The Guide to Writing an Artist Statement

The words “Artist” have so many meanings. An Artist isn’t just someone who creates “art”, but also someone who practices it and then applies it into a daily routine. And, writing an effective artist statement involves detailed planning and execution.

The thought of medicine, astrology, philosophy, and chemistry comes to many minds and then the sight of an art gallery, the sound of a powerful song, or the thread fittings of a designer clothing, inevitably pops up in others. 

You might say riding a car, making your bed, or drafting out your day-to-day schedule is an art. Well, since it has something to do with “skills” and “creation”, and then it becomes a “practice”, simply put; pursuing a skill that is then acquired with study and practice is “art”.

What is an Artist Statement?

An artist’s statement (or artist statement) is an artist’s written description of their work. The brief verbal representation is for, and in support of, their own work to give the viewer understanding. – Wikipedia

Having a strong artist’s statement is a critical part of any artist’s exhibition.

The conduit for your viewers to access that beautifully creative mind. This won’t only serve as an expression to show the world what your art is all about, but how it affects you and the material on display.  

No matter how impeccable your artwork is, it is never fully conveyed until your audience digests your words to get a clearer picture of what inspired it. This is where a powerful statement from an artist makes a big difference. These words can be embodied in handouts, flyers, or graffiti and you carry the words with you around the world as an identity and a weapon.

To write a coherent artist guideline becomes a bit tricky when you try to identify and then find the right balance between “how”, “what” and “why” of your material. Below are comprehensive steps and guidelines on how to construct an artist statement that purely defines your identity;

1. Identifying your Audience

The audience diversity is the main recipient of artistry. They are an important reason for creating your art in the first place. They provide the right juxtaposition of both the good and bad effects that define the shape of your statement. They can be in the form of buyers, stray knowledge seekers, or school students. So, first and foremost, it is important to identify your audience and prepare the intended outcome rightly reflected while writing artist’s statement

artist statement format and guidelinesHowever, having the ability to have a clearer understanding of your audience comes in a platter. This enables the message clear and concise with a universal language format to convey a message that everyone understands. Communication is better, faster, and more reliable.

2. Content

Everyone wants a direct message and less sugarcoating and distractions. They also want to absorb your message in almost an instant because it is what they came for. 

artists statementAs aforementioned, the statement of an artist must include a reason, a description, and a piece of information buried underneath.

3. A Reason

Like in every other professional field, there should be a reason why an artist does what he or she does. It gives the audience a much stronger feel of your creativity. Hence one of the core purposes of writing an artist statement is to position your reasoning effectively.

Certain times and decisions in our lives inspire many others. That moment of brilliance or revelation that only lasts a second.

artist statement guidelinesWhy do you always include a blue rose in your painting, or why do you make the nose of this human sculpture a bit bigger? These are the questions that loom when you draft out your statement.

It has proven to be quite effective in emphasizing and highlighting your statement and connecting to the audience with relatable experiences.

4. A Description

It is imperative to make a rich and comprehensive passage in your statement that describes what exactly your material is. It gives the viewers grounded information about what they are witnessing, thereby making them garner and then think about your achievement.

Artist Statement

Courtesy – The Art of Education

To further clarify this, a good artist statement enables your audience to know the differences between the work at a raw stage and the finished stage, making them appreciate the success you have put forward to them.

5. Information

One of the important reasons people go out to see and witness art is because they are curious. Curiosity in a good sense can be sensed as the will to learn something new, a hidden knowledge, something to take home with them.

These are the secrets that make your exhibition worth seeing. A good artist statement should include sound information about what you went through to realize this dream. By highlighting the process, your viewers acquire a clearer picture of what tools and strategies you implemented in carrying out your work.

6. Style

Of what use will information be when it is not conveyed with a comprehensive and unrecognizable language?

This is the key to ultimately unlocking every barrier in communicating with the minds of your viewers. Your statement should be as clear as possible to leave no room for brain-racking vocabularies.

That is why it is much more advisable to stick to a maximum of 200 words. Let your wordings be straightforward and concise so all your viewers get what they came for completely free from confusion.

Courtesy – Robyn Wohl

It must be simple short and complete so you don’t bore out the curious onlookers. You should also pay much-needed information on the consistency of your texts while writing the artist’s statement and whether it goes to any length in contradicting basic knowledge.

Also, every sentence of a standard artist statement should be transmitted in first-person for better communication, that is,  “I” and not “he” “she” or “they”.

7. Presentation

As the world continues to grow in digital technology, most artist statements are now been submitted online with some coming with raw templates. From galleries, competitions, and local collections, the standards and methods of presentation have faced changes over the years.  

Check the materials you use in dishing out your work, from cards, papers, images, or wood. Whether your submission is offline or online. Also, always try to avoid the use of repetitive words and overlong sentences. It should be as brief and crisp as possible so it resembles a curriculum vitae or brochure and not a short novel.

Your artist statement should include the following context:

  • Political awareness
  • Professionalism
  • Humor
  • Intellectual
  • Emotional touch
  • Analytical

Also, make use of an identifiable technique for cohesive digestion from your audience. It will not only make them appreciate your art more but also make them eager to witness your exhibition again.

Images, they say are the perfect way to send a message, especially in the modern world. Every picture presented to support your lecture must be as inspiring as the art itself so there are a relationship and a better execution of your exhibition.

8. No Cynicism

Art is heart, and yes, an artist cannot be an artist if he or she doesn’t possess the natural gift and intelligence to excel in his or her field and has every right to feel cocky. Sometimes, this might be mistaken for confidence and can prove to be a major turn-off for your audience. 

It is advisable to make your artist statement presentation possess an honest tone without any bragging or boastful mantras. This will give you a better emotional and social touch to an audience that enables them to witness a heartfelt exhibition of art.

Avoid focusing on how your art “can change the world” but rather how the world has changed you to create an art of your experience living in it.

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Delivering inspiring and authentic content for the Art, Design and Culture lovers and allowing artists to draw inspiration from no less than the best works of art in the world.