What is an Artist Statement?

It is a core professional document you should always have on file as an artist. Curators, reporters, and gallery owners will ask to see it. It is often posted on an artist’s website.  It is an organic document, meaning it changes as your work does. It’s revised whenever your work changes.  

The best artist’s statements are short, around two paragraphs.  

This blog post has an excellent summary of what should and shouldn’t be included in an artist’s statement:  

This first paragraph in the link below is an excellent example of a well-written statement about an artist’s work (scroll down the page to see the written statement). Though your statement will be written in the first person, this is a great example to study:

https://www.jamescohan.com/artists/firelei-baez

Here is another good example we will discuss in class:

https://toryfolliard.com/artists/jason-rohlf

Once again, keep in mind that these are not exactly first person artist’s statements, as yours will be, but rather great examples of the kinds of things you should write about in your statement.

Things to include:

Describe the imagery you use (your subject matter).

Describe the larger ideas behind your work (your concepts).

Describe the materials you use.

How do subject, concept, and materials work together in your art? What does your art explore?

Important things to keep in mind:

Writing a good artist’s statement takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Edit, edit, edit. Your first draft won’t be your best draft.

Edit out vague sentences. Avoid sentences like, “My art is an expression of who I am and what I feel.”

Write about what your work is, not what it isn’t. Avoid sentences like, “I am not interested in abstract ideas.”

Remember your artist’s statement is not a bio. It is about your art, not about you.

The first draft of your Artist’s Statement is due Feb. 7. Bring a printed copy to class.

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