While in the process of preparing my submission to the West Austin Studio Tour, a friend of mine discovered and shared an article that helped me find my own words (for an artist statement with which I always struggle). The article is an engaging piece that truly resonated with me, a long-lost interview with the famous French painter, Henri Matisse. (link provided below)

As I explored all three parts, which cover a broad range of topics, Matisse seemed the spokesperson for the artist collective, tackling difficult questions with insight and eloquence while setting the tempo early with an unpretentious response to “the significance of subject” in the artist’s work. And it is in this brief statement that I found direction. He said, “The subject is me, and what I see.”

While seemingly simple and vague; “The subject is me…” is actually a bold statement, especially today, when more and more artists tend to reject the tradition of painting altogether and instead resort to long-winded explanations about nothing (please refer to  my last entry, “Whatever, Dude”).  🙂  But I don’t mean to paint in broad strokes here. Out of context, anything can and will appear trivial. My criticism is directed at those who abuse the use of rhetoric for lack of talent.

I used to take a firm philosophical stance when describing my work, not as an attempt to feign meaning, but because I honestly failed to recognize how inherently fundamental my process is. In fact, I am only now realizing that the bulk of my work is nothing more than an ongoing series of abstracted self-portraits, because, no matter what I start with, in terms of subject matter, the end result is ultimately filtered through the lens of my own experience and understanding, which perhaps distorts any truth I think I know about my subject. Yet, even such an assertion could hardly suggest that the work is frivolous or lacking in substance. It simply means that the passive viewer must also become a more careful observer in order to encounter the implications presented in a conversation with the quintessential Self, the inner dialogue that is outwardly expressed in all human endeavors.

(to be continued…)

Submission deadline: Feb. 20th

For your reading pleasure, here is the complete interview: