Posts tagged with Artists statements

Artist’s statement

If you ever get the urge to create an artist’s statement, here’s the perfect starting point – the Arty Bollocks Generator. Now let’s see, I think this provides an insight into my creative process:

My work explores the relationship between the tyranny of ageing and life as perfomance.

With influences as diverse as Camus and Eric Cantona, new tensions are generated from both simple and complex meanings.

Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the traditional understanding of relationships. What starts out as triumph soon becomes debased into a cacophony of temptation, leaving only a sense of nihilism and the inevitability of a new synthesis.

As spatial impressions become frozen through emergent and critical practice, the viewer is left with an impression of the edges of our world.

A quick start or the ultimate antidote, as you please.

Via one of many tweets

From the “ooh” school of artists’ statements

Keith Cooper seems sceptical about artists’ statements:

I can remember reading someone’s essay that referenced one of my photos, and wondering if it was actually myself who had taken it. The burnt tree below, seemingly encompasses the eternal interplay of primordial elements or some such.

Actually at 9000 feet on a cold snowy day on Mesa Verde (Colorado), with big storms whizzing about the sky, it’s one of those times when an object (the burnt tree) just fits in with the whole scene. I’d walked several hundred yards up a hill and realised that I should have put a coat on – I was absolutely freezing and remembering that I normally live at sea level and 9000 feet is more than enough to notice the altitude.

Ah, but then the coat must be a metaphor for our human longing for comfort and a greater meaning to existence…. No?

Keep it bsimple

bsimple‘s miminalist web site contains some wonderfully-imaginative “conceptual” photography. It only says that “all images on this website are assembled & printed in a traditional darkroom” and seems to belong to Misha Gordin, a US-based Latvian, who explained his work in this (surprisingly-readable) artist’s statement:

… in my opinion, conceptual photography is a higher form of artistic expression that places photography on the level of painting, poetry, music and sculpture. It employs the special talent of intuitive vision. By translating the personal concepts into the language of photography, it reflects the possible answers to major questions of being: birth, death and life. Creating an idea and transforming it into reality is an essential process of conceptual photography .

Today’s conventional approach, with a few exceptions, completely dominates Art Photography. But introduction of digital photography will change this balance. The ease of producing altered realities will bring a new wave of talented artists who will use it to express their special world of visions, with all its more…

Rebekka Gudleifsdottir

Rebekka Gudleifsdottir is further proof that while Icelanders are few in number there’s an awful lot of creativity bubbling away on that small island:

All photographs are taken by myself (also the ones with me in them) and all post-processing is done by me.
I am self-taught.
I decided to become a photographer in May of 2005.
There is nothing I would rather do.

Now that’s an artist’s statement.

Her self-portraits are outstanding, and more are at her blog which is sadly rather quiet – after all, I like ranters and not every blog has tales of eating sheep’s eyes and other things Icelanders do.

A life transcended….

I’ve received a few nice words – and cheeky wind-ups – about my artists’ statements hall of fame, so if you’re thinking of writing one yourself, here’s another great example:

My fervent wish is to collect the light of the world and combine it with the light within to create a magical perception of my perspective on living. In words and pictures I mold an idealistic (and surrealistic) view of the world within my grasp. The work is incomplete until I can share it and pass the wonder on to the next soul.

I set out seeking for light and, yang to its yin, darkness….

Tao, Chi, Eek

Andy Ilachinski’s site is rather cluttered and could do with the clean approach he applies to his lovely minimalist images. They’re grouped under “Entropic Melodies – Life in lifelessness” and “Timelessness Impermanence – Transient realities”, and there’s an artist’s statement too:

My imaging philosophy combines my training as a theoretical physicist, my interest in Taoist philosophy, and my love of photography as a penetrating art form: I strive to capture the subtle, interconnected web of Ch’i /energy that makes up what we “call” the world.

In the same way as all “objects” in this world are fundamentally impermanent, and essentially arbitrary, partitions of an otherwise continuous, unfragmented whole, photography is –for me– a mystical process whereby the veils of illusory fragmentation are momentarily lifted and the underlying immaterial essence of the universe is revealed.

Update: Also see Andy’s blog.

You are perusing the photographic works of…

Eric Fredine has some fine minimalist photos of the Canadian prairies, his home area. But:

The formal structure of my photographs is overt. A reflection of an ordered, somewhat austere and even minimalist aesthetic. But its [sic] also a source of emotional power by emphasizing the transient nature of the moment. My photographs, like all photographs, are a point of view cropped from time and place – exploiting that unique characteristic of the photographic medium – it’s [sic] inherent relationship to that particular time and place.

OK, it isn’t quite the Latin-infested gibberish that’s the badge of a true artist’s statement. But the site is in that category because, not for the first time with such high-faluting stuff, it makes me ask why those who adorn their snaps with big words can’t get their apostrophes right too?


I think it’s time for another batch of artists statements….

Gary Treadwell‘s site contains some lovely b&w pictures – look for the small and rather faint navigation buttons. But:

I am interested in exploring the ‘innerness’ of things, their presence and existance [sic] in our visual language.

Found via the ever excellent Black and White Photography magazine.

Almost blue

Not yet read this PDF file The Art of Proofing by John Paul Caponigro, but it looks interesting. I always prefer his photographs to his Latin-soaked writing (see his mission statement), and his site probably has plenty of interesting new work like this Antarctica shot, though for some odd reason his pictures are now in pdf files and I couldn’t be bothered going through them all. I’ll update this post after I meet my deadline – I’m sure the article will be thoughtful:

Proofing : Evaluating an image printed on a particular substrate*, making adjustments, reprinting, re evaluating the image, and repeating until optimum results are achieved. Some think it?s a lost art. It?s not. Some aren’t aware that they?re doing it. You probably are. If you?re not doing proofing, it?s highly likely that you could make even better prints. If you are proofing, you?ll find that structuring and refining your proofing process will have many beneficial effects on the print quality you achieve.

* most of us call it “paper”.

Purple haze

Googling “artists statement photography transcend” produced this (warning 1990s-era web design):

Michael was born with a spiritual energy called Kundalini. All religions ultimately work with the same underlying spiritual energy. Kundalini is concerned with spiritual energy that transcends religious divides. Spiritual energy is (at least) partly sexual, in a broad sense of the word. It is this spiritual energy that is the creative driving force behind Michael’s work. In this sense, the energy does not ‘belong’ to Michael, but is transmuted (or chanelled) by Michael, into creative form/s.


Googling “artist’s statement photography mantra” found this:

I create because I must. To exist without producing, without leaving a mark of some significance somewhere – whether mysterious, monumental, magnanimous or merely modest – would be a life unlived. My art is fueled by sporadic upwellings of urgent energy that percolates from somewhere within.

Far too direct

Another artist’s statement, and some amusing blog entries too:

Vigorously avoiding pretentious sentences beginning with subordinate clauses, all the while eschewing obfuscation, J.E. Simmons presents his Artist’s Statement thusly: The world’s a bomb. Here are some interesting little bits of it. Look, don’t read – the prints, not words, are the presentation.


Star Trek?

Another artist’s statement:

Photography gives me the experience of feeling close to the source. It is in discovering and creating images that make possible a deeper connection with the power, poetry and divinity found in nature. Although there may be many ways to synchronize with the rhythm of the universe, I have chosen to do it looking through a camera.


Sod house to fine art

Another artist’s statement, this one’s great:

Roger Moore was born in a sod house in the Texas Panhandle where nothing separated him from the North Pole but a barbed wire fence. At age five, he was stolen by gypsies and sold to a circus. He spent the next five years carrying water to the elephants and running errands for the tattooed man and the painted lady whose bodies were colorful canvasses — the original stimulus for Roger’s interest in art….


An artist’s statement:

I’ve always been fascinated by maps. Their blankness charts place but not time, leaving room to imagine weather, the smell of the air, the color of the sky. As a kid, I would trace the colored lines from the Midwest where I lived as they escalated in density towards the coasts. Trying to translate cartography into reality filled my imagination with mythical images the way a good novel leaves the inner eye free to visualize the world hinted at in black and white….

Or just lost?


An artist’s statement:

Once printed, I then personally mount each print on foam-core or other high-quality backing board, double mat with acid-free matting, and hand sign every piece that I display to insure its quality.

Now that’s not how it’s supposed to be done.

Trancendental release

An artist’s statement:

I believe a successful artist never “captures” a moment but actually “releases” it to others. With my photography, (both black & white and Polaroid) I strive to transcend the documentary nature of the format by the sheer force of the experience. My work is both reflection and expression in that I do not aim or plan a shot, but instead allow myself to be found within it as it occurs….


It found me

An artist’s statement:

I’m often asked, “Where did you get that idea?” I reply, “Where do ideas come from?” But I secretly wonder if I should ask, “How did that image find me?”

Inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Influence is incessant. Amid the myriad impressions and experiences I am subject to, I try to find the eye of the storm, that special place where inspiration rings clearly and purely. It is in these transcendent moments that I feel we are able to access our fullest potential and are able to come in contact with the greater mysteries of life.

I strive to find points at which their union can bring a synergistic effect – where the limits of each can be transcended through the other….

This one has been lovingly refined – in fact the site contains 10 statements in all.

Intelligent design

An artist’s statement:

“Early in my life I turned to the motherhood of nature for my personal and spiritual growth. This relationship with the natural world has by my lifeblood. I am drawn to places of mystery where I feel at peace with the power of the Earth’s spirit.

Over the years, I have learn [sic] to use my photography as a voice for the gospel of nature. It is my goal and mission to communicate the mysterious connections we all share with this land having chosen to be a portrait photographer of God’s creations. I will continue to practice ways that bring us a little closer to the spirit of nature.”

So uplifting! From here.

Mission statements of the absurd

You could say I’m a bit slow spotting this, but back in 1998, Afterimage Gallery’s owner made some recommendations for photographers’ websites that still hold true:

Pompous artist’s statements: Get rid of those long, rambling poorly written statements that take you days to write and end up saying nothing of substance. The worst offenders are landscape photographers; no one gains oneness with the universe by looking at your picture of a rock. People really say things like this! Most all these statements I read are all similarly metaphysical and preposterous. Often artists’ statements are indeed necessary, but sometimes simple facts or biographical information will suffice. Assuming he would hear something profound, an interviewer once asked the late Imogen Cunningham what thoughts go through her mind when she trips the shutter. She replied that she simply thinks to herself, “I got it!”

He also includes must-have words for your artist’s statement: universal, all-encompassing, transcendent, mystical, deepening, glowing, unchanging, photographic, visionary, luminous, spiritual, life-affirming, artistic, intrinsic, insight, reality, perception, experience, concept, unveiling, realization. But what about pre-visualize?

Let me know if you find wonderful examples more…