Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Notes Towards a Artistic Statement

Notes Towards a Personal Statement
By Enid Brain

I. When I was a high school theatre teacher, my first assignment to all of my first-year students was for them to write an artistic manifesto – to tell me what it was that they stood for. Sitting down to write this now, I feel sympathy with all of them. How do you sum up yourself, your aesthetic, and your career in a way that impacts someone else out there in the ether?

II. Art saved my life. More exactly: the communities that art led me to saved my life. As someone who struggles with a lot of mental illness, the ability to create has always been a way out for me, a way of processing all of the big feelings going on in my head. When I was a kid, finding my way into the theatre gave me friends and introduced me to queer adults for the first time. I’m an educator because I am evangelical about the power of art to save young people’s lives. I’m an artist because I still need to save my own life. I’m an activist because art isn’t enough.

III. Things I like in art
Beautiful things in ugly places and ugly things in beautiful places
Work that is sad but hopeful
Anger and Beauty
Real, true emotion

IV. Things I don’t like in art
Transphobia. Racism. Homophobia. Imperialism. Capitalism.
Work that doesn’t take itself seriously.
Work that takes itself too seriously.
Work that feels sanitized, and toothless
Work that thinks it is smarter than its audience

V. I believe that the future of art is ours to write. I believe that the old ways are dying and the new are still being born. I believe that I have something to say. I believe you probably do as well. I believe that we need more trans stories on our stages and on our screens. I believe that I don’t owe my audience any answers. I believe I owe my audience truth. I believe in the power of political art. I believe in the limitations of art to impact politics. I believe that truth lies in contradiction. I believe in us. And, after many years of work, I believe in me.