Page 1

Writing In The Art Major By: Anna Bernard





Chapter 1: Review of Existing Literature


Chapter 2: Genre Investigation


Chapter 3: An Interview With‌


Chapter 4: Proposing Change


Chapter 5: Conclusion


Works Cited



Introduction I learned to paint before I learned to write. From preschool to college, my doodles and drawings can be found on most things pertaining to school. Now that I’m in college, and have landed on majoring in art, I realized that it’s more than just the aesthetics. Writing in art is much different than writing in other majors. Though the writing may not be as extreme or excessive, the variety is unique. Some writing, for example, artist statements (don’t worry, we’ll get into those later) are seemingly short but demand the most from the artist and things like research papers do not stray much from your typical college paper. With the chapters to come, we will be exploring the types of writing in art, genres, interviewing current DU art students and even planning for the future of writing in the art major. My aim for you, the reader, is to start broadly, and then chapter by chapter break down what it means to write as an art student. I’ll begin with the facts; introducing to you what writing looks like now in art and the ways in which it has changed from the past. After hearing the facts of writing in art, I’ll break down in the following chapter not only what a genre is, but as well as a few of the genres that are present in writing in art. You’ll be able to see what is expected of the art student, as well as the purpose that they serve. The third chapter will have a more personal approach, in which I will get current DU art students to share their experiences and opinions on the topic. After sharing not just the


facts but the perspective of current art students, you should have a well-rounded idea of what writing in the art major looks like, if I’m successful. Once I’ve (hopefully) enlightened you, I’ll be directing the book towards the future. What is something in writing in art that needs to be improved? How can we provide a solution? As well as questioning the current state of writing in art, I’ll be focusing on the future as well. The fifth and final chapter will briefly review all that I’ve covered in this book by pulling out the most important points as well urging you to challenge your perspective on writing in the art field.




Review of Existing Literature Regardless of major, minor, subject or career, writing is a necessity. Though many areas are not writing-focused, it is the underlying and ever-present factor that will appear no matter what major a college student chooses. With that being said, writing is not just a factor, but also a skill. Anyone can write, but depending on the field of study, the level and specificity of writing required will vary. Within that field, there are right and wrong ways to go about writing, just as there are old and new ways to effectively write. With a major like art, one may think that writing is not even necessary, seeing as many people view literature as an art form. At first glance, for an art student to have to create art (be it painting, drawing, photography, etc.) but then recreate the art textually, it may appear repetitive due to the fact that some think that both the writing and artwork will convey the same exact message. However, through various sources that I have researched, it appears that writing in art has evolved, and is still evolving. These sources claim some of the traditional tactics that are still used, just as they explain some other ideas that are still evolving but showing to be more effective and explain how art majors can better improve their writing. When thinking about writing in science or math, a very structured style comes to mind. Actually, in a lot of fields, the writing associated with it is very structured. With art majors, that was the only way their writing was executed. Robinson (of Journal of Visual Art Practice) states, an artist should attack their writing in the order of “plan, draft, document, name, frame, inform, archive, attribute, propose, project, think apply.� Robinson does 7

layout an effective plan for the aspiring artists, though a bit bland. The way that Robison went about explaining writing in art appeared very blunt and simple. Simple isn’t always a bad thing, but he laid out the tactic the way one lays out an equation, which may not be the smartest route for art students who are notoriously abstract and creative thinkers. Similarly, Parkinson (of Art Writing, Narrative, Middle Voice) declared that artists must write to inform. Everything they create that supports or analyzes their work should be solely to inform. He claims, “Artists should have a coherently organized plan; observation of and respect for causality and the clock and calendar time of the world; dissolution of authorship or announcement of subjectivity in the capture of the surveyed material; use of reason in search of rational connectivity between human beings, their contexts, behaviour, and work.” Gathering from Parkinson’s thoughts (with this quote being just one example), artists when writing should stick to the textbook; keep it strictly organized, straightforward and very ordinary, if you will. But that doesn’t sound like an artist, now does it? Another angle of attack for writing in the field of art is one that takes on the task in a completely different way. This tactic is less traditional, but is one that has been evolving quickly and is seemingly more effective and more liked by art majors. Essentially, this idea in writing in art is to balance the verbal and the visual. What is meant by this; is that artists will practice writing more, and will go about it in a more liberal way. An artist thinks abstractly and complexly, so why should their writing be expected to be the opposite? Edwards (of Art Design & Communication in Higher Education) states, “For many art and design students, writing is associated with prior weaknesses and failures and increasingly perceived as ‘alien’.” She further claims that an artist will obviously not focus more on


