12 October 2006

i hate artists' statements

i really hate artists' statements. it's that essay test that i was never prepared to write. yes, in high school i stayed up too late reading the entire 'east of eden' the night before the test until i passed out in exhaustion, and i couldn't tell the story in the book from my dreams about it the next day. the lines get blurry around 3a. but i digress. i hate artists' statements. i can't cram my life into an essay very well, nor can i hire out for someone to do it for me. with anything else, i can look at other writings for an example. most artists' statements seem plagued with self-conscious stiffness and obvious omissions, or are too flowery and glossy to be taken seriously. occasionally, there is the tongue in cheek entirely made up one that mocks the establishment, but today none of these will do. i need to convey something specific, and the way to convey it "properly" eludes me. i am generally not this fake in real life.

what i am supposed to say:

kirsten a. moore is a fashion designer whose company piper ewan has been in business for over 8 years. she combines traditional couture sewing techniques with modern style. each piece is hand finished and embellished with fine detail. her designs are other-worldly and timeless with one foot in the early twentieth century and one foot in the present. blah blah blah

i hate talking in the third person.

the truth or how would i really describe myself:

yesterday i made flowers flowers flowers. i spent way too much time on the computer this morning before i make flowers flowers flowers again today. i stayed up until 3a last night for no good reason again. this has been going on for about three weeks now. i am in my pajamas at home still well after noon, and i can't seem to get in to work at a reasonable hour to save my life. i keep thinking about how i want to make corsets, how i need to order more fabric, but i am waiting for some checks to arrive that are late, which makes my bills late or in some cases, i hold my breath in hopes that checks don't bounce. and now today, i am sitting at home (and have to stay at home), because my cat is sick, and i have to write stupid artists' statements and press releases which are due in two days. some days i like to make flowers. what i really like is the satisfaction of having one in every colour combination. this takes forever, is truly unrealistic, and makes me feel insane.

everything i make takes forever. it begins by me getting an idea, and i have to make it. i dig through my pile of fabric for the right one. i draft the pattern in my size, and then i put it together as quickly as possible so i can wear it. that is the first step, and ideally that is what happens first. what prevents me form making that first step: i have to be able to reproduce it. i have to be able to reproduce it in any size. i have to be able to reproduce it in comparable fabric. i have to be able to put down what needs to be done (orders and things that pay immediate cash) to do it. this is when ideas swell in my head forever. the good news is that i am usually ahead with the ideas, so i can wait on making them. it is about 4-6 years before i have made something, worn it been asked for it, produced it, not sold it and gotten bored of it and given up on it when it makes its way into the main stream. this is first.

then there are the things that sell. do i dislike making then? no, but i get tired of production. i have made 1001 garters so far. i just placed an order for more ribbon yesterday. a nearly $300. order (and boring like buying new tires for your car or taking the cat to the vet; necessary, but not very satisfying) to make more garter bands, so that i may continue. i don't know how many wedding dresses i have made, how many skirts, corsets, etc. i especially don't want to know how many flowers i have made. i know, i need to hire someone. i have managed to let go of many aspects of the business, but now i have to find that right person it will take to train how to make what is supposedly my signature.

now, my signature. these damn flowers. i don't know if you know this about me, but i don't consider the flowers to be my signature. they are part of it. if i truly had to say, i would say that my main objective is to create functional art. it doesn't satisfy me to make something whose sole purpose is to hang on a wall. form AND function. now i have nothing against fine art. it is not frivolous to be surrounded by pretty things. i have several paintings on my wall that i love. creating fine art just doesn't interest me; which brings me to my next point: i am also fascinated by taking something that already exists, and making it better. and by better, i mean making it in a way that suits me. for example, i like corsets, but i also like comfort and breathing. by designing and producing a corset that fits to one's body rather than having one's body conform to it, is more reasonable to me. this sensibility carries into all of my designs. i like embellishment, because i like colour, but i don't just focus on embellishment. i also like simple well fitted designs that work for every day wear. i feel better when i am wearing nice clothes. i can be in a bad mood all day if i am wearing the wrong thing. such as: having to pull my tights up and my shirt down all day, or having the wrong colour on, or if i forgot my ring. i hate all these things, and they really bother me.

the thing i must return to is the forever part. it takes forever for me to make anything. it's all in the details and the details are killing me. those slip-dresses you like so much; you know, the one's with the roses around the bottom? they retail for $550. i was pleased i could get the price so LOW. there are many steps in the process of me making any garment. even if i had it manufactured by slave children in china. but it is not made in china, it is made here, and made by me. my craftsmanship is perfect. why? because if you are going to spend that amount of money on a garment, it should last. you should be able to wear it every day. i wear my zillion dollar dresses to work in my warehouse studio, to the grocery store, i crawl on the floor with my cat in them, play with my friend's baby in them. if i did a crappy job, they wouldn't be much less expensive, and i wouldn't be in business for long. bad craftsmanship is a cardinal sin, and too common. so common in fact that people seem to take it for granted in this town (which effects me too, and irritates me to no end).

that brings me back to the flowers. the flowers sell. they are the irresistible eye candy that is your consolation prize when you can't afford the garment. or worse, you can afford the garment, (you tried it on, and it looked fabulous), but "i don't know if i can pull this off." i'm tired. i can't convince you. i don't want to try. this excuse is frustrating beyond all others. why? because you don't get it. i am beyond tired of the empty promises that you are going to get something someday. (and for those of you who are just saving up, waiting for that windfall or the right thing, i know the difference between you and those i am referring to). it is discouraging to hear the empty promise, because you aren't fooling anyone. i know the difference, and i know when i am being lied to. it is not a compliment. it is a false hope, and it is just plain irritating. go shop at ross or target, and don't waste my time. for the rest who love what i do, please keep coming. i don't care if you ever buy anything. i like your company. i will continue to dress you up, and have a good time letting you try everything on. you are the ones who bring your friends, who spread the word. you are the ones who are my champions, and you are the ones who i will cut a good deal to when that perfect piece comes along that i didn't even know i made for you.

1 comment:

Karl H Lind said...

while making artist statements certainly suck (for confirmation feel free to review my various attempts at online puffery) waffling would be clients beat them by a mile.