Defining your creative practice is something many people, including me, struggle with. However, in an increasingly brand-aware, online orientated world, it is becoming more and more important to communicate who you are more concisely to a wider audience.
As the quotation goes, creativity knows no bounds; many people who are artistic like experimenting with different mediums, especially at the start of their practice when they are trying to find out what they really like working with. So opting to call yourself a photographer when in 6 months you might be more into oils can seem a little daunting.
I have however, come up with a few tips that could help some of you get started when writing about yourself as an artist, which could then lead on to helping you define yourself in the future and writing an Artist Statement.
(There are also plenty of other web pages and web sites that can help you with this written by people far more knowledgeable than me and I will include them at the bottom of this blog).
- Who, what, where, when, why- it was drilled into me when I was studying journalism, but I think it can be adapted to become relevant to any person wanting to communicate information to an audience.
- Who are you? Simple and easy place to start.
- What do you do? Maybe concentrate on what you are working on now, what project are you working towards? What are you currently experimenting with?
- Where do you tend to work? Are you a studio holder? Where are you based? Do you work internationally? All these things will start building a stronger image of how you work as an artist.
- When have you worked or are you working now? Have you been working for a number of years or are you new to it?
- Why do you do it? Is there a particular driving force behind what you’re doing? Or how you make art?
2. Your Inspiration- This is another way you can help people understand a bit more about your work. Are there any artists you have been particularly inspired by? These don’t have to be famous artists, they could be people you have exhibited with or know from a distance. You could be inspired by certain places or other completely random things that make you unique. It could be as simple as, dare I say, your feelings.
3. Your Achievements- If you have exhibited your work in certain places or had your work printed in publications, it is important to keep a record of this. You might want to select a couple of your proudest achievements to include in a briefer “about me”, or for many, simply listing their achievements by date is enough. Or, if you don’t feel you have many achievements, is there anything you would like to work towards?
4. Your Uniqueness- Possibly the most difficult thing to figure out, but try thinking outside the box. I was once told that I had to prove to an editor why I was the best person to write about a certain subject, perhaps because of my background or my own experiences. This could be helpful to you. If you have had a day job alongside working as an artist, has this influenced you creatively? Have you got other skills that you have been able to thread into your work? In an increasingly digital world, are you more about the basics of painting or drawing? Whatever it is, getting to grips with this will really help you on the way to being able to promote yourself more clearly.
5. Get chatting- I truly think that talking to someone else about your artwork is a great exercise in finding out what you’re all about. I have found through interviewing others, especially artists, they will sometimes say something about their work and in my head I am already imagining it as a huge pull quote on a two page spread. If you find this a bit cringey, you could always record yourself talking about your work and nobody else ever has to listen back to it (although listening to your own voice can be something you have to get used to!). Otherwise if you really struggle defining what you do, perhaps ask other people to do so and go from there.
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