writing than the art itself, but that art students should be pouring much more time into writing and effective writing techniques so that their writing will do their art work justice. Apps (of Artful Language) said that many art teachers are greatly frustrated due to the fact that there is not only resistance from the art students regarding the writing, but that the students’ writing skills inversely reflects their art skills. However, by going about writing in art in a way that appeals to the way an artist thinks, their writing will be exceedingly more effective. Finch and Smith (of Writing on Practice) claim that artists writing “should represent fine art the way fine art is, in all it’s diversity.” Finch and Smith make an interesting point. An art student should be able to write in the manner that they create art, abstractly, freely and creatively (just as a science major may follow a very straightforward sense of writing). If allowing an art major to write in the same manner in which they create art, the results are much more likely to be better. On the contrary, expecting an art student to go from abstract and free thinking while creating art, to rigid and textual thinking while writing in art, is not likely not to convey what the art student had initially intended. All that needs to happen is for art students to find their balance. They must find what works best for them when attempting to shape their art into words. Gerald Grow, a professor at Florida University (of The Writing Problems of Visual Thinkers), stresses throughout his entire piece that the primary issue with writing in art is that artists are visual thinkers. For visual thinkers, it is easy for them to create the visuals, but can be challenging for them to put definitions to those visuals and put their art into words and explanations. Not saying, of course, that all visual learners or artists have difficulty writing, but this is just another potential reason of why writing in art can be difficult to tackle. What is important for art majors to remember when writing, is to treat it similarly to their art.


Meaning that they can begin their writing with abstract thoughts and complex ideas that they do when making art, but then proceed to organize their ideas, reflections and thoughts down on paper. According to Melles and Lockheart (of Sage Journals), the most effective way for art majors to perfect their writing is to find a balance not only between art and writing but also between abstract thinking and organizing their thoughts. As mentioned earlier, exercising more time on the technicalities of writing in the art major, and having the students learn what way they can best express their art through words will help students not only find a balance with art and writing but as a result will be writing much more effectively. Writing in art is much more intricate than how it may appear on the surface. Traditional tactics such as planning, documenting, etc. are still used, but not as effective as other tactics. Slowly the ways of rigid writing in art has given way to more freethinking and better ways for visual thinkers to put their thoughts on paper. What is crucial for those writing in art is to balance. It is important to balance not only between art and writing but also between structure and abstract. Of course, for each for each student it will be different, but finding the sweet spot between those factors is what will set the student up for most effective writing. To add to this research, I feel that I’ve gained a much better idea of how I will be expected to write while studying art. When researching about how some art students are expected to write using very structured layouts and were expected to follow specific guidelines, I knew that that style would not suit me well. I was glad to discover that they recently found that allowing art students to write in the way that is essentially the way that they think – abstractly – is not only a bit easier on the art students but also proves to have a


much better outcome because the students can better articulate what they intended to state about their work. From gathering all this information, I’ve also decided that for writing in art, art students should experience and experiment with different writing styles, as they do with art mediums. Much of majoring in art requires the student to try different styles and mediums in order for them to discover what they do best or what they enjoy most. I think that applying this approach to writing in art will definitely help bridge the gap between writing and art and ultimately will result in the artist reflecting their work accurately through their writing. However, in the next chapter we will get a closer look at what types of writing in art are currently and commonly in place, and within the chapters to come we will be able to get a better understanding of how art students can bridge the gap between writing and art.




