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  • Writer's pictureSue Bulmer

Writing my Artist Manifesto

Those of you who follow me over on Instagram will know that I recently joined a fantastic artist membership group, run by the lovely, generous and all-round creative super-star, Alice Sheridan. I'd been thinking about joining for a while, membership only opens a couple of times a year but financially it was never the right time for me until recently. Membership opened in May and I snapped up the chance and signed up as I really feel ready for the next steps in my creative journey.

One of the first things I was advised to do after finding out where on my artist journey I am, was to make a start on my Artist Manifesto. I hadn't really ever thought I would need one and to be honest, didn't really know what one was. But I downloaded the guidance and it began to make sense, It's a personal (and public if you want it to be) declaration of intentions, values, motives and core beliefs. It's all about what I stand for, a statement of intent for my creative life,

There was an awful lot of head scratching involved and it was certainly a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. I've been making art as an adult since enrolling on my Foundation course in Art and Design in 2005, so it's been quite a long time. Before I started my MA in Art Therapy I had never really considered my 'why' and the reasons behind my creative path. I just made art because I enjoyed it and that was that!! I will never forget at the beginning of the course as I sat in the circle of eager newbie students ready to begin the 'studio' component of the first year and being told that the module would culminate in a 20 minute presentation about our work and our creative process, relating it to the theory of art therapy practice!!! I went into a bit of blind panic thinking that I would NEVER IN A MILION YEARS be able to talk about my work for 20 whole minutes. What was there to say? 'I do it 'cos I like it'? Then 19 minutes of silence?

Needless to say, I shouldn't have worried. After nine months of studying this whole new subject my thinking had changed immensely. Taking part in that Masters course was one of the best things I have ever done, from a transformational and personal change aspect. It really helped me to think about my art in a totally different way. The gentle guidance from the tutors, the reading, learning and discussions have all helped me to grow and appreciate the creative process in a whole new way. I think now I might struggle to cram it all in to 20 minutes,

So, I digress.... I think the point I'm trying to make is that my Masters training actually helped me to write my artist manifesto as I can now think about my work and my why in a different way.

I started with lots of random words, thoughts, phrases and eventually condensed it all down into this....

'Creativity is part of my identity. It gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment. It has led me on a profound and transformative journey of self-discovery and it has helped me to become authentically me. It has taken me from black and white to all of the colours, literally and metaphorically. I make my art to maintain my connection with my true self but also to form and nurture my connection with others. Through maintaining a regular and committed creative practice I will remain curious and openminded and I welcome the many opportunities that creativity brings to enable me to live a truly authentic creative life. I want to help others connect to creativity through the many layers of my work'

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