... I include myself here too. I read some statements and am totally in awe of how wonderfully well they are done. It's difficult to get out of your own way and write.

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Babs    385

Guy Don Watson writer from Aus labels jargon type speak "Weasel Words" and wrote a book documenting some of them.

Intelligent writing is writing that is understood by the prospective reader

We've prob all sat through talks by a speaker where we either think we've come to the wrong place or wish we were someplace else because of the heavily laden laborious esoteric speak.

Intelligent writing is simple to grasp. but I do not make the mistake of assuming that it is simple to write.

Write to your reader.

Recognise yourself or your art work on reading it after a period of time. Cringe factor should not occur!

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ChenowethArts    461

I've read through this thread a couple of times now and must say that the advice coming from the experienced artists here is well worth the time to apply in personal reflection.

My two cents worth: Years ago, a beloved mentor encouraged me to write a Personal Mission Statement. It is less than 1/4th of a typewritten page long in an easy to read, bulleted format.  Each bullet point begins with a purposeful  action verb. My last revision hangs prominently in my studio as a daily reminder to be focused/intentional.  I have written a handful of Artist Statements since re-entering the art world. All of those Artist Statements benefit from a harsh dose of editing (I can be verbose..go figure). Ultimately I conclude my writing-agony with an exercise of reading the Artist Statement out loud and then comparing it to my Personal Mission Statement. When the two documents are in sync, I feel that I can share the Artist Statement as an honest description of who I am, what I do, and why the work is worth someone's consideration.  The Artist Statement gets worked over frequently, but the Mission Statement provides an anchor so that each artist statement is still recognizable as coming from the same person.

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Denice    243

Writing to the reader is very important, my husband who is a technical writer has educated me on clean concise writing.  He has books on planes, trains and buses all written to customers reading level.  For the last 30 years he has worked for an amusement ride company, a lot of those books go to workers that have a eight grade reading level.  The books have to be able to stand up in court that the workers understood and had all of the technical info they needed to run the ride safely.  Denice

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GEP    863

Rebekah,

 

Here are my various versions of my statement, for show applications that restrict the length:

 

50 characters or less (this one also works for 5 words or less)

Functional pottery, modern Asian rustic.

 

100 characters or less

Functional, food-safe pottery, mostly wheel-thrown, fired to 2200°F, modern Asian rustic.

 

20 words or less

Functional, food-safe pottery, mostly wheel-thrown, fired to 2200°F. Modern Asian rustic, with Korean and Maryland roots.

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Chilly    329

I used to write IT courseware and quick reference guides.  I had a strip of paper stuck above my monitor with this reminder:

 

"Don't use a big word when a diminutive expression will do". 

 

Very tongue-in-cheek, but it served me well.  If you're writing a novel, you can show off your extensive vocabulary, if you're writing to inform, use as few words as possible, and make every word count.

 

A reader sitting in the comfort of their home/on the train/on the beach will read all the words in a gripping novel, and will relish every one of them.  A reader sitting at a desk wants to read the document in front of them in the shortest possible time, understand every word/sentence/paragraph, and then move quickly onto the next document. 

 

Finally, proof, proof and proof.  (And get three other people to proof it too).  Nothing worse than a missing word or the wrong word.

 

Keep it simple.

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Celia UK    142

This probably won't go down well with many people, but if the adjudicators (or just one of them) are like me and find poor spelling, grammar and punctuation infuriating, then it's got to be worth getting these spot on.

Those that crop up fairly regularly, on this forum for example, include:

incorrect use of practice and practise (there is the possibility that this is an Americanism from the English where 'c' is the noun and 's' is the verb form. Think 'advice' and 'advise' if you struggle to figure this out!

using effect when it should be affect - another noun/verb confusion - 'effect' is the noun and 'affect' is the verb

it's when its is required and

misplaced possessive apostrophes (".....my mentor's as their years...." Which should be ".....my mentors' as their years....")

and please....there is no such word as 'gotten'.

 

Does anyone have any more that drive them crazy?