Genre Investigation Though at first glance, it may not appear so, genres dictate most categories and subject. Initially when hearing the term “genre”, music or movie styles come to mind. There is rock, country, pop and horror, drama, comedy, only to provide a few examples. However, genres reach far past music and entertainment. Genres are not just the label that you search for at a record store or while cruising Netflix attempting to choose what film to watch. Genres are a way to provide the audience with a sense of what to expect. With a genre comes unsaid ways and guidelines. When something follows those guidelines, it then is classified into that genre. For example, one would not deem a movie a horror film if the characters only cracked jokes and the film had no suspense or thrill. Like horror movies, items within a specific genre are expected to be executed in a similar manner. However, genre applies to so much more that that simple example. Genres appear when writing in a field a study and even vary from field to field. In this chapter I’ll help you get a better idea of genre theory as well as some of the most prominent genres when writing in art. So what really is a genre – movies and music set aside? According to Amy Devitt, “Genres have the power to help or hurt human interaction, to ease communication or to deceive, to enable someone to speak or to discourage someone from saying something different” (252). In a way, genres can be viewed more as a form, or a way of doing something, as opposed to a category or a label that something might fall under. Genre theory is the study of all genres and analyzing what they all have in common and the way in


which each genre became a genre. Genre theory originally started with strictly analyzing the genres of literature, but as time, media and resources evolved the theory has widened to study much more than that. Just as the width of categories has expanded, the types of genres are continuously changing. For example, blogging is a fairly recent media form. However, the way one would write for a music blog is much differently than how one would construct an academic essay. In an essay, the tone is likely to be much more formal, and there is expected to be X amount of paragraphs, or X amount of pages. However, writing as a blogger on music, art, cooking, etc., the expectations are completely different. The tone is probably much more laid back and conversational, there typically is no page or paragraph limit or requirement. These are two different types of genres because each genre holds different expectations and follows different guidelines. Blogging also is an excellent example of how genre theory has evolved. Someone somewhere had to be the first to blog. Blogging in its infancy was more diary-oriented – meaning that people wrote entries likely about their day or their thoughts. One person followed the next – as how most trends begin – and the next thing you know, you have an expected way to blog; what is considered “the norm”. But in present day, there are an infinite amount of types of blogs. Some diary/journal blogs still exist of course, but now there are different categories and types of blogs within the blogging genre. Though the topics may vary and grow, the way in which people blog is relatively the same. Yet, it took years and years for this genre to arrive at where it is today. The style and the form in which people blog was not how it initially began. With now having a brief understanding of what a genre is, and how the genre theory


has (and is) evolving, understanding the genres within the art field will hopefully come a little easier. Within any major or field of study, there are several different types of genres, or ways that things are expected to be done and presented. Even though art is very openended and abstract-oriented, there too are concrete genres within the field. In just about every high school class and all college courses, the professor hands out a syllabus. The syllabus is the single sheet or packet that bluntly describes what will become the backbone of the class. It lists expectations, rules, grading, amongst several other necessary facts pertaining specifically to the class. The syllabus is a genre. In art, however, this specific genre often times may stray from the norm. Is it still considered a genre? Genres after all, are supposed to all fall along the same guidelines because that is what makes them genres, right? Yet in art, sometimes the professor, or the class may go about the syllabus in a more abstract way. Sure, the syllabus still holds the essentials, such as policies, expectations and whatnot, but they may be displayed in different ways. Some art classes have the syllabus outlined in the way that perhaps students would comprehend and retain better, in which the syllabus has all the content drawn out in abstract and artistic ways. Though that is not the typical way that a syllabus would be presented, it still does fall under the syllabus genre even if it does “break” the rules in some ways. It makes sense, however, that the syllabus is a reflection of the classwork. If it is an art class/major, it is incredibly likely that the students are going to be visual learners and producing the set expectations in ways that they learn and comprehend best is likely to be more beneficial. Another genre in the field of art is something that we’ll call “the process of creation”; this is the way in which most students in the field work. Though each artist creates different art and in even different mediums, they all fall under the same genre,


