So, you’ve got an exhibition in mind and you’re ready to apply right? They’re asking you for an artist statement and you’re wondering how on earth you write something like that? Ok… maybe you’ve written a few already and are still not sure whether it’s the right thing… or you’ve done an online search on how to write an artist statement.
Well, let me say, I’ve written a few myself too and I’m still not 100% sure what’s right or what’s wrong, but I am sure that there is no 100% right or wrong. Different gallery owners and exhibition judges look for different things, I do know that. Remember too that there are a lot of people that are going to read your statement, should your application be successful. Of course you can have it featured on your Faceboook, Instagram page and website but also, if it’s going to be displayed on a plinth at an exhibition, people will stop and read about you.
Having hunted around on the internet myself on many occasions I’ve found that the main gist of writing is to include information about you and what inspired your work to come to fruition. It doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful or complicated. Keep it simple and keep it true. Avoid babbling on. You want to keep the reader there, looking at your work, not bored with verbal diarrhoea.
Add some humour to it too if it pushes your buttons. It may include a story (why not add in a cartoon perhaps?) from your childhood or an occasion where something ridiculous happened and from that came the inspiration for your work. For example… let’s say you face-planted a birthday cake one day by accident. From that point on you began to make face sculptures that had additional texture and layers added.
It’s all about sharing what’s true and genuine. Talk about yourself but keep it simple. We’re not sending out life stories here. Sincerity is the key.
Here are a few links which I’ve found helpful and you may also find can assist you in composing your statement:
Of course, plagiarism is out of the question but do check out some of the artist statements of artists you admire and you know have built a reputation for their work. Compare and pick out the bits you like and ask yourself why you like them. What is it about those sentences or paragraphs that you like so much? What appeals? Then write your own with all of the above in consideration.
Lastly, get someone who’s done it before and had success to read yours and pick it to bits. You may get a gold star, sure, but you may also get some objective criticism, which is of course invaluable to your own success and progress. The key thing with succeeding at how to write an artist statement, for sure, is to look at those who have gone before you. What have they done to succeed? Learn from them and utilise those learnings in your own development.
Knock yourself out! And… good luck 🙂