 

I know you could argue that as long as the reader understands what it meant it doesn't matter, but if it's the difference between selection and non-selection, then it has to be worth it.

 

DON'T TRUST SPELLCHECK! IT IS NOT RELIABLE IN ALL RESPECTS!

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neilestrick    1,379

Rebekah,

 

Here are my various versions of my statement, for show applications that restrict the length:

 

50 characters or less (this one also works for 5 words or less)

Functional pottery, modern Asian rustic.

 

100 characters or less

Functional, food-safe pottery, mostly wheel-thrown, fired to 2200°F, modern Asian rustic.

 

20 words or less

Functional, food-safe pottery, mostly wheel-thrown, fired to 2200°F. Modern Asian rustic, with Korean and Maryland roots.

 

Mine are a lot like this, too. Seems most of the shows want 100 characters or less, so there's really not a lot you can do. Don't think of it as an artists statement in these cases. It's simply a short description of your work and process.

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JBaymore    1,432

 

Don't think of it as an artists statement in these cases. It's simply a short description of your work and process.

 

 

That is my take on this also. This comes back to the "have different versions" and "write for your audience" business.

 

best,

 

..................john

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GEP    863

Celia,

 

First of all, I will state that I am a person who values spelling and grammar a lot. I do a lot of writing for my pottery business, therefore my habits are to double check all of those things, even look up words in the dictionary when needed.

 

We moderators will sometimes correct a typo in the TITLE of a thread, but typos and grammar mistakes within the bodies of posts are yours to own. It's really not that important to me. Nor does slang bother me on the forum. As you queried above, "as long as the reader understands what it meant it doesn't matter." We are not on job interviews here, we are having (hopefully) a comfortable conversation.

 

Also, lots of people are typing on a mobile device, typos are pretty hard to avoid on a tiny keyboard!

 

In the US we use one word "practice" for both the noun and verb.

 

Now back to the original topic of Artist Statements ... absolutely these must be free of spelling and grammar mistakes!

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Benzine    609

Sadly, I think the spelling and grammar errors will only get worse. Society is so accustomed to spell and grammar checks, doing the job, that we have seemingly forgotten how. On top of that "text talk"/ "Twitter Speak" have made it so many are content with being "close enough".

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JBaymore    1,432

Sadly, I think the spelling and grammar errors will only get worse. Society is so accustomed to spell and grammar checks, doing the job, that we have seemingly forgotten how. On top of that "text talk"/ "Twitter Speak" have made it so many are content with being "close enough".

 

R U talk-n 2 me? ;)

 

In any professional setting (like a resume', artist's statement, biography, and the like), spelling, grammar, and punctuation and such are pretty darn important.  And there are also cross-cultural language issues to deal with when you deal with any international audience.

 

As mentioned........ the forum setting here is not intended to be "formal".......... we're just hangin' out, having a couple of beers in the pub.... and chattin'.

 

best,

 

...............john

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Celia UK    142

Just to clarify - I wasn't really commenting on spelling, grammar etc. on the forum, simply referring to it as an example of where these mistakes commonly occur. GEP I totally take your point about 'typing' on mobile devices - whoever has fingers that small anyway?

 

So my suspicion about practice was correct. As a former head teacher in the UK, proof reading hundreds of my teachers' reports to parents, this was one that I had to pick up on. Many of my staff confused the two, which doesn't go down well with parents. (Well, those that know the difference that is!)

 

Also, I have to add one more thing before someone else picks me up on it - I do know that 'effect' can be both a verb and a noun, whereas 'affect' is a verb. The common error being to use 'affect' as a noun, when 'effect' is the intention.

 

And as for text speak - well that's a whole new language!!!

 

Context is definitely the key here.

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phill    17

I think the part that I am struggling with is that at this point, I don't have an established aesthetic.  I don't want to "puff up" my work because at this point I am not spending much time on true artistic expression.  I am just working on perfecting my forms and tightening my throwing skills, experimenting with glazes etc. I am in the process of mastering the basics so I can freely express myself with the skills established. With that practice, I am making cereal bowls, mugs, and oil warmers. I guess I don't feel they are "great works of art that require understanding" yet.  I haven't worked in clay long enough to develop my aesthetic, and i don't want to sound like the tool who thinks it does.  

