Calling All Editors: Artist Statement Feedback Wanted

Altered Book- Let the World Speak for Itself - Detail

Since I’m on a mission to try new things with my art, I thought I’d put out a public call for feedback on the artist statement I’ve been working on for my altered books. Normally when I do this sort of thing I send it to friends for review and editing, but since this is for a wider audience anyway I’m happy to have everyone/anyone read it.

Altered Book: Swimming in a Sea of Words - detail

Please read it over and leave me a comment (if you’re reading this on Facebook, please come to my blog). I’d love to hear from you. The full set of the altered books can be found on Flickr.

About the Artist:
I am a Vancouver-based artist working in photography, mixed media collage, and altered book arts. My work is motivated by a need to experiment with different techniques and styles, as well as to explore the spontaneous ideas that come from the visual inspiration of nature, found objects, and connecting with the work of other artists. I love to play with my artwork and I use a strong sense of colour and striking compositions to create imagery that is personal and expresses my love of nature and imagination. I am inspired by the natural world, bright colours, and by finding magic in every day life. My work has been shown in Toronto, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as well as published in numerous books and magazines.

About the Altered Books:
In 2007 I attended an art event in Portland called Mississippi May featuring the work of local emerging artists. My favorite works in the show were the magical illustrations of Timothy Karpinski, which he’d painted onto the pages of old books. I loved this idea because I’d never seen books used as a canvas before, and the illustrations created their own story against the backdrop of the page. I was inspired and decided to apply the idea using photos, as my work at the time was primarily photography. This led to experimentation using inkjet image transfer paper to print my photographs within the pages of books. I was never quite happy with the results because the image transfer process didn’t mix well with the aged and brittle paper of book pages. My book arts ideas went on the backburner because I felt I didn’t yet have the right tools to create work in the way I envisioned.

In late 2007 I began to work in mixed media collage and spent the next two years developing a feel for techniques. My primary medium has always been film photography but as I worked more with a digital format I craved the satisfaction of creating work “hands-on”. In September 2009 I came across a wonderful book called, “New Directions in Altered Books” and suddenly my long neglected desire to work with books was reignited. It opened up a whole new world of artistic possibilities for me, and creating collage in three dimensions.

Creating altered book art is as much about the process as it is about experimenting with the materials I’ve used to create each work. I often start with a rough idea of something I wish to explore which can be inspired by the objects or materials I have on hand, or by ways in which I want to alter the pages of the book itself through cutting, folding, etc. The composition and material choices for each book evolves as I work on them, often over several days. Every altered book I complete is a handmade original creation, and I’m addicted to making them.

(Thank you for reading and leaving a comment if you choose).

(Edit: As was bound to happen, I’ve already started editing since posting this earlier today…)

5 thoughts on “Calling All Editors: Artist Statement Feedback Wanted

  1. Rachael says:

    Thanks for your feedback Natasha, but I don’t think the text is too long. The artist statement is about the altered books and it comes to under one page, which is pretty standard.

    Roberta, thank you for your feedback. I don’t have a lot of experience submitting work to galleries, so it’s good to hear this is appropriate for a gallery submission.

  2. Kirsten Chursinoff says:

    I like the way you write.
    But, since you’re asking for feedback I’ve heard that it’s usually a good idea to avoid anything that leans toward the negative: “I was never quite happy with the results” or “…my book arts ideas went on the backburner”. Maybe there is a more positive way to communicate these parts of your ideas. Something that emphasizes your passion to express your ideas rather than your awareness that you still needed more experimentation. But I like the part about experimenting, so keep that word in there somehow. I know that my suggestion interferes with the flow of the “story”, but I thought I’d mention it since I’ve been reading a lot about this lately.

    As for length, I would keep a 2 paragraph version on file as well as the longer one. I’ve often been asked for shorter ones, especially if only one picture is being published in a magazine, or if it will be printed on the wall beside a piece in a group show.

  3. Rachael says:

    Excellent feedback Kirsten. Those are just the type of comments I’ve been looking for. I realize this thing will need to be customized according to whatever it’s needed for, but I needed to something down for the display at Bootup. I will edit the negative sounding bits.

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