Does Anyone Care About Artist Statements?

It’s the last day of March and I’m going to do something I rarely do; rant.
My rant is about artist’s statements. Who reads these things? I ask because whenever I come across advise for artists on how to gain more exposure and look more professional, it’s always suggested to write a wonderful, indepth artist statement on your background, explaining why you create, what inspires you, what are you trying to express and how you do your work. This sounds great and all, but who are the people who want to know this stuff because I’ve never met them.

I’ve been selling my art seriously now since the summer of 2015 and honestly, not one person has ever asked me “So, what inspires you?” No one has ever directly asked me, messaged me, DM’d me or tweeted me “What are you trying to convey with you work?” Matter of fact when it comes to the artists whose work I absolutely love, I don’t even think about these things, their work just captures my attention and if I want to see more I try to find out whether they have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instragram account or a mailing list. And that’s it. I’m not wondering, “Hmmm, I wonder why this artist creates?”

When people do ask me questions they’re rather practical questions like, how much does this cost, do you do commissions, can you draw my dog, do you do tattoos or can you make a t-shirt? I even have analytics that track engagement on my website and about twice a year somebody clicks on my About page and surprisingly that’s more than my FAQ page. People generally just look at my work, buy something, sign up for my newsletter or leave.

So this leaves me to wonder, who are these people who read artist statements? Artists are always encouraged to create a statement but who reads these things and who actually cares? Are artist statements still important in this digital age where people can just follow your work online or subscribe to your mailing list? Maybe because I’m an independent artist who deals directly with the people who buy my work that this doesn’t seem to play a big role or appears all that important. Maybe if I was pitching my work to galleries it would be useful. I really don’t know. Maybe somebody has some insight to this, which I would welcome any enlightenment on, but for now, I have this seemly arbitrary About page on my website that tries to answer all these questions that no one ever asks.

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About This Weekend

Saginaw Chippewa Annual PowWow

I can’t say I got any work done this weekend. So I don’t have any finished drawings or anything new to show. Instead this weekend my in laws and I took a trip to the Saginaw Chippewa Annual Powwow. This is kind of a thing for me since I like to get out and experience something different every now and then.
Last time I went to the powwow was back in 2016. This time I invited my hubby’s family along for the adventure. We all had a good ol’ time despite the husband and I ending up quite exhausted from cleaning house, preparing food, driving (it was a two hour hike both ways) and grilling food once we got back. The family has decided that they want to make this a yearly thing. My hubby says I’ve created a monster. Oh well, it’s all good to get out and expand our horizons. I guess we’ll all be doing it on a yearly basis now. 😊

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the few years that I have been sharing and selling my art I’ve been asked various questions about what I do from loyal collectors, other artists and those who are just curious. Most are quite innocent, some are rather inquisitive and occasionally a bit obnoxious like “Did you really draw that?” Thank goodness thought bubbles don’t appear over my head during such moments. But most people tend to ask me the same basic questions so I thought I’d put together this rather short list of my most frequently asked questions.

1. How long does it take for you to do a drawing?
Actually it depends on the size of the drawing, the complexity of the subject, my schedule and whether I’m doing the drawing in just black ink or in color. Taking all of that into consideration, a drawing can take me from 3 days to 4 weeks to complete.

2. What pens do you use?
For the most part I use Pigma Microns with 0.20mm or 0.18mm nibs. I like these pens because the ink in them are permanent and archival. Plus they’re relatively cheap compared to technical pens which can be rather expensive. Twice I spent up to $40 on a technical pen only to have issues with ink flow or a broken nib. After that I switched to Microns and haven’t used a technical pen since. I have to admit though, technical pens produce more uniformed and crisp dots when it comes to stippling.

3. What paper do you use?
When it comes to paper, I’m all about the pounds. I’ve found that for the work that I do paper that is smooth and 80 lbs or more works best.
All of my art card drawings are done on Strathmore Bristol art cards which are 100lbs. Larger black ink drawings are done on Strathmore natural white 80lb drawing paper while my color drawings are done on Strathmore bright white 100lb Bristol board. The bright white brings out the colors more and the heavier weight is able to withstand the layering of color that needs to be done.

4. How long have you been drawing?
Well, unlike most artists who usually answer this question with “I’ve been drawing since I was three.” I was a late bloomer in this respect. I mean, yes, like most kids in elementary I played with crayons and drew houses, Big Bird and what not but it wasn’t until I took my first art class during my senior year in high school that I discovered I had a knack for this drawing thing. I was 17 and up until I took that art class, I wanted to write. Matter of fact, I still have my very first 50 page short story that I wrote back when I was 13.
Anyhoo, it was in that class that I was introduced to stippling and over the years, whenever I did a drawing it was done using this technique but I didn’t officially start to get serious about my work until the summer of 2015. So, in a nutshell I’ve been drawing for over two decades but seriously and consistently for three years.

5. Where do you get the patience from?
I have absolutely no idea. I assume it’s part magic and part insanity. ☺

6. Can you draw me?
Yes, of course. It will cost you….(Once I bring up cost the conversation usually stops.)

7. Can you design a t-shirt/tattoo for me?
I could but it’s not my field of expertise. If I do it will cost you…(Once again conversation ends.)

This Growing Season

Lemon Balm

This year the hubby and I are having what I’m calling an “off year” for growing. It wasn’t something we planned or decided on. Rather, due to weather and a bit of procrastination, it just kinda happened. First off a late frost threw us off schedule. Then we got a lot of rain through May and the early part of June. My favorite thing to grow are herbs and jalapenos. While the rain wouldn’t have bothered the herbs much, it would have made some “duds” out of the jalapenos. Too much water effects the capsaicin, the compound in peppers that give them their heat. Hot, dry climates create a beneficial stressor which activates the capsaicin. The more water a jalapeno plant absorbs the more it will taste like a green bell pepper rather than spicy flames in your mouth.
It hasn’t been particularly hot and dry in our neck of the woods so we held off getting starters to do any planting. By doing so we missed out. This year we went to our usual gardening center to get starters only to discovered it had been picked clean. Fortunately the hubby was able to get a few tomato plants from a co-worker since his thing is growing tomatoes.

So as I mentioned before, I like to grow herbs, particularly those from the mint family, which tend to come back on their own. But as I’ve discovered, they can be pretty invasive. Last year my garden bed had lemon balm, chocolate mint, apple mint and anise hyssop. This year the lemon balm turned into pac man and completely took over the whole bed. It now looks more like a shrub than an herb plant. Luckily I managed to get a good cutting of the apple mint before the lemon balm devoured everything. So for this growing season it’s just two tomato plants, some apple mint and this monster of lemon balm.

Apple Mint

Actually not doing much this year is a welcomed break. Last year we went overboard and grew way more than we could possibly use. We were up to our eyeballs in tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, lettuce and herbs. Lets just say my poor hubby heard a lot of fussing from me. There’s only so much salad, salsa and tomato jam a woman can eat. So this year we’ve decided to keep things small from now on for both our sanity. 😊

Found some clover in our backyard. Hope this brings some good luck. 😊

Another Year Under My Belt

Is there a remedy for cookie hangovers? It’s my birthday and I’ve eaten way too many of these things… topped with ice cream. (Yes, I know, I’ve completely regressed into a 12 year old kid.) Dear Double Chocolate Chip cookie…”I wish I knew how to quit you”. 😳