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5 Steps to Write Your Perfect Artist Statement

Whether you are applying for a residence, soliciting a gallery to display your work, or seeking funding for your next project, an artist statement is essential for the practicing artist. A well-written and artfully crafted account can open doors for your career and your work. But what is an artist statement exactly, and why should you take the time to prepare one?

Read on to learn why creative professionals take time to prepare a statement describing their work and how to prepare one that will position your art with purpose.

What Is an Artist Statement?

Let’s begin with the basics. An artist statement is a written description of your art and why you create it. From a viewer perspective, it’s like the dust jacket of a novel that describes the work and the author who wrote it. And just as many people literally judge the book by the words written inside the cover, first impressions about your work can be made by your artist statement.

Think of your artist statement like the blub inside the book’s cover. It will speak to people about who you are and give them a unique perspective of your work. Make it conversational, so people feel like they are getting to know you and your passion for the work. 

How to Write Your Statement

Perhaps you are a painter, a sculptor, or a creator of digital media. Your Medium isn’t necessarily the written word, but that doesn’t mean you can’t channel your creative energy into a great artist statement. You can check out these artists for some inspiration.

Follow these steps to put your thoughts to paper:

  1. Brainstorm – don’t start writing right away. Instead, pull together your collection of work and think of adjectives that describe it. Think about how you feel when you see it and how you want others to feel. 
  2. State your Medium – it may seem obvious, but many artists fail to describe the Medium they use to express their creativity. Make sure to state what Medium you work in (paintings, sculptures, installation, non-narrative video, durational performance, etc.). It’s incredible how many statements don’t include that basic fact.

  3.  Explain Why – This isn’t an exercise in art history, and it’s not an attempt to convince people to like your work. Tell readers why you love the work you’ve created, what influenced it, and how it inspires the viewer.

  4. Describe Your Process – Unless you are using some proprietary, patented process no one has ever seen before, fill in the audience on how you created the work. This adds depth to the viewer’s understanding and helps them appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

  5. Let Your Personality Come Through – If you’re not a super happy fluffy cloud type person, don’t try to fake it with your artist statement. Be authentic in your voice and style.

Make a Statement

An artist statement may seem excessive to artists who have already spent hours, weeks, or months to create the perfect portfolio. However, as more artists compete for grant opportunities, commissions, and gallery showings, it’s essential to take the extra time to describe your work. 

For more tips and ideas to support your creative efforts, please explore the rest of our site. 

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