On Wednesdays, we look at artist/designer statements or About pages and discuss the vocabulary they use to describe their work. Today we’ll look at the About page of Danny Shervin, a painter that uses gunpowder as his medium.

Here is the text from his About page, in italics.

Danny Shervin is a painter based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He was born and raised in Jackson and grew up with the Grand Tetons in his backyard.

Growing up in Wyoming provided an incredible background to fuel his passion for art. He stumbled upon painting with gunpowder in college at the University of Montana in Bozeman and started experimenting with it later down the road.

His medium of choice is gunpowder and acrylic paint. He is best known for his wildlife gunpowder paintings on canvas and wood. Each painting is one of a kind and takes hours upon hours to get each and every detail set in place before burning it at the very end.

His work has been featured in the September/October 2015 issue of Mountain Living, at the Jackson Salon Show and Whodunnit at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole. He placed second at the Jackson Salon Show at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole.

When he is not painting, Danny enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, hiking and being outdoors.

Now my comments:

This artist includes a lot of good information in his About page, and he keeps the language simple and easy to understand. First, he shares his background, his inspiration, and how he became interested in painting. Next, he talks about how discovered his medium and then explains what makes his work unique. He also talks a little about his process and technique. Then, he lists the shows that his work has been featured in, the awards he’s won, and finally, shares his hobbies. The only thing he could add would be to talk about what makes his work challenging. His medium is very unusual and probably dangerous, so I imagine he has some interesting stories he could share.

Now, let’s look at the vocab he uses. Remember, we’ve discussed before that to be based somewhere means that is the place you live and work. In the first paragraph, we also see the phrase was born and raised. To raise someone means to take care of them when they are a child, so he was born and raised by his parents in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He also uses the phrase grew up, which is slightly different. To grow up means to become an adult. This happens even if no one is there to raise you. The Grand Tetons are large and beautiful mountains in Wyoming, and when he says they were in his backyard, he means he could see them easily from his house.

In the second paragraph, we see the word incredible, which means great or amazing, and in this situation, background means the background for everyday life. He’s saying that he thought it was a very inspirational place to live and that fueled his passion for art. We also see the phrase stumbled upon, which means he found it accidentally. He did not plan to do it. Gunpowder is exactly what you might guess – the powder used in guns. (It is very dangerous and can explode, so please don’t try this style of art yourself.) We also see the phrase later down the road. This is kind of unnecessary because down the road means the same thing as later, or in the future.

The phrase _______ of choice simply means the one you choose so you could use it to talk about your drink of choice, your language of choice, your music of choice, etc. To be best known for something is just what it sounds like. That is the thing people know the best about you. Wildlife means animals living in nature. The phrase one of a kind is commonly used in English and means there is nothing else like it. All his paintings are different. He also says each painting takes hours upon hours, which means it takes many hours to complete. People often use the phrase each and every this way for emphasis. There is no difference between them here, it just emphasizes that there are a lot of details. He’s telling us that these paintings are a lot of work.

The word featured means included, and an issue is one version of a newspaper or magazine. (A new issue comes out every week or month, etc.) Mountain Living is the name of the magazine. The phrase placed second is another way to say he got second place, or that his work was second best in the show.

This is an example of a good About page, but there are many of them that do not give much information or are difficult to understand. A language coach can help you to decide what information to include and how to phrase it to make it easily understood. The more your audience knows about you and your work, the more they will engage with it.

At Artglish, we help artists and designers to write a statement or About page that best describes their work. We focus on choosing the best vocabulary and language to help you share your work with others. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the artist’s website, click the link below:

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