Back in 2005, I was in my 3rd year at OCAD, and I was taking a course titled “professional practices”. This course was supposed to teach students “everything you need to know about being an artist outside of the studio”
One of the assignments was the creation of an artist statement.
Now, I’ve always hated artist statements. “If you need text to explain your images, you’ve failed as an image maker” sums up my feelings on the matter. But, I had to write one. I decided that since I wasn’t happy about having to do this, I should at least have some fun with it. The challenge I set for myself was tuning this task into a creative outlet. I wanted to come up with something that was unexpected and unconventional. I was a tech nerd who was surrounded by a lot of non-technically-minded people, so I figured I should go down that route.
In high school, I had taken a programming class, and in my spare time, I created an “automatic insulter” program. This was an .exe file that would print something mean whenever you double-clicked it’s icon. It was very simple, but it was also very easy to modify and expand. An automatic artist statement generator seemed like a good idea.
I fired up my old laptop, and loaded up my copy of QBASIC, and I got coding.
I wanted to straddle the line between genuine statements that applied to my art, and sarcasm/snark. I wanted to feed the professors the meaningless and long-winded text they were encouraging, while still being true to my own art.
I got the program working without much difficulty, and when it was my turn, I got up and read the output of this program to the class. After a few comments, I revealed the twist.
One professor really got what I was trying to say with the project, while the other just didn’t get it at all. My peers in the class loved it. It was fantastic!
I always wanted to put this little program up online, but I never knew just how to go about doing that. QBASIC doesn’t exactly execute in a browser, and I don’t know how to program in anything else, so I put it on my to-do list, and I forgot all about it. For 6 years.
Then the fantastic Arty Bollocks Generator made its way around the internet, and it gave me that little motivational kick to see this project through.
I still didn’t know how to go about doing an online version of this, but within days of seeing the Arty Bollocks Generator, I also saw my friend Syber, who just happens to be a web developer. She gave me some code to play with. I swapped out her text with mine, and created a working online version of my old BASIC program.
Here’s the link:
Online version of Kyle’s Artist Statement Generator