Thursday, June 17, 2010

Well Stated?

As an artist, I know that one of the most important things to do as an artist (other than create art) is to write an artist statement. To me, its about as much fun as a visit to the dentist for a root canal. But, these things must be done. I’ll redo mine one of these days. After I decide to stop procrastinating. I haven’t gotten around to making that decision yet.

If and when I redo my artist statement, I want my words to reflect myself and my work. I do not, DO NOT want to sound like a pompous ass. This does happen a great deal. There are words frequently used by artists to get the message across that they are pompous asses. As if pompous assery sold greater quantities of art. It probably does. Unfortunately.

I feel that an artist statement should avoid certain words. The use of one or two of these words is no great sin. But to combine them all into two unbearable paragraphs is a criminal act.

Today, I finally opened the book Masters of Collage, a compilation of today’s masters of collage. I kind of like the stating of the obvious. I hadn’t gone far when I came upon an artist statement that contained every word on the pompous artist statement list.

Want to hear it? Here it goes.


















I very much liked (I use simple person words) the artwork. But just a tad less after reading that string of the pompous artist words.

There has just got to be a stable middle ground between this and just saying “I like to create pretty pictures.” I haven’t found this middle ground yet.

Are there any pompous artist words that I have forgotten? And, if anyone has ever come across the perfect artist statement, I would love to read it.


  1. Perhaps my favorite artist statement:
    As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -
    Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip

  2. A pompous artist word that has fallen out of favor--it was big in the 80s--is "iconographic."

    I once read a statement that said "Art is my life. My life is art." Even though the words were simple and comprehensible, the statement sounded pompous. To me anyway. Then again, I knew the artist, and the artist was pompous, so I guess I read the statement with a jaded eye.

  3. i dont read em
    and when i write mine its usually just about the current work i've got exhibiting.
    i disagree that an artist statement is the 2nd most important thing but then again, i'm not exactly making it out there am i

  4. Oh, artspeak -- bane of my existence. Provider of unintended humour. There's this great quote that I can't remember and can't remember the author, but I'll try anyway: Writing about art is like dancing about architecture. Or was that cooking about opera? :)

  5. I'm baffled by the very idea, let alone the words. I'd have no clue.
    I do like what Susan HP up there quotes, however.

  6. oh, artist statements! yeesh, i can't write them. i just say, "i doodle and make stuff." you're way ahead of me!