State of Art

I am reading a book which has prompted me to get my art-act together: “I’d Rather be in the Studio.” It offers great practical advice for those of us who want to sell art. There is lots of helpful information about website design, mailing lists, marketing strategies. One of the sections talks about the importance of the artists’ statement. It really is quite a challenge to articulate what it is I am doing in my art, and I sat for two hours yesterday muddling through a rough-draft of my new and up-dated statement.

I won’t share the specifics of what I have so far–that will be posted on my website soon–but I will talk a bit about the process.

It seems a conundrum to put into words that which is best experienced visually.  For every word one chooses to describe something, there are so many others which might equally apply! How do I describe my passion about lines–lines of trees, cracked lines in sidewalks, lines of handwriting–and my desire to connect drawing, calligraphy, painting and collage? Or, how do I best express in words my desire to move beyond my formal “logo-centric” traditional calligraphy training in re-visioning what calligraphy–beautiful writing–means to me personally?

Not easy.  But I am working on it, and I would recommend everyone who purports to do art to try it.  We owe it to our viewers, our patrons and ourselves to at least have an inkling of what we are up to, what we are trying to express in our art.

Our calligraphy guild, Capital City Scribes, is having an exhibit at Wally Workman Gallery in Downtown Austin in April and it seems a perfect time to offer our viewers some insight into our art-making process. Particularly because we are calligraphers, our artist statements afford an opportunity for educating people about the spectrum of creative possibilities within the field. Indeed, if I call myself a calligrapher, people immediately assume I do wedding invitations and poems, period.  When they see my art, they inevitably say, “I didn’t know you are an artist!.”  Thankfully, our guild members offer a full-spectrum of approaches to calligraphy, so the exhibit will provide viewers with an eclectic visual feast-and lots to ponder. Our artist statements will help them make sense of pieces (like so many of mine) which have illegible writing, or simply gestural lines, instead of straightforward formal calligraphy.

So I continue struggling with the “words to say it,”all the while thinking, “I would rather be in my studio.”

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