William Poe Studio

Eureka Springs, Arkansas


Writing about art is so different from visual experience; it is the visual experience, unencumbered by an artist statement, that I believe works best in the presentation of one's art. Nonetheless, writing about art can provide a gateway, and that is what I hope to accomplish in these few lines.

There is an infinite variety of definitions for what constitutes art. To narrow the range in my case, I must admit that I am a traditional artist in the sense that I continue to hold that touching a canvas with paint, working on paper with drawing materials, is a profound endeavor for an artist and almost anything the artist presents can affect, or having meaning, to the viewer.

Anymore, defining quality, and even what the word means, is problematic. Perhaps, that an artist develops a personal style and develops a visual language that satisfies is the best one can hope for. The type of art I do is in a different arena than works created for graphic design, animation, and so many other art forms that require a certain agreed-upon skill.

A fellow artist once looked at my paintings and asked if I were "self-taught." It is an interesting question because I have a BA in studio art and some time in an MFA program, though I decided, ultimately, to get my MA in anthropology with an emphasis on indigenous art. I would say that, well, I am "self-taught" in the sense that I ignore a lot of what I heard in art classes because I was after a personal means of expression. That said, I know what I am doing with the elements of art: the colors, lines, forms, shapes, designs, proportions, perspectives. The choices are my own.

I work as an artist because I have to - the visions inside demand expression. Again, writing about art - what does that mean? Especially by those who don't look at art much, I am asked, "what is that" or "what were you trying to do" or "what does it mean" and you know, those are questions I ask myself, they remain verbally unanswered. Producing art is an act of discovery. I sometimes work from photos or previously made drawings; I go where the moment takes me. In either case, intuitively working as I go, I discover things about myself, my relation to being a living breathing entity in an otherwise chaotic world. To work is to bring order, focus, discovery, to explore, and in the end, to look at the finished work and wonder as another artist put it: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?