Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What does it mean to be an artist?-the artist statement

I have been struggling the last few years to first of all be able to confidently call myself an artist, and then to define what exactly that means.  It is something that many creative people go through.  I have been successful and able to feel comfortable calling myself an artist.  Partly because it is what I am passionite about and also because I have had some degree of success. 

Being successful commercially can be tricky.  I spent a lot of time this year making jewelry this year that was pretty, fashionable and relevent.  But I have to say it was not an artistic experience.  I mean it did not satisfy my need to create from the heart or to express myself.  I find that when I make a piece of Judaica, for example a mezuzah, I am much more engaged in the process.  I am happier with the results, and people are much more affected by my work.  So I have desided to concentrate on working on art pieces and judaica ritual objects.

I have just completed writing my artist statement, which I am sure, will be revised as time passes.  Special thanks to my dear friend Andew Raftery, who encouraged me and helped me through this process. Let me know what you think:

Artist Statement

Judaica is the vehicle that brings together my creative energies and my personal values. Tapping into the history and traditions of Judaism gives my work tremendous significance. Artistic relevance emerges from the link between my creative vision and my understanding these traditions. I respect the laws of the Jewish faith and create art which can be used as ritual object or symbol of faith.

My design process begins with sketching, working out major design decisions and dilemmas with pen and paper. The medium of silver clay informs the next steps. Silver metal clay starts off soft and pliable. Its unique qualities allow manipulation throughout the construction of the piece. The consistency of the clay changes as it dries which gives me the opportunities for building, texturizing, shaping and carving. After the clay is fired and becomes solid silver, the surface can be worked by chasings, polishing and patinas.

I am influenced by art, architecture, and even pop culture. My collection of Mezuzahs based on classic architecture are not rigid copies. Through the use of custom textures I transform these building into fluid objects of art, free zones for the viewer's imagination. Many of the original textures I create are inspired by calligraphy, illuminations, art nouveau and Moorish and Islamic art, and the arts and crafts movement of the late 1800s. I make a piece that is relevant in our time but also brings these ancients values to the present.