The bane of nearly every artist I ever met is the horrid, little number called the "Artist's Statement." A famous artist, I forget who, remarked long ago, "...rather I do a THOUSAND paintings that write about ONE." He was obviously very visual and NOT very verbal. For those use to speaking with a paintbrush in their mouths, the thought of removing it and putting words to paper is most intimidating. Even those accustomed to SPEAKING very fluently about their work shudder at the thought of seeing those words in print. Worse than that, even when some semblance of literary excellence DOES make it's excruciating way from mind over to matter, the results, especially for nonrepresentational artists (who seem to have the most difficult time of it), may seem trite and hackneyed (as a friend recently complained).

This, of course, "nails the hide to the wall," as they say. Trite and hackneyed IS the problem. Artists are trained to shrink and shriek from it instinctively. In art or in literature, something becomes trite and hackneyed through overuse. And while, in the case of artists' statements, the artwork itself may not bear these traits, despite the versatility of the English language, the words used in validating it often DO. What you say IN paint may never have ever been said before, but rest assured what might be said ABOUT most art work HAS--hence the problem I've outline. Going beyond that, our trouble in verbalizing is that we are so familiar with these trite art phrases that they're all we can think of. They are the words that flow freely on mailing lists, in critical reviews, and in artist's statements by the thousands.

It's not easy, but the solution is to DIG DEEPER. What I think we have trouble verbalizing are the MUCH more personal thoughts and feelings that ebb and flow within us DURING the creative process itself. THESE are what jurors and buyers and those who peruse artists' statements want to read about. But these thoughts and feelings are often so momentary and fleeting, or so instinctive, they never even reach within us the level of INTERNAL verbalization. It's these thoughts, in words, nthat artists must seek to capture. There may be a real fear that doing so will somehow INHIBIT the creative process, though I've never found this to be the case. Yes, especially for nonrepresentational artists, it is injecting an element of reason (or more precisely, a conscious questioning of the reasons behind what you do), into a very UNreasonable creative process; but if you find it inhibitive, then that, in itself, may be the next mountain to climb in your creative growth.