Tag Archives: why

Writing an Artist’s Statement

I find it daunting to write an artist’s statement.  It means tackling the unconquerable task of identifying WHY I do theatre.

This is what the world asks you as an actress:

Why do you do theatre?

Out of my lips always came a weak “um…..because I love it.” And the pale catch phrase rang in my ears, but rarely crossed my lips, “it’s in my blood.”

WHY do I do theatre?  Because I can’t not do theatre.  I’ve tried.  Believe me I’ve tried.  As a young actress, I found myself hurling back and forth between ecstatic joy and darkest misery.  And I’m not talking young adult blues.  This was so clearly linked to my life in the theatre that it pained me simply to attempt to identify the exact cause.  Because identifying WHY I hated what I loved meant that I would have to walk away from this thing coursing through my veins. I would have to drain the very life from my body, entering hell in the search for joy.

As it turns out, it wasn’t really all that dramatic, or traumatic:  I just don’t love acting all that much.  I love the sense of pretend, the freedom from my everyday fears, the ‘other-worldliness’–for lack of a better word.  But I love telling the whole story much more than just one character’s story.  And I only discovered this when I tried out directing.

Which brings me back to the WHY because, as it turns out, an artist’s statement is not about the WHY.  It’s about the HOW and the WHAT and the WAY.

I did a little poking about and although most how-to resources are written for the visual artist, they’re still quite helpful because the tips all include identifying material and color.  I have never considered my directing work as a whole based on tangible materials.  I’ve been tackling it in terms of people, stories, literature, and relationships.  In short, the intangible.  But when broken down into tangible materials, it becomes space, crowds, rough, smooth, silky, red, yellow, blue, white, distance, length, height, wood, metal…you get the idea.  Which, in turn translates into the story.

The HOW is enough to imply the WHY.  No one cares about WHY once you’ve passed adolescence.

And this is my current task: to put on my grown-up shoes and go beyond the unanswerable WHY to the very attainable HOW.