Whether you “totally hate” Art History or not, it’s pretty much a certain that you’re going to work on some assignment dealing with the subject during your time at FIT. Though these assignments will take many forms, there are some key aspects to remember that apply to most writing about art or design. Here’s a refresher on the major elements discussed in most Art History papers, and some topics to consider when discussing artworks/designs in writing.
Writing can be a significant part of any artist’s design process and can help you to develop sophisticated ways to articulate the significance of your work, your personal perspective and your aesthetic.
Design Philosophy/Artist Statements
Artists and designers often write statements that offer admirers of their work greater insight into the collection/portfolio, the design process of the artist, or what inspires the artist. Some of these statements are about a page and others are as short as a paragraph. You have to decide what works best for you and for your readers. Either way, they need to be concise, yet meaningful. Man Bartlett’s video (second down on the right) gives you an idea of how some artists choose to discuss their work and process.
Here are some questions that can help you build your own design philosophy/artist statement:
- What inspires you as a designer?
- What drives your design process?
- What’s important to you as a designer?
- What’s the theme or story behind your collection/portfolio?
- How does that theme or story influence how you designed this collection/portfolio?
- As a designer, what point are you trying to express through your collection/portfolio?
Maya Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC while she was in college and won a nation-wide competition for her work (see video top right). She believes her design was chosen over others in part due to the essay she wrote to accompany it. Writing can be a significant part of any artist’s design process and can help you to develop sophisticated ways to articulate the significance of your work, your personal perspective and your aesthetic.