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Information or Inspiration?

A pencil and colourful paint brush point in opposite directions
Photo by Jasmine Rock

Over time, I find that I have developed conflicting feelings about the right way to craft an artist statement. Unless I am determined to share facts about the issue that the piece is based on, like the environment, an endangered species, or gender-based violence, I prefer more and more to keep it short and sweet. I always find that conveying what my painting means to me is important, but to be candid, I’d sooner keep the details to myself. I think that's because I'm drawing from my own personal experience when I create. I’m comfortable sharing myself through my art; that adds impact to my work. But when it comes to doing that with words? Somehow, that’s a different story.

Mostly, my intention is to leave my audience with something to learn more about, rather than aiming to teach them something at that moment. When I think of explaining techniques, I find myself asking, “Do people really want to know how I painted this?” I'd rather not go through my artistic process, potentially boring my audience and peers with the information they may already have. I'd much rather offer a few sentences about what actually inspired the moment or subject that I chose to depict.

I want someone to look at my art and like it because it says something to them. I don’t want to dictate what I think they should see, or what aspects of my work they should find most important. I mean, of course, paintings have focal points. But are focal points and favourite points the same? And does the artist get to decide that point for the viewer?

I don’t know if it’s because I’m an artist or a Gemini, or if it’s because I spent the past year reading and being open to everyone else’s expressions and sentiments about how the pandemic has affected them. But lately, I like to hold on to whatever mystery I can in my statements, giving my audience the freedom to use my art as a catalyst to experience whatever they want. I trust them to feel for themselves.


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