Here’s the second part to the previous post on the artist’s statement. In this second part, we’ll discuss how to write the artist’s statement. What to include and what to leave out.
Tips On How to Write an Artist’s Statement
The important thing to keep in mind when writing an artist’s statement is that you need to understand where you are coming from. You need to know yourself and what drives you to make a particular piece of work. It can be a general influence that drives all your artwork or a specific influence — like an event— that lead you to the creation of one piece. Either way, you really need to understand where you are coming from in order to be able to express yourself to others.
When writing your artist’s statement, you might want to give a glimpse of your mental process to the audience. You want to mainly talk about what idea, event, influence, lead to the epiphany that made you create your piece(s). It may be obvious to you, but not to the viewer of your artwork.
You may want to express if and how your artwork reflects the world or your perspective on a certain subject.
Conversely, you may want to express how the world influences your art or your perspective.
You may also want to explain how deep-seated events (or just one event) have influenced your passion for art or the type of subject matter you deal with or even the style in which you draw.
You can explain why the medium you use is the best medium for you to express your vision. For example, why do you find yourself more attracted to oil instead of acrylic paint, charcoal vs. graphite, or photography vs. drawing/painting? what does your medium allow you to do and why do you value what you can do with that medium? In other words, why is it important to you to get your message across with one medium and not another? This also helps the art collector understand the value of the art.
Writing an artist’s statement should detail things that directly influenced your piece, because it’s your piece the viewer is interested in knowing more about and not how many years of art school you did; those types of facts do not weigh heavily on the average art viewer. The power of your passion and your works do.
Keep it simple. Two paragraphs maximum — three maybe. The reason for this is that you want people to read the entire statement so that they get all you need them to get from it. Additionally, you want to be as clear and as concise as possible. If you cannot explain it simply, then you need to go back to the very first step on how to write an artist statement. You need to go back and nail your feelings, ideas, or the concept.
Things You Want To Avoid When Writing Your Artist’s Statement
It is not necessary to write a mini auto-biography, unless it directly relates to your artwork. When you went to art school or which numerous art awards you’ve received, etc. can also be left out. If it did not directly influence the piece, you can leave it out.
Writing a CV or artist’s resume is something entirely different for yet another purpose. Don’t detail what or how many shows you’ve been in. This will most likely bore the art patron and change their affinity for your artowrk entirely. Rather than having them linger on your piece a little longer, or making them think about it, the art patron will move on bored and with nothing to think about. If they’re not thinking about it, your artwork is not going to make an impression on your viewers and they will not remember it very well- and like we mentioned before, if there’s more to your piece than its visual value, it opens the doors for discussion which in turn creates a deep impression in the art patron’s memory.
How to Begin When You Don’t Know What To Say
We recommend you start writing your artist statement in the middle. Say what you know you want to say, then go back to the top and summarize it or create a small intro to your middle! Read it through out loud several times to make sure sentences make sense and spelling is correct.
You should definitely try using a thesaurus to avoid repeating the same words over and over and over and over….
If you’re worried about the calrity of your statement, your local city college has a department full of english tutors that will be more than happy to edit and help you develop your artist statement.
Like in our previous tips post, the artist’s statement is about communication and helping your viewer understand you and your work. You can reveal as much or as little as you need to in order to get across your vision or general sensation. The point is, talk about the piece.