artist statement

comatose progress comatose

Comatose charcoal on hot press paper 24″x36″

i have a love-hate relationship with artist statements.  its right up there with resumes, & self-evaluations.  sometimes it seems making the piece was easier to create than that short statement that’s adjacent to your work.  it always feels more like a psychological test than a simple explanation of intent.  youre damned if you over simplify your objective, & youre damned if you dont at least try to convey that there was even a slight fleeting thought that motivated it.  i like to learn from the statement the medium used when installations seem effortless or on the flip-side, incomprehensibly complex.  other times, i read it to verify that what i got out of the work is what the artist intended me to get out of it… but thats the funny thing about art — once its created, it really doesnt matter what you meant to say, because people take it how they want to take it.  they appreciate it, or depreciate it as they see fit.  sometimes i think art can do without the statements entirely, and other times i wish they were more upfront.

my final college body of work was based around this internal struggle i had, about how what i make can be conceived, then perceived, any which way.  i wanted to create images that motivated the viewer to draw on prior experiences, memories, or maybe just their gut, and build a narrative around what they see.  their own biases fill in the gaps.

my work also ventured into role reversal, and playing with tensions either via body language, juxtaposition of figures, or the building up of pigment on the paper.

i suppose what i just wrote could function as an artist statement, and it actually may be a lot better than the ones i submitted for grades along with my art, because its candid.  either way, purging/sharing my struggles and successes will help me in the long run.

– mm.

rainy day fund

9 rainy day fundRainy Day Fund oil on canvas

So here’s a little more about me as an artist.  This is the piece that was reviewed in the Honolulu Star Advertiser (unfortunately they don’t provide the access to the archives freely on the internet) & was a part of the HI/NY show in 2013.

It ties in to a greater body of work, my senior portfolio for graduation, but this piece is important to me because it’s kind of the “in your face” work to disprove any prior doubts classmates and other professors had in me.  Prior to my final semester at UH i had a very grueling one with a professor who is a credible, well-connected artist, but didn’t help me grow & improve, which i think is one of the biggest sins an educator can commit.  That’s not to say i wasn’t trying to learn, just, her criticism came without other outlets, lacking inspiration for me to look to.

Now people not from an art community can argue, “well art is subjective, so what does she know?”  Even i have asked myself that.  People have a love/hate relationship for art they don’t understand, & it’s all about the “individual experience” someone has with a piece, so supportive friends and family asked, “how can she judge your work as bad?

And who knows, maybe it still is “bad art.”  What do i know?  But the biggest criticism i faced, was that my work was too “stylistic.”  Now, after being told this, naturally, i inquired about what she meant.  nothing was ever clear enough for me to fix. i looked it up in the dictionary, googled images for examples, asked other artists, other professors, asked writers, family members; no one had the same definition, or explanation of what made my work too stylistic.

So that brings me to my final semester, feeling defeated, & completely out of place.  what was i doing graduating with a BA in art, when everything was too “stylistic”?? thankfully, my final professor in college pulled me out of my funk.  she always had new suggestions, specific criticisms that i could actually work with.  telling me my proportions are off is something i can fix.  suggesting i build layers of charcoal more in certain areas to create intensity is something i can work with.

this piece was shown alongside an abstract piece done by my critical professor.  i am proud of what i’ve done, because it is an example of my ability to adapt, & is proof that with help, i can make worthwhile art.

i hope you enjoyed the little back story to this painting :]

– mm.

idle hands

let’s be honest, since graduation there’s been nothing to compel me to break out my galkyd, brushes, primed canvases, and sit down to paint.  there’s no pressing deadlines, the fear of harsh critiques, or anyone to demand something “less stylistic” this time, or “less melodramatic”.

i need to be my own motivation.
thus, trusty blog, you shall be my critic, mentor, & competition.

be patient, for i am ever so rusty..