"As a reaction to questions early in the semester regarding my identity, I felt it was necessary to find out what it actuality meant for me to change my name to American Artist, what was I really trying to do, and any output of visual artwork became secondary. I wanted to create my identity as a contextual frame for the visual work that I make.
In my exploration I identified three parts to the creation of an artist's identity.
Part 1: The perception of the artist, the image defined through media and documentation. Which is something I'm exploring through social media.
Part 2: The actuality of the artist, becoming who it is I understand American artist to be, through a deliberate approach in my actions. Only pursuing actions that enhance this self-perception, for example: my wardrobe, creative output, and dietary habits.
Part 3: The product of the artist. My visual artistic output. If I have properly illustrated what I see, feel, and know, through my actions, and curating my thoughts, what is left to be said?
For this installation I wanted to visually convey an idea that was brought to my attention early in the semester. I was asked whether I consider myself to be "THE" American Artist, or "AN" American Artist. After thinking about that question, and understanding THE to be a kind of unquestionable artistic authority, and AN to be another forgettable starving artist, I decided I was both. these both represented different parts of my personality and different goals of myself. I exemplified this dichotomy by breaking down my own traits and sensibilities into two sides, and thinking which American Artist those represented. In the end I portrayed AN American Artist as the doer, who is prolific, he makes a lot of work, something I've always wanted to do. He challenges dissatisfaction with his level of success by creative output. I envisioned what AN American Artist's studio would look like, a place designed to encourage productivity.
The images on the wall are a form of visual inspiration, but also an ever changing and manipulatable work of art. They are like trading cards of the imagery that I am made of. Images that I've come across over time, that I saved because of what they made me think, feel, or want to do. I like to play with these and reposition them, and I am interested in what they become when juxtaposed with one another.
I also set up a personal screen print lab, an ever-growing pile of substrate to work on, and a painting area. The idea being that AN American Artist does nothing but output, because that is all he can afford to do.
The remaining portion of my studio has become THE American Artist's workspace. THE is the thinker. All thoughts pertaining to the understanding of my identity have run through the mind of THE. THE seeks to understand the history and trajectory of American Art, and make a living record of his existence. He has the mentality of an artist that is already successful, believing his words carry weight, and sees himself as a sort of diplomat for the arts. I speak as THE under the twitter name "Art President" which expresses my view of the character.
In this studio are documents discussing my name change, an imaginary resume and CV of what I would like to accomplish. Thoughts that I wrote out as notes to self have become posters to serve as reminders of those thought processes. There is an art history book about artists rather than art movements. There is mail, which implies correspondence with the artist, and there is a voice recorder, and camera for recording purposes.
The reality of this dichotomy between An and The is that I rarely identify with only one of these characters at a time. And that is why my studio has become a place for both, rather than one or the other."
Parsons Fine Art MFA Midterm Review 10/21/13
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