On Friday 20th, our Connected Class was about academic language and how we talk about art. The creative industries have some notorious stereotypes attached to them, some more deserved than others. I suspect that as an illustrator, I manage to side-step around experiencing the worst of it, so I'm glad these classes are with a mixed group of artists.
As part of the class we watched an extract from Grayson Perry's Reith Lectures. I was excited about this because they'd been recommended to me before, and I'd never gotten around to listening to them. I feel like in the world of art, there are a lot of people who'll pull out the phrase "working class" only when it suits them, whether that's to justify their crap art, or to give the appearance of being inclusive. However, Grayson Perry makes academic discussions about art accessible to those without an arts education. I know this, because he is the only art writer my friends and family outside of the arts community consistently want to talk to me about.
A practical discussion we had was about artist statements, and how we write them. This is something I struggle with, because I generally believe my work should explain itself when placed in context. We had watched videos of artists talking about their art, and although we initially discussed the language they used and what they talked about, we moved on to discussing the medium of video and the change in dynamics in contrast with a written artist statement. I found this particularly interesting, because if I read this blog out word for word in real life, with my voice and my body language, I'd seem like I was being sarcastic. On the flip side, if I write how I speak, it looks like I'm a bit mean and scary.
I think all this helped when it came around to writing my artist statement for The Collective Noun this week. It meant that I was more confident in my opinions about academic art language and how I can make the compromise between communicating with the different audiences who would be viewing the exhibition. It's a similar compromise I'm constantly making with this blog, and I'm getting used to it.