 

 

 

The only real "deep feature" I enjoy about my pots are that they are made by human hands.  I personally feel a deep connection with ancient cultures by doing the same thing all of them have done.. making my own vessels, using them, and adding a deeper meaning to the monotonous daily activities most modern humans disconnect with.. such as taking a drink from a cup or eating soup.  It's a feeling I am going for at this point because that is as far as I have gotten. I have 2 years of working with clay, which is nothing.  I feel almost like an idiot calling my work "art" because I have so much more I want to express with clay that  i haven't been able to do yet.  

Whether you were trying or not here, this sounds like a good start. Obviously some things would need to be pulled from this info here, like "I have 2 years working with clay, which is nothing." But I think you could work with what you wrote in this post. 

 

I used another one of my interests in life and assimilated the two to get my current statement. It isn't the typical artist statement, but I like it--probably because it isn't typical. Also, I had fun with it. I was tired of reading other potters' statements about making functional pots because they enjoy it or because function interests them. That's what every functional potter feels or thinks. Is there something else that gives you joy with making? 

 

Phillip Schmidt

Statement of Work

 

I am interested in food. My need to create is met daily through cooking, kneading, mixing and baking things that are pleasurable to me. The only impediments I seem to have are time and availability of ingredients, both of which have led to major dinner flops and delicious culinary treats. The joys of cooking to me are many-fold: no hindering consequences for curiosity, a limitless combination of ingredients, the suspense of the making and the thrill of the tasting, and generally a willing and happy audience to enjoy the fruits of my labor with.

The making of functional pots and clay objects is parallel to cooking in many regards; perhaps consider them cousins or even siblings! The joy I get from throwing a wonderful cup or baking a decadent apple pie are one in the same. And I find the most satisfying exchange is with those whom I get to share these life-giving fruits. This sharing, the best I can give another person, is the reason I make pottery. Without others enjoying my work, there is small need for and little enjoyment in making pots.  

I tend to make bowls and cups with a smattering of other functional pots thrown in. These are bisque-fired, glazed, and then high-fired to a cone 10-11 in a reduced atmosphere. I try to keep my pots, decorations, and glaze recipes simple and have a heck of a time doing it. Like my cooking, I make the things that I find most pleasurable with the hopes that others too will be enriched. My clay heroes are Warren Mackenzie, Guillermo Cuellar, Steve Rolf, Kirk Freeman, and Joe Singewald.

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firenflux    45

I would take a workshop on writing an artist statement.  As it stands I don't apply for shows because I don't have one and don't know what I would say.  I've searched online and have also clicked the links in this thread and nothing I've found so far helps me to write one or feel remotely comfortable knowing where to start.  I have artist statement block!

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JBaymore    1,432

I would take a workshop on writing an artist statement.  As it stands I don't apply for shows because I don't have one and don't know what I would say.  I've searched online and have also clicked the links in this thread and nothing I've found so far helps me to write one or feel remotely comfortable knowing where to start.  I have artist statement block!

 

Start writing about what you do and why you do it.  Stream of consciousness.  No one is going to read THIS piece but you.  It can be 50 pages... whatever.

 

Then start using the strikethrough type face and edit OUT stuff that does not sound clear... and retype in something that says that better in a red or blue typeface .

 

Then start taking out what is not the MOST important stuff to YOU.

 

Like working in the studio....... just get you hands into the clay...and it all starts to work.

 

Eventually it will package itself up.  As you are getting closer to the end..... have others read it and make suggestions.

 

best,

 

.......................john

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JBaymore    1,432

Came back to also say something I missed above but I think is important......

 

The Artist's Statement is a "two way street".  What you make of course influences your artist's statement... but in writing and editing and constantly updating artist statements... that action helps to clarify your thinking and hence will greatly impact the making of your work. 

