I always struggle with writing an “Artist Statement”, the written description of my piece, for an art quilt for a show. It feels awkward and uncomfortable.
Even more daunting – someday I need to write an overall Artist Statement – a written description of my body of work. Once I participated in an exercise at our Central Oregon Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) where we worked on our overall Artist Statements. We worked on this exercise in small groups, with more experienced art quilters sharing their Artist Statements (which were quite impressive and rather intimidating) with the mere mortals like myself.
This was a very uncomfortable exercise and I could not wait for it to be over. My draft Artist Statement to me read like an essay on “What I did during my summer vacation” from 7th grade.
I think I need to first develop my “body of work” and where I want to go as an “Artist” before I can write my overall Artist Statement.
A RECENT ATTEMPT
Here is the Artist Statement I wrote today for the piece Ohio Shifted (2016) which will be in a show-within-a-show at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October (see post Creative Quilt Challenges: Shape Shifting):
Ohio Shifted (2016) Tierney Davis Hogan 18” W x 14.25” L Recycled Silks
Ohio Shifted (2016) embraces the Creative Quilt Challenges, CHALLENGE #3: “Unlikely Materials”. It also and embraces the name of this exhibit-within-an-exhibit, “Shape Shifting”.
Made from recycled silk samples and scraps from garment manufacturing (“unlikely materials”), Ohio Shifted began its art quilt life as a very different piece.
It was originally created as part of a challenge with a friend to use up the scraps from her piece, a reinvented Ohio Star block, and was titled “Ohio”. The borders on the piece were dull brown garment silk and muddied the overall look.
I decided to “Shape Shift” it, and rework the piece and its borders. Instead of a dull brown silk border, I used bright fuchsia raw silk found at a thrift store (another “unlikely material”).
Shifting the dimensions and overall shape of the of the miniature square-within-a-square log cabin blocks in the center; and floating them brightly colored raw silk, I created a new version of the original piece “Ohio”. It is now “Shifted”.
I did find resources online on writing Artist Statements just by googling “Artist Statement” that I plan on reviewing and studying further.
Do any of you have insights to share on writing Artist Statements?
Featured image photo credit: Joseph Hart, free images.com