“Artist statements don’t have to be boring. They don’t even have to be read. They can be so much more if only we let them be.” - Gwenn Seemel
Writing your artist statement can seem daunting. You might think, I speak through my art, so why do I have to write about it? And you’re not the only one. So, consider your artist statement a welcoming guide to your work.
Once you’ve defined your art in words, you can speak clearly and confidently about it. And use the language in the rest of your marketing materials.
Use these 5 tips to write a compelling artist statement that will help win you more opportunities:
1. Tell a Story Instead of a Mission
Your artist statement is your chance to tell your own unique story and share your world. It’s what sets you apart from other artists. Tell your viewer why you create your art and what inspires you. Share what your art means to you and what is special about your creative process. The story of your art is much more welcoming than a mission statement. It allows the viewer to get to know you. And we suggest keeping it simple so your story doesn’t get lost in the details. You can go more in depth if viewers ask.
2. Make it Unique to You
Artist Gwenn Seemel recommends doing the “copy and paste test.” Essentially, if you can copy and paste part of your artist statement into someone else’s with no one the wiser, then it’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 doesn’t need to be written. With the rise of technology like the iPad, you can share your words via video. Watch Gwenn Seemel’s informative video “Writing an Artist's Statement” below:
3. Use Engaging and Specific Language
Your art is fantastic. Write about your art in the way it deserves. Shy away from lines like “I like to use color.” Expand and elaborate on how you respond to color. Step out of your comfort zone and truly speak from your heart. Say why your art gives you thrills. And consider using action verbs to take your statement up a notch. Instead of “My art aspires to,” tell your viewers directly what your art does. And use language that anyone interested in your art will be able to understand. Keep it conversational and welcoming. Your statement speaks for your art when you are not there to.
“Your artist statement speaks for your art when you are not there to.”
4. Keep It Short and Sweet
Sara Jones and Andrea Wenglowskyj of Kind Aesthetic suggest an artist statement should be between one and three paragraphs. You want just enough to guide the viewer and provide a framework for your art. If you explain too much or instruct, viewers can’t make their own observations. And it’s important for viewers to make their own intimate connection with your work. It will help a viewer become a buyer.
5. Ask For Second Opinions
Before sharing your artist statement with the public, have friends give you feedback. Ask them if it makes sense. Also, ask them what they feel and see when they view your art. They might have a different perspective that makes you see your art in a new light. And what delights and engages one person, will probably interest others as well. You can use these discoveries to add to your artist statement.
Need more help getting started? Check out "5 Questions Your Artist Statement Should Answer."
Want to Organize Your Art Business and Receive More Art Career Tips? Sign Up for Free Here.