Artist Statement Planning

We got given several questions to help us with the planning of the artist statement to give ideas and clues as to what we should be writing;

What is my work?

What does it look like?

  • Large forest, lake, small partially derelict house (painting).
  • The painting is of a large forest coming out of a lake next to a partially derelict house.

How was it made?

  • Layers of oil paint to create the depth of the forest on a canvas (primed with gesso).
  • Layers of oil paint have been used to create the depth of the forest on a primed canvas (with pieces of found bark and moss to create the textures found in this environment).

What materials have you used?

  • Canvas, oil paint, turpentine (turps), (maybe bark and moss?).
  • The materials of canvas, oil paint, bark and moss have been used throughout the painting.

What processes were involved in the making?

  • Making of the canvas, 2. Primed with gesso, 3. Drawing, 4. Painting.
  • The processes that were involved in the making of the painting include that of building the canvas and priming it. The painting upon layers of painting creates the depth of a large and swallowing forest. (The extra pieces of bark and moss were added for texture and effect before the last few layers of paint were added.)


Can you summarise the main ideas behind your work?

  • (Coming from the text) What way is up?
  • Through the painting, I wish to confuse the viewer as to which way is up, and which version is real. This leads to much bigger questions such as the question as to determine what we see is real, or an illusion. Another main idea behind the painting is that of nature and the way in which humans are always, inevitably, connected to it.

What interests you about work of this type?

  • It is very free, but also leaves very unanswerable questions.
  • This type of work and the materials used are very freeing and are very much connected to nature. (I found the use of the twigs and moss further interconnected to and connected with the main ideas of nature

What themes, ideas and concerns does your work uniquely consider?

  • Derelict buildings, ‘hillbilly’, deep wilderness of America, linking back to nature.
  • I looked at the general themes and ideas of the deep wilderness of America and the traditional ‘hillbilly’ Americans. I considered these, and the ideas and also concerns of derelict buildings, as these are often at the forefront of how humans and nature interconnect and how man is destroying this connection, and nature is once again taking it.

Is there an ‘intention’ behind the work?

  • No, not an intentional intention.
  • (*No comment in the artist statement*?)

What do you want the work to achieve?

  • A moody, yet calm and serene atmosphere/mood.
  • I would like the work to achieve a moody, yet calm and serene atmosphere. I also aim to get the viewer to ask the same questions that I asked as I was creating the work about nature and humanity.

Is there a connection between your materials, process and your main idea?

  • (use of wood, twigs and moss? – literally re-using the forest/copying the top to the bottom with the trees, house and water/which way is up?)
  • One of the main ideas what the question as to which way is up, which is connected to the process of painting. To create the same process top and bottom, I had to turn the canvas over several times to repeat the mark making.

How have you researched it?

Which artists and art works have you looked at the have informed your work?

  • Elizabeth Magill
  • Mike Kus
  • Pete Gilbert
  • Caia
  • Peter Doig
  • Alex Hartley
  • Anseln Kieter
  • Anthony Gormley
  • Neo Rauch
  • Zeng Fanzhi
  • Looking at multiple artists, I grew a portfolio that enabled me to paint comfortably in different styles. I was influenced by artists such as Neo Rauch for his varying colour scheme from vibrant yellows to dull browns, and the way in which Peter Doig paints trees and the objects in and around them.

Which films have you watched that informed your work?

  • Under the Skin
  • Under the Skin, a 2014 film, inspired me with the dark forest, as much of the film is set in a large forest with unknown events happening all around the central character. I wished to create the same atmosphere in my work as the atmosphere that was created throughout the film.

What have you been reading or discussing that might inform your work?

  • Shed Porn
  • What painting is by James Elkins
  • Through reading different texts including What is Painting by James Elkins, I began the thought process of “Which way is up?”. A question that he, himself, asks within the text. Through the medium of painting, creating this was difficult, however it raises that exact question of “Which way is up?”. Shed Porn was also a book that I gained inspiration from to produce the design for the small shed within the painting. Within this book, you get taken around the world with different sheds, some being built with boats, and some on cliff edges. The photography from the book inspired the design of the shed.

Are there particular theories, artists or schools of thought relevant to your work?

  • .
  • (*No comment in the artist statement*?)


We also got given hints and tips about what how we should write;

  • Be clear. Use plain English as far as possible unless you are dealing with specific concepts, and explain them briefly. Don’t use complex or specialist language necessarily.
  • Accuracy. Don’t dress your work up to be something that it’s not. An accurate statement about good work that deals with a relatively simple idea is much between than trying to make something appear clever by dressing it in hyperbole.
  • Say what you see. It can be helpful to refer to any physical qualities of your work in reference to the conceptual ones. Explain the decisions that you made about how the work took shape and why you made them.
  • Stick to your subject. Your subject is your practice. The purpose of the artist statement is to talk in a focused way about your practice, not wider philosophical questions or concepts.
  • Objectivity. Use of superlatives and grand claims when describing your work will do you no favours. Try to be objective or at least use objective language when describing your own work. (What my concerns are? Do not add in what I feel about the painting/how I feel it went.)

1 thought on “Artist Statement Planning

  1. Pingback: Painting Process | Charlotte Abraham Art

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