Earlier this year, a fellow artist reached out to me through my website asking if I could write her artist’s statement for her own website she currently was building. She had read some of my blogs, particularly one on Art and Magic and found that it resonated with her own style of art so well that she wanted me to write something similar for her!
The only money I have ever made from my writing has been through Medium, and that is never more than a few pounds a month. I was genuinely shocked that anyone would want me to write for them and be willing to pay me good money too.
We had a long telephone conversation and I realised that my ‘client’ was a self-taught artist who had not had the academic experience I, as a younger artist had had. This was a revelation to me, especially since her art was, in my opinion, considerably better than my own.
Might I be suffering from the ‘jack-of-all-trades syndrome?’ Having dabbled in so many creative endeavours I was expert at none? I had no idea if I was qualified to write professional website copy. So, I looked up copywriting rates and quoted a slightly lower figure.
As an artist, trying to sell myself, it is common to talk with people who do not understand the concept that ‘the labourer is worthy of his hire.’ It was a refreshing experience to talk with someone who understood this.
The writing did not take very long, and I was happy to have been of help to a fellow artist.
Taking it further
But at the end of the assignment, my client suggested that I should write for other artists who may be struggling in this way. And was willing to say that I was a skilled writer.
I wasn’t sure of myself at first, mainly because the skills I would be offering was not something I previously felt I could offer (not only because artist statements are very personal things to write but because I had wrongly assumed that most artists would have had the academic training I had myself).
But after some time, I reorganised my website and added a small section offering this service.
Prior to this, I did some research and set up a Fivrr page offering this service to see if anyone was interested. I got quite a lot of views and a few messages on inquiry on that post but nothing concrete. However, this was enough for me to see it was a service which artists needed.
If this is something I can offer to others who have not the skills in words as they do in art, then I am happy to do so. Holding an Honours Degree in Fine Art means that, whilst I have always enjoyed writing, I can talk about art with authority as well.
For example, many self-taught artists gravitate towards a certain style without much thought. Art comes more naturally as a form of expression. And can be more immediate.
However, when asked to discuss what the artwork represents, it can be difficult for the intuitive artist who relies more on feeling than concepts to create. They may make something surrealistic but not fully understand the history and background of the movement. This is important to ground an artwork.
I, myself, am quite an intuitive artist. I know what it’s like to make a piece of art and only afterwards go back and work out what it ‘means.’ Being able to concretize the feelings and emotions which went into a piece of art as you were making it can be difficult at the best of times. Translating them into hard black words on white paper or a screen can be daunting. I want to help with that.