Artist Statements

I’m in the middle of putting a submission together to have some of my work exhibited at a local coffee shop/art gallery. Its a small series I recently sequenced together while doing some print exchanges with some amazing photographers across the globe (Literally across the globe, I think I actually sent out more international packages than anything else). This afternoon I sat down with the intention to write an artist statement for the pieces I’m submitting.

The whole task of writing artist statements is a new one for me. Before this last year I really just created art to create, and had very vague understandings of my reason for any of it. However, as of late I’ve began diving into the why’s of what I’m doing. If I’m completely honest, I’ve just now began dissecting what it is I’m saying with my work, and what it is that draws me to a scene.

I’ve “successfully” written two other artist statement in the past year. The first was for a photo that will be featured in this falls release of the Film Shooters Collective NSEW vol 3, a collaboration book featuring analog photographers from across the globe. The second was more of an artist intent for the residency Emily & I attended for two weeks in Maine this summer. But even these statements were accomplished with much guided help from my wonderful bride, who in her time as an artist has written countless statements.

I simply share this post to say.. I’m still working through this thing. I’ve found it to be a lot harder than it initially seems. If your in a similar place, know that you’re not alone. And if you haven’t begun pondering on your theories behind your artwork, your reasons for creating, don’t do what I did and wait until you’re drafting the artist statement for a gallery submission.

-Nick

By the way, if you’ve written an artist statement that your proud of (or not proud of, for that matter), feel free to share it in the comments below! I feel like the more we talk about this stuff in community, the more it helps each other out as artists. Below I’ve shared my statement for the work featured in the book I mentioned above. It applies to much of my street photography photojournalistic artwork.

Nick Mayo

Artist Statement 

Being in a generation that is so engulfed in the immediate, as an artist I try to focus on the patience and process of a moment, a gesture or expression. I choose a medium that in it’s very nature demands patience and uncertainty. I find my composition and wait for the story to unfold within its four walls. Ironically, it is the collaboration of my patience within a scene, and the hurriedness of my subject rushing by, that allows the final image. This simple juxtaposition draws me into a moment which will now, forever live in it’s own state of stillness. 

I believe in the art of waiting. I am inspired by photographers such as Jay Maisel, Elliot Erwitt, and Saul Leiter who were and are masters of this skill. The quote by Robert Doisneau, “I find the stage and the players will come,” speaks volumes to my process. In an effort to slow down time, I wait. 

4 Comments Artist Statements

  1. Emily Mitchell October 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Best of luck in putting your exhibits together for the gallery. I really appreciated your artists statement. Good luck!

    Reply
  2. Denise October 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Haven’t had to write an artist’s statement before…only a photographer’s bio, which is much easier I think. You offer a lot of food for thought about the potential benefits of crafting an artist’s statement, if only to glean insight into why, as a photographer, you might find yourself turning to the same type of subjects over and and over again.

    Reply
    1. Nick Exposed October 13, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Absolutely. Even if a statement isn’t needed at the time, I do think its a valuable exercise to begin to reflect on what you are trying to say with your artwork. Whether that be collectively or within individual projects. Thanks for your response and comments!

      Reply

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