Monday, August 23, 2010

Artist Statements: Grant Recipient Samples

Curious about what other artists say about their work?  In preparation for the September 11 Artist Survival Kit workshops "Making a Statement," the following few posts will include actual artist statements from recent OVAC award recipients.  Through seeing these groups of statements, I hope you will see the variety of approaches you can take to writing about your work.  Also, you’ll see the distinctiveness of their descriptions, as distinctive as their artwork.

These artists received grants offered quarterly by OVAC.  They submitted project descriptions, budgets, timelines, artwork images and resumes along with the artist statements.  You’ll notice that their statements connect to a specific project, for which they are proposing.

Eyakem Guiliat, untitled, Archival pigment ink print, 11x14
Eyakem Gulilat (Creative Projects Grant)
“My project is about how identity is formed in the in-between spaces of cross cultural encounter. I gravitate towards communities which are underrepresented and who often do not have a place in main stream media. I treat my camera as a tool that captures one moment of a larger dialogue that occurs between me and my subjects. Using a photojournalistic approach, my art thrives on my interaction with people.

I am driven by curiosity in others. I am interested in knowing people’s stories, and I am especially interested in how these stories play out in the midst of cross-cultural dialogue. As a result, my work often centers around a sort of dichotomy that appears between two distinct groups of people. I wish to understand people’s differences and how they adapt to one another.

I am also influenced by studies of Third Culture and the “inbetweenness” that occurs when people spend a significant amount of time outside of their country of origin. I use my camera as a channel to connect with individuals who find themselves caught between two cultures. My work is most driven by the shifting realities of individuals in an ever globalized world.”
Holly Wilson, Boy's View, Bronze, geode, 4.25x4x4"
Holly Wilson (Creative Project)
“The interaction of people, both real and imagined, inspire my work.  Stories from past to present, dreams and nature are realized through the use of the figure. My Delaware and Cherokee American Indian Heritage is a direct link to the conception of the figures.  My use of line, texture, and color is extracted from nature that relates to my cultural experiences.

The small-scale figurative bronzes, encaustic and drawings are entities that embody the stories and dreams I have shared with my family and heritage.  With this intimacy, the materials and the process involved are a manipulated in a way that both honors the real and the imagined aspecs of my life. The fragments of nature, culture, and family hold the hope, sadness fear and joy that are intertwined into my work.”

MJ Alexander, The Oklahomans: Stonewall, Metallic silver halide prints, 20x30
MJ Alexander (Creative Projects Grant)
“For the past decade, I have photographed the American West with a focus on Oklahoma and Oklahomans. Over the years, I have found that our kids have in common with our oldest citizens, whom I interviewed and photographed for the state’s centennial. Both groups are open, curious, and excited about the future. Like the centenarians, the insights and beauty of the youngest Oklahomans can be overlooked and underappreciated.

The project title – TENTH GENERATION – is inspired by the realization that this year marks 180 years since with the establishment of Indian Territories by the U.S. Congress, creating Oklahoma’s first wave of major settlement. These 21st century children are our Tenth Generation.

Along the way, this project has taken me to meet children, aged 18 to newborn, at noodling holes on the Washita River, a family cemetery with tombstones written in Cherokee syllabary, the fields of the Tallgrass Prairie, the rattlesnake derby in Mangum, the top of Black Mesa, and a wheat farm in Okeene.

I am excited about doing justice to this kaleidoscope of kids and telling of their commitment to tradition – or their determination to break with it. My goal is for this exhibit to serve as both window to and mirror on Oklahoma’s Tenth Generation.”

OVAC’s Artist Survival Kit workshop "Making a Statement" on September 11, noon-3 pm, will guide artists through the dreaded process of writing an artist statement. Wondering why write one, see Alyson Stanfield’s article on Art Biz Blog. Through a series of interactive exercises, artists will leave this workshop with a new or refreshed artist statement.

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