I recently had these three fine art images selected to be part of an exhibit in the BeHuman Gallery in Houston, Texas. What followed was a week of baptism under fire. How should I print? What paper? Who's the best printer in Austin? Where do I sign? What do I use to sign? Certificate of Authenticity? Borders? Mounting? Backing? Hanging? How to price my images? Will I offer limited editions? How many of what size? And perhaps the most daunting task of all, what the Hell is my work "about"?
I did some brainstorming followed by some free-writing. I looked at my work. I thought and thought and thought about my influences and inspirations, and more than one identity crisis later, I came up with this:
"Everyone assumed I would grow up to be a writer. I admit I thought so too, but authors and artists are similar to one another in that both must be observers of, if not obsessed with, human nature. We are complex characters. We are funny. We are flawed. We struggle, often with ourselves, to be stronger, to be smarter, to be better, more successful, more creative, more loved. These are things most of us can relate to on some level regardless of background. Art and literature allow us access to a shared human experience, so in my photography, whether it be documentary or conceptual, I wish the viewer to recall an experience or recognize themselves, to laugh or tear up, to gasp or forget to breathe.
... but what is it “about”? I can’t quite say. It's about a lot of things.
It's from a lot of places, gathered from the stories of countless characters, inspired by everything I’ve ever experienced. I've been creating it my whole life."
Having put myself through that process now, and having already mailed it off to the gallery, I am happy to have done it. It was beneficial to force myself to look at what I'm putting out there, see what I'm creating and come to grips with whether or not I'm actually creating the art I want to create. I discovered that I'm not totally on track with my fine art work. I edited out so much that inspires me, so much about my background and influences because they are not evident in the work I submitted to the gallery. So I have honed in a bit more now, and I know a little more about what I want to do with future photography projects. I highly recommend writing your own statement, even if you aren't an artist! Write about yourself and what you believe in. Write about what truly makes you ahppy. Write about your goals. See if you are able to write what you WANT to write or if you have to tweak the words to fit reality. For me, it was pretty revealing.