A well-crafted artist statement helps you define who you are as an artist, explain your motivation and your inspiration. It can be a description of how your work evolved, and what makes you unique.
There’s an old joke that an artist statement is convoluted unintelligible gibberish and sometimes it may seem that this is true. Don’t fall into the trap of using sixty-four dollar words or overly complicated language.
Your statement should be straightforward, understandable and approachable. Other people appreciate hearing about you and your work when you use an authentic voice that speaks to them clearly. Use first person narrative when writing so that it conveys more of a personal statement.
Plan to make your artist’s statement “evergreen” so that it won’t be out of date quickly. Rather than talking about a show you will participate in next month, focus more on your vision and the big picture, which will be relevant for a longer time. Review your artist statement every year or so and update as needed so that it reflects your current direction.
Consider answering these questions when writing your artist statement:
- What techniques are you using, and why are they unique?
- What is the message behind your work?
- Describe your signature style, and how you developed it.
- How has your work evolved over time?
- What motivated you to become an artist?
It can take a while to get your artist’s statement into a final version that you are happy with. If you feel that you don’t write well, ask a mentor or a capable writer for assistance. Have any spelling and grammar mistakes corrected, and ask someone you respect to read it and give you some honest feedback. Do they understand your artist’s statement? Does it seem complete?
In a future article, we’ll be giving you lots of ways that you can use that artist’s statement, so sharpen your pencil and plan to get started on a statement that reflects your work as an artist.
Considering a mentor? The Arts Business has a consulting program to help artists and craftspeople develop their small businesses. Visit our consulting page for more information on working with a mentor in your own personalized business strategy session.