My friend Ricë Freeman Zachery is writing another book: Creative Time & Space: Making Room for Making Art. It's due out next September from North Light Books. (I'll be writing more about this book as the time for publication approaches, but in the meantime you might watch Ricë's blog for updates about her book and all the other things she's busy with!)
I'm honored that Ricë asked to interview me for her book. Recently while gathering information for the biographical blurbs on the artists interviewed Ricë asked us to provide 2 or 3 sentences about ourselves. Each blurb will start with our name, our kind of art, and our location. Each blurb will end with contact information. In the middle there will be room for sentences about ourselves: "While they can't be really long, you can include things about your books or shows or gallery, your partner or animals or family or studio or whatever you want people to know. Humorous is good, if you like."
Her instructions got me thinking. I'm always having to write artist statements when I have artwork in shows, but those statements are usually tailored to a specific project, time, place, and will be gone when the show is gone. In other situations when a biographical statement is called for I typically have a bit more space to fill.
Then I started to write Ricë a letter explaining why it was difficult for me to comply. When I had written a couple paragraphs I realized that with a little rewriting I had completed the task. Given that the first sentence would tell what I did and where, and the last would give contact information I actually had a lot of breathing space. My life isn't really that complicated.
I wrote the following:
I'm a third culture kid who has spent her whole life writing and drawing my observations of the world. I don't know any other way to live. Observing folks (and animals), dressing comfortably (you never know when you'll be chased by spies), being as productive as possible, and encouraging people to be productive too—I guess it can all be reduced down to that. Those are the tenets of my life.
So that made me think, how do other people break down their lives into component parts, and what are those parts? How pithy can you be, how serious, how funny? And what does the chosen tone tell us about the person? When you look at your life, what is it that you hope people notice, remember, or judge you by? I'm fascinated by the possibilities of all those questions, all those approaches.
I thought it would be fun to have a contest to celebrate 30 days of posting (36 posts; at least one a day and sometimes more); a little competition, a little task. (Don't grumble, it's better than a quiz!) It will be both arduous and fun; or maybe just fun.
I would love for you to write your biographical statement. I only want the 2 to 4 sentences that come between the sentence which would have given your name and profession and the sentence which would have held your contact information.
I have a panel of three judges set up to read your responses. Their decision will be final, and may just reflect how much pizza they eat while reading entries; but in general they are a thoughtful and level-headed group while at the same time fun-loving. (Additional judges may be added as I see fit; in the event of a tie I'll cast the deciding vote.)
To make the contest more interesting still, I've got a prize: the 6.75 x 6.5 inch hardcover journal pictured at the head of this post. I made this 60-page journal with Velin Arches paper (perfect for writing as well as pen and watercolor sketches). It's a great size for carrying around in you pack or purse, and continuing work on your visual biography.
So if you would like to participate please send your biographical statement to me at email@example.com.
The deadline is Friday, November 14, 4 p.m. central time.
The winning response (and perhaps a runner up or two) will be published on my blog November 26. (Remember, by entering the contest you're giving me permission to publish your statement on my blog.) I'll contact the winner via email to find out where to send the prize.
The contest gives me a chance to learn something about my readers. It might even help me answer some of my questions mentioned above. It might get you to pause for a moment's reflection.
In the meantime, whether you participate in the contest or not, I hope you'll continue to visit Roz Wound Up. I'll continue with the series I have started (Project 640 Tubes; Profile Friday). I have also been developing additional series through which I can share information and my interests with you. I'll continue my regular, non-series posts too, though I may or may not post daily in November (I'll see how it goes).
Thank you to all my regular readers. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you spread the word about the blog to people who might share similar interests.
NOTE: THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED. ENTRIES ARE CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who entered this contest. I have enjoyed reading your biographical bits, as I like to think of them. The judges will meet soon to look them over. I'll post the results on November 26. Again, thank you for your efforts!