regardless of skill, medium or piece. What is interesting about studying art is that each student has their own concentration (for example, painting, ceramics, photography, etc.) but every artist studies and experiments in all fields. The objective of this is for the artist to get as much experience and practice as possible. The essential purpose of this tactic is for the student to gain a fuller perspective on their options and to try all of them as well. By doing this, the student will be able to see where they really excel, where their weaknesses are and perhaps an area that they really like that they may have never suspected before. Once experimenting with mediums and finding the students’ strengths (and weaknesses), they begin actually creating the art. Making art is only a portion of the artist’s job though. Much time is poured into organizing, brainstorming and executing, but a good fraction their time and effort goes into writing. In other words, writing in art becomes a genre itself. The specific genre that will be further discussed though is art analysis/critiques. Art critiques are stereotypically very harsh and subjective. Art centuries ago obviously had different styles, but the art nowadays takes more risks. Art critiques in all the years past appear to be stuck on more classic and traditional senses of art, so when viewing more modern art it is of the genre – and follows “the norm” – to be harsh and to look for what is likely to be seen in older art. Art critiquing and analyzing has evolved throughout the years and with art evolving itself, the perspectives as well have been widened, but ultimately, art critiquing is harsh because that is just the flow of the genre. Surely, people can “break” this genre, but it is more likely to hear of what art is lacking than what it can be praised for. Art students are taught to look at art questioning


the why and the how. The reoccurring elements in analyzing and critiquing art is that students are told too heavily to pick apart the art instead of to merely enjoy it or even praise it. With analyzing or critiquing, the student is forced to think more logically; to find answers and even more questions within the piece. Of course, this does prove for a more detail-oriented student; making the student truly analyze the work, not just agree that it is pretty. Art critiquing is a very crucial part in the art field. Many people who majored in art but do not become artists (or do but have another job as well) will go on to write critiques, work for galleries or do something that is art-centered but requires a lot of writing. Though this is similar to analyzing and critiquing it is a whole other genre. Writing a journal article is a task that the art major will never have to do while in college, but could very likely be something that is present in their career. Writing journal articles as an art major fulfills the social action of keeping scholars, other artists and even the public informed. The expectation of crafting a journal article in the art field is to provide a new perspective. That one of the things that is consistent in most genres within the art major. When writing a journal article, however, the objective is to inform but also to make the read worthwhile. Why is this person writing this article? What will I gain from it? What will I learn from it? Writing journal articles is an excellent way for people with a voice to get their perspective out there. It provides insight to anyone and everyone in the art field, be an art lover or the artist themself. The last genre we will explore is the artist statement. Perhaps the shortest piece of writing the art student will be expected to write, but easily the most challenging and specific. The artist statement takes bits and pieces from the other types of writing in art.


For example, it has the strictness of a research paper, but the abstractness of a cultural event. The object for the artist statement is to provide the audience with the base facts. Give the audience enough to know where to begin but not enough that would change or affect their perspective (Lin). That in it of itself is tricky because the artist dances along the line of too much information or not enough. Also, the artist statement is only about a paragraph per piece of work. It needs to be short and simple, but informative yet abstract. This specific genre of writing is one that will conducted not only in the classroom but in the professional world of an artist and is a genre that is typically not broken because it asks for a very specific task. Some genres of writing in art are more heavily used in the classroom and some carry into the professional world more than others. But essentially these genres discussed are the ones that most art students will encounter throughout their major and career. In the next chapter we will spend more time delving into what it looks like writing in these genres, how they’re applicable and even look at the genres in a different perspective.





An Interview With… Writing varies from field to field. How one is expected to writing in Biology is very different than how one would be expected to write in English. In art, writing is its one variation. In order to get a clearer idea of how and what is expected from writing in art, I interviewed Julie Sirotek and Tingy Lin of the BFA program at the University of Denver. Though we gained a fair amount of knowledge from what writing in art has looked like and looks like now, these two students were able to shed new light on the subject and went into depth and shared personal experiences that they have had while writing in art. What is really interesting about writing in art is that over the years it has changed and evolved. Writing nowadays in this field is more open ended and abstract. I learned that the main writing in art is research papers, cultural events and the infamous artist statement. For research papers, there is not going to be a lot of wiggle room or freedom. Facts are facts and the art student is expected to find and analyze those facts. However, cultural events are left more openly. For these cultural event papers, students are expected to go to a gallery or something similar and write a review of the experience. Julie explains it as, “For the cultural events, there is not really a structure. You’re expressing what you saw [in the gallery] and how you felt when you were then. Obviously, you wanna talk about the art but you also can describe the atmosphere and the way that you felt.”


