Is my artist statement done? A flowchart

I've been in a didactic mood, apparently! So yeah, one of my pet peeves is art writing, particularly artist statements, which I believe get an unfair free pass at being annoying at best, and poorly written pieces of garbage at worst. So to help eradicate the problem and teach myself a new design skill in the process, I've created a helpful flow chart: ArtistStatementFlowChart


You're welcome.

Several artist statements

I’ve never been much for artist statements, but I like the idea of making statements about art, which can be crossed out or refined after further consideration. This is the first one I did. The second draft is currently on display at the Flashpoint show, and was sold on the opening night. Dana Jeri Maier - Statement 1

And, this is more of an artist’s plea (which is not on display):

Statement - Worry

The truth, or at least as close as I can get

The dirty little secret about why I don't update this website very much is not because I'm shy about sharing my work (exact opposite, really; I would plaster anyone's wall with my drawings, given the opportunity) but because I have entirely no idea what to say about what I do, and I'd feel bad about making something up. Seems insincere, after all, and besides which I'm not a good enough liar to make an explanation sound convincing.


All I can say is that like any piece of art, it started from nothing, and then I had a pen and maybe liked the way one shape looked next to another shape, or the way a certain lines had a certain kind of texture, and then all of a sudden there's an image, one that might seem a little sad, or pointless or boring or incomplete, and it's there. And for no particular reason, either, other than a passing inclination that drawing something would be a satisfying use of my time. My question is, and has always been, how is anyone supposed to talk about this? How do you talk about something you do without knowing why you're doing it?

I'm not thinking

For a long time, I found it difficult to draw without listening to an audiobook. Hearing a good story is its own reward of course, but I mostly relied on them as a distraction from my own brain, which was usually hell-bent on questioning why I was bothering to draw in the first place, or wondering why I hadn't accomplished more artistically by now, and while we're on the subject, the picture I was working on isn't turning out very good. Clearly my brain wasn't my friend, so as a means of getting it to shut the hell up, I'd shove it full of Garrison Keillor, or J. K. Rowling (who I am convinced got me through my first year of art school) or any other writer who could focus my attention elsewhere. For those who believe that artists should actually take the time to think about what they're doing, I would have to argue that the exact opposite is true in my case; thinking was probably the best way to ensure that I wouldn't draw a thing.

In the studio the other day, however, it occurred to me that I haven't obsessively listened to audiobooks in awhile, and that I've actually turned a few off on occasion because I did want to concentrate on my work, and consider it without any distractions. It was a gradual process--it's not so much that the concerns my brain used to bring up (accomplishments, quality of work, etc.) weren't valid anymore, but that for whatever reason, I stopped caring about their implications. If one drawing came out poorly, I knew there would always be another one; if I haven't become the next big artist to hit DC, well, that was okay too, because at least I was still doing the sort of work that mattered to me in the first place. There was no "aha!" moment, either--it was just a matter of building up enough evidence to convince me that I was always going to create art, regardless of whatever insecurities happened to arise.