 

Writing an artist's statement is part of developing your work.  Developing your work is part of developing a strong artist's statement. 

 

You can repeat that last pair of sentences for the rest of your life. ;)

 

best,

 

........................john

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oldlady    1,323

thank you, john, for saying "points to" and not today's favorite, 'informs'.

 

rebekah, did i miss the post about your second show that all of us were waiting for?

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oldlady    1,323

thank you celia, not to beat a dead horse but i find that most of the errors i see are the same ones over and over.  and yes, i do not capitalize because it hurts the little finger and the apostrophe is in a very hard to reach place so i do not use contractions often.  i know i am as guilty of careless writing as anyone else. :unsure:

 

apparently, spelling is no longer taught in elementary schools the way it was emphasized in my day. (late 1940s)  we were taught several tricks to remember things.  such as, the handle of a suitcase is the apostrophe.  if someone owns something put it in the suitcase and give the owner the handle.  Harvey's radio.  if several people own it, they all need to grasp the handle, so it follows the word ending in s, students' lockers.

 

adviCe COMES to you.  you adviSe SOMEONE else.

 

Affect is AS IT IS HAPPENING, Effect is the END RESULT.   unless you are a mental health worker forget affect as descriptive of a persons demeanor, etc.

 

to, too and two.    if it doesn't mean also or is not a number, use to.   TOO is also and TWO is a number.

 

people is followed by WHO  things are followed by THAT  example, the people who criticize spelling.  the pots that are in the show.

 

smaller THAN, different FROM

 

and punctuation is anything you want.  commas seem to just be tossed into the air and land between just any words, they no longer represent a pause in a sentence. 

 

sorry for the rant but i just feel so out of place in a world where your knuckles are not rapped with a ruler when you say "site" for "sight" or anything else that happens so commonly today.  you young people (anyone under 65) seem not to place much value on things we were taught to respect. it is now your world so i should just get over it.  

 

had to add something to this rant.  just found several examples of spellcheck mistakes that are really funny.  i am used to finding compound words  broken up and no longer make sense.  the best was the classic sherlock holmes, "the game is afoot!"  became "the game is  a  foot!"

Edited by oldlady

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Try being Canadian and being obliged to learn both American and British usage! Colour and aluminum, anyone?! (I am guilty of overusing commas.)

 

This is an awesome thread, and thank you for reviving it! I am in the process of brand identification homework for a marketing course, and I'm finding there's a lot of similarities between that and a mission statement. I agree totally it helps you define where you're going with your work. I'll also add it can act as a check to see if your work is in line with your current mission. If work and writing aren't in line with each other, you have to decide which one to adjust.

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oldlady    1,323

i read lots of british novels and watch british TV or tele.  lots of fun.  why do they say "different TO"?

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Chilly    329

i read lots of british novels and watch british TV or tele.  lots of fun.  why do they say "different TO"?

The English (people) are becoming very lazy with their use of the english language.  Drives me mad.

 

One of my pet hates is "on a daily basis".  Why not say "everyday".    urrrgghhh - vent over - or maybe not yet

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Mug    49

The best artist statement I have ever seen.

 

" I have no artist's statement."

                         

                         Get Clay By Dan

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LeeU    328

The Art Review

 

The putative semiotics of the work currently on exhibit at 2 Bit Gallery. Inc. strike one as being reminiscent of parti prie escritoire. At best it is an autotelic treatment, if not exegetical in the extreme.  In spite of this conceit, the utter trouvaille, just laying on the surface as it were, suggests an absolutely erratic esprits du moi usually lacking in an artist so young. The style is ondoyant to be sure, but ondoyant with flair, unmatched by the more mimetic gestures of lesser works.  The exiguous hermeneutics in particular demonstrate a depth of collenchyma approaching inherent maladjustment of the paint.

 

The essence of the art of the critique in current times. OK, not all reviewers at all times. But some, sometimes. I dunno what a collenchyma is, but I can relate to inherent maladjustment of the paint.

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