However, what appears to be the most abstract of all the writing is the artist statement. The artist statement is typically only a paragraph or so, but can be one of the hardest things to write. It makes sense that this is the type of writing that provides the most freedom. Tingy was able to shed some light on the matter in a simple way, “guidance to the audience to live in your thoughts. It’s normally not like, ‘I made this because of this’, it’s more like, ‘I’m interested in this, so interpret it how you want’.” The artist statement provides you with most of the knowledge that the artist has revolving around the subject or piece to steer you in the right direction. The objective of the artist statement is to provide some perspective but never to give the answer or reason. Julie further goes to add, “It’s not like you’re addressing a group of scientists, where you need to be very formal and exact with points or data…you just need to add a little perspective and let the art do the rest.” Seeing as the artist statement is the only form of writing in art that will be present throughout every class and any (art-creating) career, it’s important to know how to write them effectively and especially knowing who the audience is. Tingy says “I imagine them as being strangers that do not know me at all. So when you try to write you want to give them enough information but also not give everything away, you also don’t want to make any assumption that they know you...It’s pretty tricky to do, my professor made me revise my last artist statement eight times.” When asked if the Julie or Tingy wished there was more of a balance between art and writing or if writing more would be beneficial, they gave interesting answers. Julie mentioned at one point that she is an artist because she doesn’t want to write more. Both agreed that more practice would result in better writing but both also agreed that they are content with the level and amount of writing that they are currently doing.


“Good” writing in art is similar to what qualifies as “good” art. Julie said that, “Essentially you want to be well spoken – in all writing. You’re able to use intelligent vocabulary and make an argument if you need to.” Since the structure in most art writing is loose, the key factor is to get your point across, however that may be. Julie mentioned towards the end of the interview that there is a senior sequence that every art major is required to take and it focuses on how to write and what to write when working in the art field out of college. “You do a lot of writing and reading. Also where to look at for opportunity to apply for grants or space because for all of those opportunities you need to write a request for a space in a gallery or for a request for a grant. It’s a good thing to have, they make you build your resume more and get your portfolio together.” Towards senior year the resume is in the process of being built and perfected. However, the art resume is different from any other resume because it’s very visual. Sure, there are sections for work, experience, etc., but there are also sections such as exhibition and gallery. Tingy explained, “Everyone is very visual so you want everything to be cohesive and clean. The categories are also way different from a normal resume…every section is explained with your artwork not like, ‘I’ve worked here’ or ‘I’ve done this’. You have to visually show them your work and how they fit under each category.” From this interview the unique types of writing in art have been explained in depth. Writing in any subject is likely to vary, but writing in art is very unique. This notion makes sense, of course, because once out into the professional world, art students will be expected to bring with them the writing skills they’ve acquired through research papers, cultural events and artist statements. The artists’ resume is ever-growing with artistic pieces and


the artist statements are never too far behind, but with this newly acquired knowledge, it makes me question what the future of writing in art could look like, and the direction that it may take; a topic that we will explore in the next chapter.





Proposing Change As mentioned before, writing in art has been evolving and is continuing to change. In the past writing was very strict and specified. The students were required to write (whatever the assignment or topic be) in a very organized, laid out and specific manner. However, slowly that type of writing has fallen through and the style of writing in art has begun to shift. Now writing in art is more flexible and artists have the freedom of going about the topic in the manner that they prefer. However, when interviewing two students at University of Denver, Julie Sirotek and Tingy Lin, I discovered that the amount of writing that takes place in art is not as much as one might think and though the artist statement is short in length, it is the only piece of writing that will be present throughout school and a career. Little amount of writing is not the issue, however, the issue is that because of the little amount of writing, the writing that is being completed is not as strong as it could be, and could be made stronger by focusing the writing towards benefiting the artist statement. This issue isn’t a huge issue, but it is one that could definitely be improved. No one is to blame for the issue, however the professors in the art department will be the ones to who will have the largest influence on how the issue is handled. With that being said, this issue is completely solvable and will only require minor tweaks here and there and will need to be built over time in order to grow stronger and more concrete.


