I’m the King of Jubilee Jumbles

artist Nayland Blake natters on about art and other things

Archive for January 2005

Doing my part…

with 33 comments

…to make thornyc‘s life a little more bearable:

Tonight I’m going to be part of an event at Artists’ Space: a workshop on writing statements. I thought I’d post the handout I drafted for it.

Some quick notes on artists’ statements

1.Tell the truth. Describe your work, and your life as it is, not as you think someone wants to hear it to be. Don’t anticipate your reader’s biases.
2.Write often. Get into the habit of writing about what you do on a regular basis. It will give you much more material to pick from when the time comes for you to make a formal statement.
3.Rewrite often. It’s much easier to edit and rewrite an existing piece than it is to generate something new on deadline. Revising allows you to sharpen ideas and cut out redundancies. Allow yourself to make messy first drafts and then go back into them.
4.Use specific examples. Watch out for generalities about your work. If you want to make a point about how an idea functions for you, show how it functions in a specific piece. Don’t feel like what you have to say has to be equally true of everything you make. Practice describing pieces as if your audience was sightless.
5.Use history sparingly Don’t assume that everyone will know what you mean when you refer to the work of other artists or artistic movements: their ideas my well be antithetical to yours and your point may be lost.
6.Big words do not make your work look better, or make it any more meaningful.
7.Phrases to watch out for:
a.“As a…” often used to sneak in biographical information and as justification for the work, i.e.: “As a veteran my work is concerned with the ideologies of bodily distress…”, “as a volcano survivor I want my pieces to have a certain vibrancy…” Find another way to tell people who you are and why you do what you do.
b.“The viewer is invited…” or any of its variations. Often folks use this to try to force people into a specific experience of the work. It begs the questions How and Why is the viewer invited.
c.“Interest, interesting, interests…” Try writing about your enthusiasms rather than your interests.
d.“The body…” Resist the temptation to make an idea sound more theoretical by sticking the word “the” in front of it. Always ask yourself “which body, or whose body.”

Finally, imagine that you are writing in sand, not carving in stone. Your artist’s statement is not a contract made for all eternity: it is a snapshot of your thinking about your practice at a specific moment.

Nayland Blake

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January 26, 2005 at 11:59 am

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All I want…

with 45 comments

Saturday, February 5, will be my 45th birthday.

I’ve seen folks post wish lists on here before; here’s mine, which is short.

If you have the impulse to get me something for my birthday, I’d like you to make something.

Don’t make me something, just create something for yourself: a collage, a drawing, a mailbox, a new hat. Make something by hand for you to have in your life. Let go of any judgements you have about your artitistc ability or being good enough, just spend some time making something.

That would mean the world to me.

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January 26, 2005 at 10:41 am

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Artistic role model dept…

with 6 comments

There’s a new Marianne Faithful album out.


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January 25, 2005 at 11:07 pm

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The new world order….

with 13 comments

I’m shocked to see no oscar nomination anywhere for Fahrenheit 9/11.

I mean, I think Michael Moore is a showboating bully, who I wouldn’t want to spend any time with, but are you gtoing to tell me that Andrew LLoyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera (three nominations) or Tupac – Ressurection are more worthy of notice?

Is this the gesture that will lay the myth of the liberal media to rest at last?

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January 25, 2005 at 11:01 am

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Protected: Hunkered down…

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January 23, 2005 at 10:45 am

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“I know you like to line dance…

with 20 comments

…with everything
so democratic and cool
But baby
There’s no guidance
When random rules…”

Scattered, scattered thoughts.

So here they are: randomly.

Current art education is utterly without method in the true sense of the word Currently most curriculums are simply habitual, based on the habits of generations of art teaching. They are not based on a philosphy mostly because the the current philosophy of art is hoplessly muddled. If I wanted to figure out a curriculum for artists I would do well to ask the question what do artists need to know? Any attempt to answer that question leads us into the quagmire of further question like what are artists actually doing, how might we imagine that changing over the course of their lives, etc.
I was thinking about this today on the way to work in the following manner: what about skill and what about talent? We assume that an artist needs both, and that we can teach skill but not that talent is innate. So in part, the relative importance that we assign to either of those two determines how much we can teach an artist, and what we need to teach them. Since the romantics we have come to value the talent side more and more and yet created more official structures for imparting training for artists, So in a way we’ve created a big apparatus for teaching people something that we’re not sure they actually need.
I’m trying to to think about skill these days, primarily as the result of drawing more.

– – –

I’m very happy for all my friends who went to MAL, and it’s been a treat to read about people’s rich experiences there. But often over the past weekend I found myself twitchy about the whole thing. I don’t have particulalry good feelings about circuit gatherings of any kind -some of it is my stupidly reflexive behavior that leads me to position myself outside of any group I find myself in – and I’m particulary ambivalent about the leatherverse, which of course doesn’t really exist as any sort of coherent entity, but like most myths, does exhert a kind of ideological force. This weekend I began contemplating initating something I called F.U.K. for the Fellowship of Unaffilated Kinksters: kinky people who don’t belong to any major organization, and yet would like to find a way to meet others. I don’t need to be reminded of the absurdity of creating a group for lone wolves…

– – –

I have a suspicion that my therapist is sneaking koan study into our sessions…

– – –

More TV is going on in my life, which means that I now wish Jay would stop wearing the stupid scarves and I wish Austin would just stop period.

enough for now.

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January 20, 2005 at 2:12 pm

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Protected: State of shock…

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January 19, 2005 at 2:17 pm

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