Self-flagellation - writing an artist statement

I spent a lot of time working on my artist statement. Their validity is a never ending argument in the art world. In graduate school, my major professor Vernon Fisher had me revise one over and over. It must've taken a couple of semesters before he was pleased with it. It went through seemingly a million revisions. In the end, I'm glad it did.


Painting is changing. The idea of a particular “ism” or school is reminiscent of a flat soft drink. I take several of these historical ideologies and put them in a blender. I serve up an explosive, visual 190 proof margarita (everclear, not tequila) that is excessive and ambitious. It is a hedonistic, long pour that might splash everywhere. (You’re in trouble if you have a paper cut.) The goal is a reaction with every sip from the fishbowl-sized glass.

One special ingredient in this recipe is the narrative cartoon. It is born out of the abstract gesture in a twisted, unstable way. When the blender stops, there will be bits and pieces strewn all over the place.  It is a battle of epic proportions with a multi-pronged attack and a slight tickle.

This cocktail is extremely potent because many of its constituents contrast. They are so wrong together that they start to seem right, combining to create a hostile and humorous expression.  It is like laughing while taking a cold shower. There are no baby-sips. You gulp it down and brace yourself for the brain-freeze.

I came to this concoction scuffling through the liquor cabinets of intuition and art history. You must know how to pick both of these locks. Otherwise, it’s a trip to the lame-ass kitchen. A real walk of shame.