An artist statement is essentially an artist’s story. It should showcase why the artist creates the artwork that they do and gives the audience a peek into their creative mind. At the end of the day, if you’re asking yourself how to write an artist statement, it is an introduction to who the artist is, and the work they create.
Statements are needed when applying for any funding, sending your art to a reviewer, putting art in a gallery, or any number of instances. It is also helpful for referencing in academia or social literature such as academic essays or social magazines. There are short and long versions of artist statements, depending on where it is needed to be published and if samples of work are included.
When pondering how to write an artist statement, a few things are crucial to its development.
- Introduction to artists and their work
Who are they as an artist? Why are they an artist? What type of artwork do they create?
Why is the artist creating art such as that? How does the statement connect to the artist, and how does their vision impact their work?
What inspired the artist’s vision?
What is the past behind their current artwork? Does history act as inspiration for their work?
Once you get through the basic points in writing an artist’s statement, you can get into more intricate details of the story that goes along with their artwork.
Sense of Control
Art is a very subjective form of creativity. What an artist sees when writing, painting, or sculpting, may not be what you see looking at the finished product. Writing an artist statement should be the cheat sheet for their work, giving the artist a slight sense of control over the adaption of their work. Audiences will still be able to interpret art differently as each person is inherently different, but giving them a nudge as to what the artist was going for could change that perspective slightly.
An artist’s controlled narrative over their artwork can act as an answering machine for any frequently asked questions destined to appear throughout the audience’s exploration of their artwork. Without the artist’s officiate statement, audiences can run with whatever narrative they chose and completely take over what the artist was going for initially.
With many artists’ presences being primarily online, using an artist statement as part of the artist’s professional portfolio is standard. It can be used as a public address to the world to showcase who the artist is and what they bring to the table in regard to both past and future pieces. Many artists will also connect their online portfolio to their artist statement to create a seamless transition to their entire scope of work.
While the artist’s statement is all about you as the artist, it is also about creating a connection with the person reading it. This is a chance to make a fan before they even see everything that the artist has to offer.
An artist’s statement should bring awareness to their art while showcasing who they are as an artist. Their story is relevant to their art in some way, shape, or form.
What Not to Write in an Artist Statement
While there are many avenues to take to write an artist statement, there are also several things not to do. An artist statement should not be a page full of bragging or dramatic expressions of how wonderful the artist is. There should not be much mention of family or childhood anecdotes unless they are truly relevant to the artwork. There should also be very little jargon, as this should be easily read no matter what the person’s background is, as everyone knows technical artistic terms.
Writing an artist statement can seem overwhelming. It can feel like there is a tremendous amount riding on one page of words. But in reality, if you can showcase who the artist is, and what they bring to the table, you have done your job. After reading this blog, you should feel confident in writing an artist statement that leaves an impact on its audience.
Adeline is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she majored in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Journalism. Currently living in Charlotte, she enjoys reading, volleyball, and strolling through her favorite farmers markets with her Goldendoodle Theo.