Intro to arts writing 101 with Chloë
First thing: when I say arts writing I don’t mean art criticism. You’re allowed to have an opinion, but keep that out of it, for the most part. Who are we to judge work? Who is anyone to judge work? I don’t care how many years you went to art school for, it’s not your place.
Write about art. Tell its story, tell the artist’s story. Look and listen to what they have to say. How do they want their name spelled? Any capitals? Make sure. Arts writing has its own quirks.
Writing about art and reporting on art is not the same. Don’t report, it’s boring and impersonal. Get personal. Talk to the artist, get sensitive, ask questions or don’t. Feel out that vibe, observe, react and research.
Take notes, sketch things out, make connections to other artists, to writers, to music, to things you learned in school. Eventually, it all mirrors itself and you’ll be able to start noticing thematic patterns everywhere you go.
Look at everything like it’s a work of art: the city, the skyline, architecture, the way windows expose an interior, how light falls in a space. Who occupies that place? How do they occupy it?
A person’s art is intimate, it’s personal, sometimes it’s a secret. Share your connections with them, sometimes a tit for tat really loosens up a conversation.
It’s important to share your perspective. Otherwise, everything is the way I see it, and that’s not very inclusive is it? We all have our biases, and it’s okay, in arts writing, to use those biases in our favour. Write about something you care about, but demonstrate that without having to use things like “I think” and “In my opinion,” those are for opinion pieces.
Be self-reflexive in the process. How did this work speak to you? Put visual ideas into words. Don’t be too fluffy, be concise. Don’t be as poetic as this text you’re reading right now.
Thank you for reading this all the way through! If you would like to give arts writing a try, email me email@example.com! If not, well that’s cool too! Thank you for your time and attention.