After all, you`re an artist – not a writer – aren`t you? A well-written artist statement may have the power to break a tie in an art competition, an artist scholarship application, or secure your place in a coveted artist residency program. Think of your artist statement as a caption on a radio show, similar to what you would include in a social media post. An artist statement, like a caption, aims to enhance engagement by giving the visual image the desired context and relevance. It will likely appear next to your work in a gallery, exhibition, art fair, or in a press release of your exhibition. Try to think of writing a statement as an invigorating challenge. Going through this exercise can lead to new ways of thinking about your practice and lead you to positive changes. Your artist statement is not a complete description of your work – think instead of the statement that leads to the work. „Artists` statements don`t have to be boring. They don`t even need to be read. They can be so much more if we let them be. – Gwenn Seemel Wrong area. Does your practice range from „drawing and sculpture to video and artists` books“ or do you simply make „drawings, sculptures, videos and artists` books“? Nowadays, the wrong domain is a creeping and completely accepted form of writing, but the informed reader will notice it and condemn you for it. An incorrect range creates a continuum between one thing and another when there is no real continuum.
Yes, your palette can „go from blue to red“ (color is a spectrum). But your influences can`t include „everything from Wanda Sykes` stand-up to Tamagotchi pets to garlands“ (there`s no middle ground between Tamagotchi and garlands). You can use statements with two paragraphs (about half a page) to talk about a specific set of your work, or you can be more concise about the most important information about your work. Does the simple pronunciation of the two words „artist`s statement“ cause you to hit your computer and walk away from your pens and pencils to a place where artists` statements don`t exist? Alison Sigethy is an artist who creates sculptures with glass environmental themes. In her artist statement, she beautifully explains where she draws inspiration from when she creates kinetic elements of water and the art of glass inspired by nature. There are few documents that are more important than your artist statement. Honor its importance by questioning it with as many outside comments as possible. Try selecting reviewers with different skills. Include someone who understands your work, someone who is an experienced writer with excellent grammar, and finally someone who doesn`t know your work. Make sure not everyone is an artist – readers should be able to understand your statement without knowing all the references or terms.
For the sake of clarity, we define the „artist`s statement“ because I have already complicated things unnecessarily by introducing a marriage metaphor into the mix. „English of International Art.“ Chances are you`ve seen, read, and felt destabilized by this in press releases, wall tags, and testimonials from other people`s artists. This convoluted and imprecise language seeks to elevate what it describes through non-specific word choices, invented „spaces“ (the space of reality, the space of dialectics) and complicated grammatical structures. For an in-depth analysis of this phenomenon, which is most intensely prevalent by the art world`s e-flow messaging service, please read this fantastic article in Triple Canopy. The next important thing you need to do when writing an artist statement is to explain your art in words that would shape the viewer`s perspective. Your art is your point of view, and it`s easy to misunderstand. To make sure you and the viewer are on the same page, add a line or two to explain your art. But avoid revealing all the details of your work. Try to leave some room for curiosity so that the viewer needs to learn more about your art. Incorporate it into the submission. Read aloud, edit.
Read aloud, edit. Take a break (one day, one week), come back to it, read it aloud and ask the above questions again. Remember that this doesn`t have to represent your job forever and ever. Like the Constitution of the United States, an artist`s statement is a living document. You can update it as many times as you want. Some of the best artist statements are less than 100 words. One rule of thumb you can follow here is this: the shorter, the better. Find an example of an artist statement that you can relate to and inspire with ideas. Consider it your replacement if you are not present to answer questions about your art. Art is subjective. People will look at your job and evaluate it. So it`s helpful to share your story with the viewer.
Viewers often have questions about the art they are watching. An effective artist statement answers these questions while you`re not around. Artist Gwenn Seemel recommends performing the „copy and paste test“. Essentially, if you can copy and paste part of your artist`s statement into someone else`s without anyone being smarter, then that`s not personal enough. You want to write something that can`t be said by any artist. Write in the first person and tell people why you are original. Gwenn also says that your statement does not need to be written. With the advent of technology like the iPad, you can share your words via video.
Watch Gwenn Seemel`s informative video „Writing an Artist Statement“ below: you`ve thought about it, you`ve answered the what and why. They avoided all of the above. But there`s a good chance you still have a lot of extra baggage in that statement, or it doesn`t quite hit the right grade, or you feel like it might be more fun to read. You can now edit, review, optimize, trim, and shape this statement. In their 2008 survey of North American art schools and art programs at universities, Garrett-Petts and Nash found that nearly 90 percent teach writing artist testimonials as part of the program; In addition, they found that your artist statement should be a written description of your artwork that gives deeper insight into your work through your personal history, selection of materials, and topics that interest you. This helps both viewers understand what`s most important to you and galleries explain your work to potential buyers. In a full-page artist statement, don`t forget to state the following: An artist statement should briefly describe how the artist works and what their work means. It is no more than one page and can be as short as a hundred words. You can use it for galleries, press mentions, art portfolios, apps, and submissions.
To write a powerful artist statement, it is important: an artist statement is not your life story, a manifesto or a list of your achievements. Nor is it an artist biography. An artist biography is a summary of the important events in your life that lead to your artistic career. Unlike an artist`s statement, an artist`s biography can be written in the third person. He will understand when and where you were born and where you are now based. Here are some examples of artist testimonials that can inspire you: In addition to your portfolio of works, you must have an artist statement ready at all times. This is the first point of communication between you as an artist and the viewer. Here`s a simple do`s and don`t list to sum it all up. You can use it as a format for your artist statement: artist statements vary in length, tone, and purpose.
However, all statements by effective artists have certain qualities in common. They answer the „how“, the „what“ and the „why“. You need to make the connection between what you create as an artist and why you do it. How do you express your ideas with the medium of your choice? Answer the right questions – An effective artist statement answers the „how“, „what“ and „why“. Think about all the questions you would normally have if you were looking at a work of art. Interview yourself. What would a potential buyer, funding agency or art competition judge want to know about your work? Tip: When writing, remember that you should avoid exaggerated statements and avoid pretentious terms such as „the only“ or the „best.“ I like to think of the artist`s statement as the wedding toast of the art world. When you inhale it, you are suddenly on the spot in front of many waiting faces, trying to put a relationship (between you and your art) in words that you have always felt intuitively.
We`ve all seen those toasts. They are not doing well. And most importantly, give the people you`re asking for feedback enough time to read your statement and respond to you. Don`t do this: „Hiiiii, it`s due in an hour, you can check it out for me pls thx bye!“ Creative professionals write artist statements as part of their online portfolio. An online portfolio serves as a business address and launching pad for finding job and recognition opportunities. Artists` statements go hand in hand with a portfolio website. A website helps you gain credibility and legitimacy. Take a look at some great examples of artist portfolio websites. Look at your art as you read it again. Remember that your artist declaration must be up to date. You don`t need to summarize a large-scale practice from the beginning of your baby artist days until today. It should reflect all the images you provide next to it.
In other words, your artist statement shouldn`t be so ambitious that you`re talking about making installations the size of a room when your paintings are a few small watercolors. The artist`s statements were the subject of a research project by sociologist Alix Rule and artist David Levine on the technical language of the contemporary art world. Levine & Rule featured in its 2012 article International Art English, published in the American art magazine Triple Canopy, and analyzed thousands of gallery press releases published by e-flux since 1999 to dissect and understand the particular language of the professional art world….