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Writing Artist Statements

Artist statements are essential because they provide a window into an artist's creative world, offering viewers a deeper understanding of the artwork's context, intention, and the artist's unique perspective, enhancing the connection between art and audience, and fostering appreciation and engagement in the art community + Challenge

Advanced Learning

Artist statements come in various forms, tailored to the artist's style, medium, and intended audience. Here are some different types of artist statements:

  • Personal Statement:

This is the most common type of artist statement and provides insights into the artist's personal journey, motivations, and experiences that influence their work. It often includes anecdotes and reflects the artist's identity.

  • Conceptual Statement:

Conceptual artist statements focus on the ideas, concepts, and theories behind an artist's work. They delve into the intellectual aspects of the art, explaining the philosophical or theoretical foundations. 

  • Technical Statement:

Artists who work with complex or unconventional techniques may write technical statements. These statements discuss the processes, materials, and technical aspects of creating the art.

  • Formal Statement:

Formal artist statements are more structured and academic in tone. They may discuss the artist's background, education, artistic influences, and accomplishments in a formal and professional manner.

  • Poetic Statement:

Poetic artist statements use vivid language and imagery to evoke emotions and provide an artistic experience in the statement itself. They often aim to create a connection between the viewer and the art.

  • Manifesto or Mission Statement:

Some artists write manifestos or mission statements that articulate their beliefs, values, and goals as artists. These statements may reflect a commitment to a particular art movement or ideology.

  • Curatorial Statement:

Artists who curate exhibitions or shows may write curatorial statements that explain their curatorial choices, themes, and objectives for the exhibition. These statements guide viewers through the exhibition.

  • Exhibition Statement:

An exhibition statement is specific to a particular art exhibition and provides context and insight into the theme, concept, or purpose of the exhibition. It may include details about participating artists and artworks.

  • Response to a Prompt:

Sometimes artists are asked to respond to a specific prompt or theme when writing their artist statement. These statements are tailored to address the prompt's requirements.

  • Artist Bio:

While not strictly an artist statement, an artist bio provides a concise summary of the artist's background, achievements, and notable exhibitions. It often complements a longer artist statement.

  • Statement for Grant Applications:

When applying for grants or funding, artists may need to write statements that focus on their project proposal, its goals, and the anticipated impact of their work.

  • Gallery Statement:

Artists represented by galleries may work with gallery owners or curators to create gallery-specific statements that introduce their work to gallery visitors.

  • Public Art Proposal Statement: When submitting proposals for public art projects, artists provide statements that explain their concept, vision, and how their art will interact with the public space.

Each type of artist statement serves a unique purpose, and artists often use multiple types depending on the context and audience. The key is to choose the type that best suits your goals and the message you want to convey about your art.

For more detailed help, download the pdf below.

How To

Writing a personal artist statement can be a creative and introspective process, but there's no one-size-fits-all formula because each artist's statement should reflect their unique voice, style, and motivations. However, you can follow a general framework to ensure your artist statement effectively communicates your artistic vision and resonates with your audience. Here's a formula to help you get started:


1. Introduction (Hook):

Begin with a captivating opening sentence or paragraph that grabs the reader's attention and introduces your artistic identity. This should be concise but intriguing.


2. Artistic Focus and Medium:

Clearly state your primary artistic focus or theme. Describe the medium or materials you work with and any signature techniques that define your style.


3. Motivation and Inspiration:

Explain what motivates you as an artist. Share the sources of inspiration behind your work, whether they are personal experiences, emotions, social issues, or philosophical ideas.


4. Creative Process:

Describe your creative process, including how you approach your work, develop ideas, and execute your art. Offer insights into the techniques, methods, or tools you use.


5. Themes and Concepts:

Discuss the recurring themes, concepts, or narratives that are central to your art. Explain why these themes are important to you and how they evolve in your work.


6. Influences and References:

Mention artists, movements, or cultural influences that have shaped your artistic journey. Explain how these influences manifest in your work.


7. Unique Perspective:

Emphasise what sets your art apart from others. Discuss your unique perspective, vision, or artistic philosophy that distinguishes your work in the art world.


8. Audience Engagement:

Share how you intend for your art to engage or provoke your audience. Discuss the emotions, questions, or reactions you hope your work elicits.


9. Impact and Goals:

Explain the impact you aspire to make through your art, whether it's creating awareness, inspiring change, or simply providing aesthetic pleasure. Share your long-term artistic goals.


10. Conclusion and Invitation:

Conclude with a reflection on your artistic journey and express gratitude to your audience. Invite readers to connect with your work, attend your exhibitions, or explore your portfolio further.


11. Edit and Revise:

After writing your artist statement, review and edit it for clarity, conciseness, and coherence. Seek feedback from peers or mentors to refine your statement.


12. Maintain Authenticity:

While following this framework, ensure that your artist statement remains authentic and reflective of your personal voice and style.


Remember that your artist statement should be a living document that evolves along with your art practice. Regularly revisit and update it to ensure it accurately represents your current work and vision.

Download Printable Document

Article supplied by Linda Forrester

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