Musings on Photography

Statement of Purpose

Posted in art is a verb, process by Paul Butzi on December 6, 2006

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One of the more valuable (to me) artworks in my studio is a linoleum print made by Dan Cautrell, a artist I admire a lot and know just a bit. The print reads

Statement of Purpose

I do the work because I want to.
I do the work because I like to.
I do the work because I know how.
I do the work to explore myself.
I do the work to engage others with thought, word, and deed.
I do the work because I have something to say.
I do the work because I have seen something beautiful.
I do the work because I have seen something ugly.
I do the work to be the kind of person I want to be.
I do the work to earn money.
I do the work to stay when I must go.

=cautrell

The print hangs right by the studio door, so I can see it and be reminded by it every time I enter or leave the studio. One of the reasons this is a favorite of mine is that it so neatly captures how our reasons for making art can be different at different times. You don’t always have to be working on something for the same reason. I’ll bet I’ve done work for every single one of the reasons Dan has listed; lots of times, I’ve done work for several of these all at once.

I know that, for me, the act of writing things down seems to make them more real. I’ve often wondered what effect making these prints (mine is numbered 73 of 200) has had on Dan. It’s an interesting reminder that making art has concrete effects in both the lives of the art-makers and lives of the people who end up living with the art day to day.

4 Responses

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  1. Andy Smith said, on December 7, 2006 at 7:47 am

    “One of the reasons this is a favorite of mine is that it so neatly captures how our reasons for making art can be different at different times. You don’t always have to be working on something for the same reason.”

    Thanks for saying that! I read over and over again arguments that say photographs should be for X, and someone else argues they should be for Y.

    Your point is correct, in my mind. We aren’t simple creatures. I can enjoy photographs made “for a meaning” and turn around and enjoy a photo that is simply beautiful. Both have value.

    Andy

  2. Anonymous said, on December 7, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    I love having the photographs of my friends on my walls. I love seeing the work everyday but even more is the connection I have with them everyday.

    The last few days I’ve really been looking at a small image I have from Sandy Fleming the mother of Kati Kim who was stranded in the snow along with her husband and daughters in Oregon. Kati and the girls were rescued but James perished while trying to get help for his family. When I saw the image I was connected even more to Sandy and the image has taken on an even deeper meaning for me.

    Art is such a connection to friends and the world.And I too identify with Dan Cautrell’s statement of purpose.

  3. Dan Cautrell « Musings on Photography said, on March 24, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    […] March 24th, 2007 A few weeks ago I spent some time scanning prints for Dan Cautrell, an artist who lives in the Snoqualmie Valley (not far from my home) and whose work I greatly admire.  Our art collection includes several of Dan’s prints, including the now world famous Statement of Purpose. […]

  4. Duybgjgv said, on December 13, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Thanks!,


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