How To Write An Artist Statement
- Write in the first person.
- Be brief.
- Describe the current direction of your work.
- Reread your statement a few days after you’ve written it.
- Use too many personal pronouns.
- Tell your life story.
- Quote or refer to anyone else by name.
- Forget to spell check.
If you’re not sure where to begin, try answering these questions:
When I work with _________ I am reminded that ________.
I begin a piece by ___________.
I know a piece is done when ______________.
When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of ____________.
When people see my work, I’d like them to ______________.
Now, begin with a simple statement of why you do the work you do. Then, tell the reader why you chose those materials, techniques, themes, etc. Keep it simple. Finally, tell the reader what you are exploring, attempting, or challenging by doing this work.
The following is an example of an artist’s statement that is comparable to a student from K-8th grade:
Hello, I work mostly with oils, acrylic, and/or watercolors, I’m also quite fond of pastel, and drawings. As my painting, drawing or sculptor suggest, my passion is nature and I love to paint still life, landscapes, domestic and wild animals, flora, birds and bugs.
A more indepth and explanatory artist’s statement, such as the following, is more appropriate from a student in 9-12th grade:
I think of my installations as unfinished inventories of fragments: objects, drawings, paintings, photographs, and other inventions. They are improvisational sites in which the constructed and the readymade are used to question our making of the world through language and knowledge. My arrangements are schematic, inviting the viewer to move into a space of speculation. I rely on our desires for beauty, poetics and seduction. The work thus far has used the frame of the museum to propose a secret history of modernity, and in the process, point to stereotypes of difference, which are hidden in plain sight. I have found the histories of surrealism and minimalism to be useful in the rearranging of received ideas. The objects I make are placed in the canon of modernist art, in hopes of making visible what is overlooked in the historicizing of the artist. This project has always been grounded in pleasure and aesthetics.