Site icon Johanna Flanagan

Artist’s Statement……..part 1

The Pale Rook

My current textile work began as an experiment in ….

I am trying to write my artist’s statement and I’m not doing very well. I tried to ask my friends for words to describe my work, in fact I DID ask my friends for words to describe my work, I went beyond trying, there was definite asking and all of them said that I was clearly able to express myself because they’d all read my blog and thought I should just write my artist statement exactly like that.

But I don’t plan my blog posts ! They just sort of fall out of my head on to the page! My blog posts were a progression from my journals and lists. They just happen when I have something to say, it’s a whole other thing when I actually need to make a point and make it clearly and succinctly so that someone else will read it and choose to give me the thing I’m applying for.

None of my friends gave me words! I need words! They told me to use my own words but my words are rambling and stroppy! I’m trying to present myself as a capable, articulate artist with a clear idea of who she is and why her work is relevant, nay essential to her very existence, deserving of funding and support to help it develop to it’s fullest creative and entrepreneurial potential, and I am all of those things and my work is all of those things but I just can’t find the words to convince someone else that I am and it is.

Like I said, I’m not doing very well. It’s ironic that I’m avoiding writing by writing. I don’t see this as writing though. I see this as using words to get stuff out of my head. Writing an artist’s statement is about using words to help someone to appreciate what I do and help me do it some more. It’s not though is it. It shouldn’t be.

For one crazy moment I thought that maybe I could just copy and paste this and use it and that maybe the person I’m sending it to, the person with the purse strings and the amazing facilities would maybe see me as I really am and give me what I’m applying for just because I’m so refreshingly honest. I so wish I was that sort of person. I wouldn’t even need to copy and paste it because what you’re reading now really did start off as an attempt to write the real artist’s statement. That title and that first abandoned sentence aren’t just there for comedic purposes. This was supposed to be the real thing!

I remember once reading somewhere that someone at American Apparel had applied for their job by printing out their CV on a t-shirt and submitting that instead of a nicely printed traditional one. I’ve never been that person. I’d really like to be but I’m not. I wish I could embroider my statement on the wing of a silk raven and send it to them but I just don’t have the time.

I should just tell them what I do and why I do it shouldn’t I, but, you know, without the foul language and stroppiness.

It’s easier talking to you though.

My current work was initially and experiment in ( GETTING SHIT OUT OF MY HEAD) working purely with my creative instincts, allowing the creatures and characters from my dreams, childhood memories and imagination to exist in the outside world. I make figures and anthropomorphic creatures from antique textiles and threads, dyed with plants foraged on my forest walks ( the stuff I’ve hoarded over the years and the stuff I find in my pockets three weeks after I put it there).
Each figure or creature is an intuitive creative response to dreams, memories, fairy tales, and my childhood. Conceptually, I am interested (read, FIXATED AND OBSESSED) in the precious and the abandoned, in the natural tides of the forest and the seasons, and in the language of the subconscious. My process explores the dynamic between textile creation and deconstruction using hand drawn and embroidered detailing and unpredictable dye, heat and distressing techniques, (read, when things go wrong I tend to go with it and make it decorative). Every aspect (element?) of my work is created by hand. (Write something here about the importance of the craft process here).

That’s actually the best I’ve managed to come up with so far. I might actually go with “fixated” rather than “interested” because it’s closer to the truth.

My whole creative life seems to be about treading a fine line between authentic expression and not freaking people out too much.

Thanks for listening.

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