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Writing An Artist Statement 

© by Carl (CAKUart); all rights reserved

 

Writing an artist statement is an artists ultimate testimony to their vision and purpose behind the actual work he or she produces.

 

There is something quite alluring about an artist who has a definitive explanation for what they do, why and how they do it. That is why an artist statement could be considered to be the "decoding document" that summarises your artwork.How to write an artist statement

Some artists struggle with how to write an artist statement. 

But creating one doesn't mean you have to come up with some far out philosophical poem. 

You just need to be authentic and honest.


What Is An Artist Statement?

An artist statement could be summarised as...

A written deed or verbal illustration that clearly explains the motives, inspiration, influences and overall philosophy behind the artist and his or her work.

But it's not all about explaining what you do just so the public will understand. 

There is something fundamentality unique about writing an artist statement. It is a personal endorsement to your position as an artist and to your creative vision.

 

What Is The Best Approach To Writing An Artist Statement?  

The first thing you have to do when writing an artist statement is stop the "mind noise" and don't over analyse.

One of the biggest frustrations an artist has with writing an artist statement is this fear that they will not be able to give their work the justice it deserves in word format.

Part of this problem is because they are concerned they will "pigeon hole" themselves unintentionally by not being able to completely express their existence as an artist with words.

There is no need to be concerned that you will be misinterpreted, criticised or judged by your artist statement if you simply apply a little confidence when you begin to write it down. If you can control those fears then you'll avoid writing too much and looking like a fake.

When writing an artist statement, write it so a fourteen year old would be able to understand it.

In other words... the more clearly and less "artsy" you can be with your statement, the more interest you'll capture because you will be catering to a wide audience.

The tone of your statement should be conversational. It doesn’t need to be formal or sound official.

An artist statement is not about trying to impress people. Its purpose is simply to welcome your audience and present the foundation of you as an artist.

Also…try not to "tell" people what they will see in your art. It's not your job to coach them or inform them on how they will or should respond to your artwork.

 

How Important Is Having An Artist Statement?  

Having an artist statement is not as important as the work you produce. But from a marketing perspective, it is a very effective alternative of communicating to your audience. 

While your physical work captures the public's attention visually and emotionally, your statement captures people's attention on a coherent level.

An artist statement is an invitation into your world as an artist. 

It is an invitation that many onlookers want to accept, but they can only do so if you make it easily accessible. If there is any element of confusion on behalf of your audience, they will have reservations about wanting to enquire further into your work.

When I first started exhibiting I use to get a lot of questions about my work. 

To be truthful, at the time I was still discovering my path, so I did not always have a solid answer. But I began to notice that people were asking the same questions, just in different ways. 

Eventually I came up with an answer that summarised the basis of these enquiries and used it in my artist statement. 

I even noticed one lady nodding her head slowly as she read my statement, which was positioned next to my work. Her body language was saying, "Ah… I was just about to ask about that… and here it is."

So one good kick-starter for you may be to simply address common questions people have asked at your exhibits and incorporate the answers into your artist statement.
 

Get a Second Opinion

When you think you have something that you are happy with – road test it.

Before you sign your name to your artist statement... get another point of view by running it past some of your friends and family.  If they look a bit bewildered when they read it and they don't make the connection with your artist statement and your artwork… then you should consider rewriting your statement.

The idea is.... you want them to be able appreciate the message as much as you appreciate it.

Just remember to be authentic and honest. Do that and you'll eventually document your world as an artist into words that everybody will understand and appreciate.

 

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