Dan Fone Post 4 – Writing

By in Events & Review


Just had my MA assessment. The show opens this week. These have been frantically busy times. They’ve been fun, though, by and large. I’m now having to gear up to meet the world beyond my MA. Ouch.

We’ve had visits from the careers advisers. That sentence makes them sound a bit like vermin control or something doesn’t it? Sorry careers advisers! One thing this raises is the ugly prospect of having to write about oneself in a self promotional context. I don’t think I’ve met a single artist who genuinely enjoys doing this. It has to be done though.

I’ve read quite a few artists’ statements over the years, largely in my capacity as a volunteer at the House Gallery in Camberwell. Many of them have been stinkers. I often get the feeling that a lot of younger artists think they need to make out they’re Derrida’s love child in their statements. You read them and can’t understand half of it. It’s tough enough reading that stuff in a theory book and then it has the excuse of being translated. I’ve never once been impressed by verbosity in a statement.

What has impressed me has been careful presentation of an application as a whole package. We’d usually know very quickly which ones were going to be good applications from the moment they came out of the envelope. A good application looked cared for. A bad one didn’t. That simple. I say this because closer inspection invariably backed up the first impression.

I think it’s easy to de-humanise anyone who’s opening your application. When you do that they become intimidating shadowy ogres with impossible standards. Don’t do that to yourself, there’s just no need. And if you get rejected, that’s okay too. Often things get rejected because they don’t fit what was needed that month or year. It might have nothing to do with the quality of the work. A thick skin is the order of the day.

But heck, I’m writing all of this as ballast for myself. I’ll have a few of these applications to write myself in the next month, no doubt. Which reminds me, Our MA final show website can be found at mada2009.madigitalarts.co.uk. Come along to the show and check us out if you happen to be nearby. The show opens on the 15th July.

About The Author


I have a Masters in Digital Arts I’ve cycled (very slowly) through the Alps. It would have been a lot easier without the 20kg of luggage. Maybe next time I’ll just take my toothbrush and a pair of pants. I’m hard of hearing and wear two hearing aids. It’s not really that big a deal though. I listen to a lot of music. Most of it is either drones, bleeps or sounds like things being kicked down a spiral staircase. Did I mention I’m hard of hearing? I love both high and low culture. I’m generally not that bothered about the three for two table in Waterstones though. I think the journalists are right when they say Middlemarch is the greatest novel written in English.

2 comments for “Dan Fone Post 4 – Writing


July 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I’m just about to enter all that (starting – as mature student) my fine art degree at Demontfort and already all the faff around art I just want it to speak for itself!

I know it will be a requirement but hey aready have a degree in English/media/Politics so can B?S with the best of them!!!

And kudos on the film you linked to there’s some fantastic stuff going on!


July 19, 2009 at 12:30 am

I actually went into my MA thinking all art theory was absolute rubbish but I’ve grown to see it as really important in getting direction in my work. It’s not a good idea to take it too seriously but you shouldn’t let yourself be bullied by it either.

And don’t bs people. Just write about your work and contextualise it as honestly and simply as you can. BS smells.

My friend Simon edited the film from bits of all of our work on the course. So kudos to him.

Enjoy your degree,


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