Monday, June 10, 2013

Passion to Profile

[Editor's note: As usual, Kris explains words in bold type in an earlier post.]

I appreciate artist statements because writing one can be a meditation that deepens an understanding of and commitment to one’s art. It may be new information for you that an artist statement describes the essence of your passion for creating in PMC. Many artists find their statement hard to write; regardless, it is an essential item in your marketing collateral. It is often requested and needed for call-for-artists, for some contests, and for buyers featuring your work, to name a few. It may be hard to write because it means crossing a huge chasm — from passion to profile. And sharing your passion in a statement is a setup for vulnerability.

It puzzles me how hard it is for artists to elicit and express what attracts them to their art and creating, what excites them at a core level, and what truly motivates them. Does it take sitting on a meditation cushion and contemplating one’s navel? Does it require a guru to ask unanswerable questions? My complaint has to do with this mystery. My request for change is this: Let’s make an exercise for this internal quest, for searching our soul, for self discovery. Okay. Here it is, a modified version of a process called Core Transformation (see note 1).

Take a moment to relax and turn inward. Think about a recent time in which you were creating something and had a moment of pure appreciation and/or excitement about what you were doing. As you relive the experience, notice your internal images, sounds, and feelings. Recognize that a part of you sought out this experience in advance and made it happen. Get to know this part of you. Obviously, this part has positive intentions, and you could thank this part for being within you.
Go inside and ask this part of you "What do you want for me?"  After you ask this question, relax and notice what response you get back from that part of yourself.
Note the part’s response here.   1_______________________
Thank that part for its response and then ask it, “If you could have [insert 1 from above]  fully and completely, what do you want that’s more important?”
Note the part’s response here.   2_______________________
Thank that part for its response and then ask it, “If you could have [insert 2 from above]  fully and completely, what do you want that’s even more important?”
Note the part’s response here.   3_______________________
Thank that part for its response and then ask it, “If you could have [insert 3 from above]  fully and completely, what do you want that’s even more important?”

You get the idea by now. Keep going until no other answer appears and you get to a response that is more of a state of being, such as inner peace, love, okayness, or oneness. A state of being is not a specific emotion, such as delight or joy. You’ll feel totally relaxed here, and there might be a sense that if you could maintain this state of being, then your whole life would be different. 

Now you have some notes that are actually a tangible explanation and expression of the essence of your work and passion. Ask yourself some why questions about particulars, such as, "Why am I drawn to silver?" Draft your statement using these notes, making sure you answer these questions.

Who is the artist?
What does the artist create and what is his/her medium?
Why does the artist make the art?
Where does the artist make the art?
When does the artist make the art?
How does the artist make the art?

You will need six versions of an artist statement. Cindy Kittredge (note 2) says you need a long version (no longer than one typewritten page), a medium length version (one to two paragraphs), and a short version (25-30 words). I’ve discovered that you need each of these written in first person and third person. Thus, six total.

My hope is that you share your first few drafts with a friend or family member. This helps with the vulnerability aspect. What that person can do that lets you know they love you is give you their opinion, since you asked. What you can do that lets them know you love them is thank them and truly consider their feedback. Re-write your statement and share with another friend or family member. Five to seven rewrites is adequate. Stay true to yourself in each one, which will be easy because of the work you’ve done.

1  NLP process and book by Connirae Andreas called Core Transformation:  Reaching the Wellspring Within.

2  Dr. Edrienne L. Kittredge, author of Artrepreneurship: Sustaining the Creative Life and creator of the “Artrepreneur’s Tool Box.”

Photos and Text by Kris A. Kramer


SurfCitySue said...

It shouldn't be a mystery to you. You write very well. You can analyze this yourself. For instance, just answer this question, "What inner drive led you to write this article?"
It's no different for an artist who paints pictures, or who makes jewelery, it is the same drive that comes from within, it is just a different genre.

SurfCitySue said...

uh, oh, I misread your article, silly me. Just ignore previous comment, thanks!

thesilverpendant said...

That's funny. I will keep the compliment and great question--don't want to ignore those! Kris