Small steps over time will ultimately show for large results on this issue. If professors were able to assign more of a variety of writing for art students, that would be an excellent starting place. Currently, BFA majors only write research papers, cultural events and artist statements. Each of these three styles require very different forms of writing (research being fact-based and a very strict format, cultural event being very abstract and open-ended and the artist statement being abstract yet minimally informative) which is beneficial. All three types of these writing are useful and should remain as they are, however professors need to add something else. I think that if the professors were to assign more artist statement-type writing assignments the art students would become much stronger writers. Tingy claims that she has always had to do multiple revisions for her artist statements, and for her most recent one she had to do eight revisions! Of course, it is not likely that the first draft will be perfect, but if the students were to practice this more, then hopefully the final product would be produced much more smoothly. So how does one practice an artist statement without actually writing a real artist statement? There are a few potential ways that professors and students could go about this. Firstly, and most obviously, students can choose their own work to write their statements on. However, they would write is on simple pieces like work that is in their sketchbook or work that isn’t planning on going to a gallery. Also, for a bigger challenge that will not only help students with the actual writing but also thinking even more abstractly is to choose their peers’ work and create an artist statement for work that is not their own. This way the students will gain a perspective of how their work is being perceived and also force


them to think about art work in a new light when they are not given the artist statement but instead must create it. This is not drastically changing the way that art students are expected to write by any means, but rather is a small step that can be implemented often and hopefully the change will become evident. This also is just one possible solution, there are likely to be many other tricks and tactics that can help art students become stronger writers by finding the balance between art and writing in art. “But this is art, not English!” one might argue. Why fix what is not broken? There is already writing in the art major, why add more when there is already “enough”? Many art students might argue against the notion of adding more writing to the curriculum. At one point in the interview Julie mentioned how she was happy with the lack of writing in art and claimed that she is an artist because she doesn’t want to write. If I were in her shoes, I may too agree with her, after all, the major is art not English. However, had she been required to write more she (and art students in general) might have become a better writer without even realizing it. Focusing on artist statements from all different angles will not only help the art student while they are still a student, but also in their career. The artist statement has consistently been the one single piece of writing that is prevalent throughout all of college and the entire career of an artist. Also, adding more abstract writing could also help the students when constructing their resume. Much of the artist resume is visual and work based, but there is still an element of writing that is present. Having the students write in ways they have not before


may help them create a new or better perspective on their own work and may even help them create a stronger resume. The artist would be likely be able to get their thoughts and perspective across in a much more effective manner because they would be able to cater to the specific type of writing that would help set not only their resume apart from the others, but their art work as well. It would be quite the exaggeration to claim that the future of writing in art is in danger, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be improved. What is most important is that the art students are able to find a balance between creating art and writing about art. Professors need to be more aware of this and help instill more writing within the curriculum. More and different types of writing will not only help the artist write, but it also has the potential for the artist to become a better artist by challenging their perspective. Adding in the extra artist statements and challenging students by having them write statements on work other than their own will lead to more successful and thoughtful artist statements in their future career. Even other steps similar to this could help better the artist’s future resume. As an artist it is important to question “why” but that also needs to be done through writing. While trying to accomplish that task, the artist (through their artist statement) must also try to provide their audience with information and facts but not give away any perspective. These tasks that the artist, both as student and professional, must master are typically achieved, but not always gracefully. By adding different styles of writing and perhaps more challenging writing, the art student is bound to think outside of the box and question certain things in order to reach their answer and write more effectively. Writing in art has always been slowly shifting and evolving, so why not make this the next step?





