Have you ever been interviewed? I’ve yet to have anyone ask me too much about my art — other than a few general questions — but maybe someday it will happen. Maybe someday my work will spark interest, arouse curiosity, and make people sit up and take notice. Maybe I’ll be interviewed on radio or television!
I don’t really expect any of that to happen, but all the same, it’s fun to think about what I’d say if anyone asked about my art process, my thoughts about art, my feelings about what I create.
The “interview process” is another step toward putting together an artist statement, so today I’m sitting down to talk to myself. I do that every day, of course, but today’s “talk” will be a question-and-answer session, an informal interview about me and my art.
But why should you care what my answers are? You really have no reason to be interested in my art, and that’s understandable. So I’ll do my interview in private, and instead of sharing answers here today, I’ll just be sharing questions. You can then take these same questions and interview yourself!
The first questions are very general ones:
- Who is your audience?
- Who are your influences?
- Explain your work to a child.
- How do you make your work?
- How do your materials inform your concept?
- How is your work unique?
Can you answer these questions about your own art? I found a few of these questions difficult. I can only guess at who my audience is. I can’t point to a lot of direct influences in my art, and as for materials informing my concept… what does that even mean?
For me, the most meaningful question here was how I would explain my work to a child. As I answered this, I began to understand much more about my art, to realize that I do have a lot to say. For the first time, I began to sense an underlying purpose to the art I create. That’s powerful!
The most difficult question was this: How is my work unique? The only answer I had was, “It’s not.” I’m only one of many landscape artists who paint clouds and skies and lakes and rivers. I’m unique only by virtue of being me, if that makes any sense. I’ve yet to see, however, any way in which my individuality expresses through my art.
While these basic questions are interesting and helpful, they are nothing more than basic questions, not the sort of in-depth, search your soul, dig down beneath the surface sort of questions a real interviewer might ask. So, I went browsing a bit and began making a collection of questions. These are all questions that actual interviewers have asked of actual artists. Definitely food for thought here!
- Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
- What piece of artwork would you like to be remembered for?
- If you could work with a past art movement, what would it be?
- How would you define beauty?
- Do you have a favorite photograph or painting that inspires you?
- What is your greatest indulgence in life?
- What artist of the past would you most like to meet?
- What is your daily routine when working?
- What advice would you give to a young artist?
- Why do you love what you do?
- What is your definition of art career success?
- Do you have an essential philosophy that guides you in your creative expression?
- What personality trait has been most helpful in your career?
- What art marketing technique works most successfully for you?
- What is your most important career goal?
Yet another series of interview questions approaches art from a professional perspective. If you were being interviewed by a collector, a curator, a gallery… could you answer these questions?
- What is your background?
- What does your work aim to say?
- How does your work comment on current political or social issues?
- Who are your biggest influences?
- How have you developed your career?
- How do you seek out opportunities?
- How do you cultivate a collector base?
- How do you navigate the art world?
- How do you price your work?
- Which current art world trends are you following?
For me, many of these questions are irrelevant, yet all the same these are aspects of art that we should think about, if only to give ourselves a greater understanding of art itself, a greater familiarity with those who are shaping the world of art today, and those who have inspired us from the past.
I hope the questions I’ve gathered here can be inspiring in some way and that the interview process I’ve shared can help you in creating your own artist statement.
More ideas tomorrow!