So ... I don't know about you, but the words "tell me a little about yourself" instill terror in my wee little heart. I mean ... seriously, how do you distill a person down to their essence in just a few words? It's not that I can't do it. I've written scores of bios, introductions and speeches for myself and others. I've a file of bios and artist statements on my computer that I can pull from on short notice. But still, I momentarily freeze like a deer in the headlights when asked to say a few words about myself or sit myself down to revise a written bio. It can even be worse to have to respond to the words "tell me about your art."
How do I describe this magic thing I am and that I get to do? I've thought about it over my morning decaf and come up with three reasons behind my fear.
(1) The first is that I want to describe myself and my art perfectly. I don't want it to just sound good, I want it to be bold and true ... I want the words to make me irresistible so that people applaud and share whatever I say like I'm Elizabeth Gilbert or Anne Lamott! Oh, and of course, they'll buy scores of paintings, too. So, perfection and expectations ... there's a pair, for you. If we add in comparison to others and how they describe themselves so brilliantly ... I think we've got the ego trifecta!
(2) The second reason is a matter of translation. My natural language is colour and not words. So when asked to talk about my art I'm translating from something free, made of joy and light ... and feeling and energy and newness to ... mere words, which are defined, bound by manmade rules and well accounted for in dictionaries and thesauruses. I love words, but they don't come from as deep and free a place as my art does. They are more difficult to herd, always wandering off and getting into things, going off on tangents that have to be deleted later ... or worse, just leaving you mid-sentence to stand frozen with your tongue tied.
(3) A misunderstanding of what being a human being and an artist is is the third reason. We are not static beings. We change over time. Our work changes over time. We are forever works in progress, yet still perfectly imperfect in each moment. So as much as I strive to write the mother of all bios or artist statements, ones so fabulous I will never have to revise them again ... that's not going to happen.
Despite these perfectly normal fears, or perhaps because of them, I keep on revising my bios and artist statements. I keep on talking about my work the best that I can ... and I tell myself that I get just a little better at it each time. I feel strongly that it is my responsibility as an artist to be seen and to use words to communicate. I can't get away with just shrugging, looking pained and saying "Oh well, my language is my art. You'll just get my paintings, eh?" Nope, 'not gonna happen.' Because, frankly, no one else is going to do it for me. No one else can. If I can't learn to describe my magic, how in the heck can someone else?
I did promise to actually tell you something about myself, so my most recent revised bio and a brief audio where I talk about my painting process - and grasp for the right pesky words! - follow.
To close this inaugural post I'm offering a set of 4 art postcards to the winner of a random draw that will take place on Monday, August 1st at 12 noon Eastern Time. The images on the cards are of some of my personal favourites available in my shop, and shown at the top of this blog post. To be eligible for the draw, just tell me a little about yourself in a comment below. If for some reason I am unable to contact the winner within 24 hours of the draw, the art postcards will be awarded to a second name drawn. Good luck!
If you have any questions or things you'd be interested in hearing about in future blog posts, let me know that, too.
Until next time!
PS I'm super excited to be bringing the August Collection of 4x24" paintings to you! The Collection will be released in the shop on my website on Tuesday, August 2nd at 12 noon Eastern Time.