Had to write this for my playwriting class as the final blog. It was definitely interesting to think about, and it will be cool to see how it evolves from here on out.
What do you guys think? If you had an “artist statement,” what would it consist of?
Artist Statement – Jordan Thomas
As a person, I like to and tend to (perhaps too much) ask the question “why?” I am analytical and perceptive, and this shows up everywhere in my life. I’d say the biggest reason I am the artist I am is because of my Christianity. And when I say Christian, I mean that in the literal sense of the word – “Christ follower.” No bigotry or religiosity for me, please and thanks. People tend to associate Christianity with blind faith, but I would say that my faith was actually rather difficult to come by. After being raised in a Christian home, I came to Ball State and tried to “own” my faith, but it wasn’t easy. Sophomore year, after searching everywhere else for fulfillment, I started to try and return to God. This meant sifting through those humongous questions I had about the world and the nature of God, what Jesus really taught, what He thought about me, if He was even real. I was pretty thorough. I spent a full year thinking, reading, discussing, researching, and asking God to reveal Himself. I can truly say that while the questions never stop coming, I have learned valuable lessons, and among these, the worth in asking and working through big questions. I can now say that I own my faith; it is real, not a product of my parents’ beliefs. It plays a vital role in the way I live my life, because I have a hope to cling to.
Because asking big questions is such a large part of my life and who I am, I tend to write with a concept or idea in mind. I believe that if people try and wrestle with the big questions in life rather than writing them off, they will become increasingly aware of the world as a whole, and how they fit in personally. I am very interested in how current events and history intertwine, and how different people make sense of the crazy mess that is our world. Because of this, my style tends to be more realistic, perhaps because I am dealing with real events. I’m opinionated and have things to say, which could get controversial but I’m working towards not caring. In my work, I don’t want to shy away from issues that are hard to talk about simply because they are controversial or jarring. I believe topics like violence, injustice, religion and politics need to be discussed, because otherwise they’re just the elephant in the room. And the elephant will stay there until we can bring him up and talk about him, hopefully in a mature manner that won’t create ill feelings… or, well, war. My favorite playwrights are Kushner and Nottage, both of whom also have very realistic and political/historical styles. I like that Nottage uses real events and personal research to create a story that illuminates a problem in our world – one that can be worked on and possibly abolished if there are higher levels of awareness. Her work has purpose. It is working to make our world better. I hope to write plays that do the same. I’m just one voice, but one voice can be the catalyst for a thousand thoughts and discussions. I want to start those discussions, making people think about their world and how they can contribute to its improvement.