Conclusion From discussing genres, to talking with current BFA students to questioning the future of writing in art, it is safe to say that there is more than meets the eye and that writing in this specific field is different than any other. I aimed for this book to flow from the general and factual ideas about writing in art to a more narrowed and personal view on the subject. Within each chapter I attempted at transitioning to a deeper level. I began with a simple, yet lengthy explanation of writing in art and ended with personal interviews and potential outlooks for the future of writing in art. I began with my initial research. Though I provided some of my perspective throughout my research, the objective of this first chapter was to provide the cold, hard facts about the present and past of writing in art. I then went into discussing a few of the several genres of writing in art. Before diving into each of the genre types, genre theory and genre were defined as well in the attempt of providing a clearer outline of what to expect when exploring the genres in art and writing in art. For example, the way in which the syllabus works was discussed; what is expected of a typical art syllabus and what it looks like to break that, and yet how it still falls under that genre. Along with the syllabus, art critiques are also a type of genre that was discussed. This type of writing is not present throughout college but is used in the future potentially, if 33

the student chooses to write about art. What was most heavily discussed revolving around this genre is that critiques tend to rely more on the negative than the positive. Though the art student will not be an art critique necessarily while still in school, the type of writing they learn in college helps prepare them for the future. The final genre that was discussed was the art resume. The art resume is drastically different from any resume in any other field. When one would write their job experience there are art pieces to show, and there are subjects such as gallery or exhibition that are not on other resumes but are crucial for the art resume. Along with the visual work, there is of course still the written resume. People typically do not break the norm in this genre because it is so strict. Once clarifying the genres of writing in art, I went onto interview two students at DU to get their take on the matter. What I learned from Julie Sirotek and Tingy Lin is that there truly is not a lot of writing in art. I didn’t assume that it would be writing focused, obviously, but I did think that there was more writing in the major than there actually is. They also brought to my attention that the artist statement is going to be the most important and consistent piece of writing throughout the BFA program. The artist statement, though seemingly short, will accompany every piece of art the artist completes in college and after. Julie and Tingy also mentioned how they are glad that the writing in minimal in art. They said that’s one of the reasons they like art, much of their work can speak for themselves. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when going into this interview, but I was hoping that they would bring a new perspective on the topic that wasn’t typically addressed in the textbooks or the research that I had previously done.


After gaining a fresh perspective on the topic, I stressed the importance of angling the writing in art to be more similar to that of the artist statements because though that specific type of writing may be short in length, it is the most important and often requires several revisions. It would also be beneficial not only in school but out of it as well. From general questions to more specific ones, I hope that there were bits and pieces of this book that you could take with you. As an art major myself, I was able to answer a lot of my own questions as well view the entire subject differently. Writing in art is often overlooked, yet is still very present. From looking at writing in art of the past, to how it is now, as well as how certain students perceive it, it is interesting to see how writing in art in the future will evolve.


Works Cited Apps, Linda. Artful Language: Academic Writing for the Art Student. Vol. 28. N.p.: Blackwell, 2009. 269-78. Print. Edwards, Harriet. "Art and Design Students Employing Aspects of the Visual and Metaphoric to Structure and Create Meaning in Writing." Art Design & Communication in Higher Education 3 (2004): 119-34. Print. Finch, Mick, and Chris Smith. "Writing on Practice." Journal of Visual Arts Practice 8 (2009): 3-5. Print. Grow, Gerald. "The Writing Problems of Visual Thinkers." Visible Language 28.2 (1994): 13435. Web. Lin, Tingy, and Julie Sirotek. "Writing In Art." Personal interview. 12 Apr. 2014. Lockheart, Yuen-yi. "Writing Threading Art Practices Across Space and Time." Third Text 27 (2013): 11-18. Web. McNiff, Kelsey. "On Creative Writing." Journal of Applied Arts & Health (2013): 2936. Web. Melles, Gavin, and Julia Lockheart. "Arts and Humanities in Higher Education." Sage Journals (2012): 1-18. Web. Parkinson, Gavin. (Blind Summit) Art Writing, Narrative, Middle Voice. N.p.: Wiley Blackwell, 2011. 268-87. Print. Robinson, Anne. "Underwriting: An Experiment in Charting Studio Practice." Journal of Visual Art Practice 8 (2009): 59-74. Web.


Schmidt, Leoni. "Visual Arts Practices." Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (Art & Design) (2010): 6-8. Web.



Writing In Art  

An in-depth glance of what writing in the art major looks like.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you