I made my poor graduate students write a blog post laying out what they think their core values are as artists. And then (this is so cruel) I asked them what their mission statement is.
It's hard not to be cynical about mission statements. It's all such horseshit if you allow it to be. I've been involved in some of the most pointless, solipsistic yammering ever to be put to text, in the name of defining an entity by committee. But, my students are reading Morrie Warshawski's Shaking the Money Tree (shame on you if you haven't read it), and the author set this exact exercise out as the most important thing you can do to begin to explain your work to possible funders. And then even if funding doesn't come, as it often doesn't, you still have a clarified view.
I promised I would partake in this exercise as well. My disclaimer is this: my values and mission change, so I don't mean to imply that this is a fixed and permanent way that I go about things.
I believe that if you can label an artwork easily, then a part of it has already died.
I believe that if you are afraid of doing something, then it's probably exactly what needs to be done.
I believe that if you don't know how to do it yourself, it shouldn't show up in your art.
I believe that the most important revolution is the one you don't see.
I believe in perfect clarity of expression of the most unclear thoughts.
My job is to make art that reveals the hidden structures of the Universe.