When people ask me: “Do you write about art?”
I reply in a flash: “I used to. I used to write criticisms based on history and theory in college.”
Then I realize how pathetic my answer is. I can actually reply with a simple yes or no, but why should I insist on such explanation.
I have been trained to write academically about art. I have been taught to write in layers and degree of criticism. I have been reminded every now and then of describing without using the words: beautiful and ugly, good and bad, but to incorporate aesthetics and words that could vividly depict an image in one’s imagination. I have been instructed to at least provide a frame when writing, perhaps use Barthes, Said, Karp, Berger in my articles and simplify them and make them speak to common people. I miss conversing that way. I miss being all theoretical yet simplistic when I write.
I remember initiating a writing project for myself once since an art magazine editor wanted me to write for her. I browsed through the publication and found feature articles about art. I thought it was going to be an easy task. But hell, it wasn’t. I started with the formalistic approach, but as I moved on, I could not help but criticize and point out what I found interesting and problematic which leaned more towards the theoretical side. Think: History, Anthropology, Cultural Studies. I always get trapped in the academic/theoretical way of writing/appreciating art. I feared my article would sound intimidating that only people involved in the art world might appreciate or at least read it. Thus, I never finished it and considered feature art writing not my strength at all.
Now I can only congratulate those writers who can write features for art. I never imagined myself saying this, but yes, somehow, I do wish I could write like you people.