The “creative manifesto” is a popular idea right now. You’ll find a good variety, and they’re fun. But I have a problem with the word manifesto, which has a political agenda. A manifesto is to unite a group under a banner, to inspire. I suggest a creative “declaration”, from the old Latin, to make clear. The root has implications of brightness, to call out clarity, to make a contract– thus “declaring” taxes. It is a commitment, not a call to action.
Rather than another bullet point list, it’s challenging to try to condense your artist statement into a sentence or two. This should be a statement that will always return you to the authentic reason why you make art.
“My creativity feels like a divine gift to me, and I honor the gift by making my art about Spirit. I want to express the numinous quality of life, where the elements of nature and the stories and the stones and the places of power come alive and speak to us on a deeper level. ” Caren Catterall
“I paint from a longing to give form to what is hidden, even to me, until I paint it.” Susan Cornelis
“I work spontaneously to grow paintings as Nature creates, looking through the visible world to the undercurrents of inner forces.” Karina Nishi Marcus
“I explore archaic worlds to forge ancient metaphor into contemporary vision.” Suzanne Edminster
As Americans, we can’t hear the word “declaration” without the word “independence” implied. But these concise declarations, with their brevity, clarity and commitment, are at the foundation of creative structure. Fuzzy, overused “creativity” differs from demanding, grounded creation, where the spark is made, however imperfectly, manifest.
A thanks to Melanie at Catbird Quilt Studio for bringing up the idea of creative manifesto!
Art from Art
In Santa Rosa Junior College’s beautiful print show, 30 Years of SRJC Printmaking, I came on students doing drawings of Caren Catterall’s Giantess series of prints. They drew in the manner of illustrated journaling, with notes and impressions on the page along with the sketches. Art ripples out. You can see the prints on Caren’s website.