I've been working on my website all week and had to dig around in my old files for this artist statement I did last year. I still really like it, and am posting it here for posterity too.
Some days I have a hard time with artist statements. Most of the time I feel like really good art (or maybe just the kind of art I personally want to create and experience) shouldn't require an explanation, or any sort of wordy accompaniment, that it's purpose is to exist on it's own, autonomous, and that each person who interacts with it has a unique experience.
But I understand that a lot of art is commentary or dialog, a dialog with other art, or art history; or a commentary on politics or culture; and I'll admit that I like that kind of art too, because of course it can have profound intellectual and social merit, and in those cases artist statements can be helpful.
Artist statements exist because you want to know what I was thinking, what I'm trying to say, and what moved me to do this. You want to know what kind of art this is, and that makes sense.
And I guess what it boils down to is that it's personal. This is the essence of every artist statement I've ever written. It's not political, or intellectual . . . ok, I hope it's a little intellectual, but really I made these paintings because this is how I feel about my life. This is also how I escape from my life. Sometimes this is the place I'd rather be, or the anger I can't express, the loneliness of childhood, or the disappointment of adulthood. And sometimes it's just something that makes me happy.
But I can't decide if you should really know that; if you need to know that to enjoy this art. I hope not. I hope you look at it and interact with it on your own, and bring to it all of your own ideas, memories and opinions, and have your own experience.
I don't know what "artist statements" accomplish in this case. What's the point of showing this art? What's the point of putting all this on display for friends and strangers? I don't know...
Maybe because sharing art with people gives it weight, validation, and makes it art. Maybe it's like that tree falling in the woods and no one being there to hear it.
Oh wait, and maybe it's because I'm selling it. I need money, and this stuff can't just sit around my house forever.