What is in your Artist Statement

June 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

by Dusty Demerson

At some point just about every artist is asked to provide an “Artist Statement”. Students studying art in school may even take an entire course about how to write an artist statement. Galleries and shows frequently request the artist statement to be printed as part of their presentation of your work or even as part of a submission process. These statements are frequently used by peers to judge the maturity of an artist’s process or approach.

 

My artist statement has evolved over the past 20 years or so. My first attempt seems extremely juvenile when I read it today. I assume that the statement I use today will seem just as juvenile in 20 more years.

Artist Statement – Dusty Demerson

My goal is to share the beauty of Creation with anyone interested enough to look. This doesn’t necessarily mean an unedited view however. I feel that our perception of beauty is highly influenced by not only what we see but also the sounds, smells and feelings we are experiencing when viewing our subjects. In fact, I further believe that the way we respond to what we see is a culmination of everything we have experienced through our history up to that instant.

 

My reason for being is to show my viewer something he or she would not have seen on their own. This unique viewpoint may be the result of perfect timing, an optimal play of light or a non-traditional point of view. Whatever the technique employed, art requires that a subject be treated in a unique way or that the artist captures a unique slice of time to share with the viewer.

 

My job as an artist is, at the very least, to create a two-dimensional representation of my subject that generates some type of emotional response by the viewer. At best, I would like my viewer to experience the same emotional response that I experienced and that caused me to record the scene in the first place. I must then be able to reproduce the scene with a high degree of craftsmanship and skill so that my original experience can be shared and experienced repeatedly by others for an extended period of time.

 

This goal requires that I move beyond the camera, lens, light and tripod and utilize additional tools to elicit the viewer’s response. The available tools have grown dramatically in the past several years as photographic artists have embraced digital image enhancement. Like any tool, these can be over used and abused as well as used poorly. While fully embracing the tools in my toolbox I attempt to use them to recreate the feelings and emotions I experienced when capturing the image. Since film, cameras, lenses, printers, papers and the other gear necessary for the capture and display of these images impart their own color, perspective, atmosphere, etcetera to the photograph; I need to alter some elements to recreate the scene as I experienced it originally. This process may include cropping the image and the elimination or addition of elements to the photograph. While I may utilize my digital tools to remove unwanted items like power lines or errant tree branches I never add or delete substantial elements of the scene.

 

Generally, my photographs attempt to restate the original presentation in a manner that evokes the emotional response I experienced without appearing manipulated or fake. My abstract images are, of course, an exception to the last statement. When I am asked if a scene “really looked like that” or was it “Photoshopped” my answer is usually “yes”.  

 

“Art implies control of reality, for reality itself possesses no sense of the aesthetic. Photography becomes an art when certain controls are applied.”

Ansel Adams

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