NYFA asks artists to submit a 200-word artist statement in application for their Fellowships. Here’s mine:
Three years ago, after working as a professional art critic for 20 years (Art in America, TimeOut New York, the NYPost), I returned to my artmaking roots and began this steady notebook practice. Each book is titled differently, albeit absurdly (Wagu Beef; I don’t want to believe everything I think); maintains a standard Moleskin size of 8.25” x 5”; and is limned only with a Pentel 007 Fine Point office pen. Working chiefly on the subway and in transit, I concern myself with aural and visual “frottage” in the surround—stuff I overhear other passengers say; the jumpy movement of the train as it jars my hand; lots and lots of graffiti (I love the way it ‘ruins’ the landscape). William Anastasi and his ‘cab’ drawings inspire me, as does Leonardo daVinci and his famously drawn scientific discoveries. Part draftswoman, part savvy girl reporter, I record all the news that’s not-yet-fit to print. My Unconscious draws it now, my mind understands it later. Now that’s true “journal-ism.” I later photograph my notebooks as casual “selfies” against a backdrop of my own past paintings, thus creating ‘real’ art. Personal graffiti for art market consumption.
That’s 200 words exactly.
It is a highly competitive environment here in NYC, and I know many people submitting in the ‘same’ categories this year. All have been very gracious about their chances of winning. Many said to me, “Why don’t you apply?.” I thought: “Well, what if I challenged myself to write the same succinct text for my own work?” I also figured that it’s only fair that I be willing to roll up my sleeves, too. So that’s my quickie, above.
Okay, let’s get into writing mode for a sec:
Suppose NYFA was 225 words and not 200? That would be extra luxurious! I would use that real estate to make two more very necessary points, inserting a parenthetical phrase into my pre-existing text:
1)… I later photograph my notebooks as casual “selfies” against a backdrop of my own past paintings (as well as others in my collection), thus creating ‘real’ art. (7 words)
2) And an extra sentence: “I also take “selfies” in my bedroom and other personal spaces in my family’s one-bedroom, Brooklyn apartment.“ (17 words)
An artist statement can’t say everything. But it can say something worth saying.
Thanks for reading my extra 24 words.