Yearly Archives: 2020

Letters Deep Forest, c. 1931
oil on canvas
by Emily Carr

Dear Artist, Yesterday, Charlotte Hussey wrote, “I’m not a painter, but a poet. I’m writing…

Letters Robert E. Lee confederate Monument, Richmond VIrgina, May 29, 1890
Granite and bronze
by Antonin Mercié
Repurposed and pending removal, July 2020

Recently, a group of art conservators were discussing the removal of monuments. “As a person invested in culture,” said one, “I have really conflicted feelings.” “Every public monument is an instrument of power,” said someone else. “Let’s put them in a museum with blurbs about their re-examined context,” said another. “Like the Berlin Wall, watching them tumble is terribly exciting,” said another. “But,” said someone else, “the sculptural rendering of that horse’s flank is magnificent!”

Letters Nonchaloir (Repose), 1911
oil on canvas
63.8 x 76.2 cm
by John Singer Sargent

Dear Artist, A subscriber wrote, “I have a bad habit of overworking a painting. I…

Letters Study for Entanglements, 2019
Kozo paper, ink, china marker, aerosol paint
200 × 100 inches
by Kentura Davis (b. 1984)

Growing up, my Dad used to casually throw out an idiom that went, “There’s no such thing as undiscovered genius.” Over time, as my brothers and I embarked on slow-burning careers in the arts, we internalized his words as a call to work as hard as possible. We fleshed out this ethic with another favourite family strap-line: “Keep busy while waiting for something to happen.”

Letters Blocks and Strips Work-Clothes Quilt, c. 1950s
Denim and cotton twill
87 x 66 inches
by Emma Lee Pettway Campbell (1928-2002)

Along the Alabama River just south of Selma, there’s a horseshoe-shaped turn resembling an inland island, where a cotton plantation once stood. In 1816, 18 slaves were brought to this bend by a man named Gee from North Carolina. A generation later, his cousin, Pettway, took over the plantation and brought more slaves — one of them, Dinah Miller, brought to the United States on a slave ship in 1859, has descendants living there today. When the last remaining African American slaves were emancipated on June 19th, 1865, many from the Pettway plantation, who now also went by the name of Pettway, continued to work there as sharecroppers.

Letters The Door of Justice, 2000
color lithograph
24.25 x 27.5 inches
by Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012)

Different from an artist statement, which is a written description in support of your work for the purpose of a deeper understanding of it, a mission statement can be one sentence that summarizes your purpose, values or goals. You may feel this kind of thing is obvious or that art is simply a form of breathing, but it can also be fun to try to encapsulate a raison d’être — even if just as an exercise for clarity, in this moment, for your work and life.

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