Home Is Where The Art Is

If you are an artist, a lover of art then I hope that I can inspire you to do what you love.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

An Idiots Guide To Writing An Artist Statement.

In order to give the subject of artists statement justice I took it upon myself to research it. There is some good advice out there and as you can imagine there is some that I lost the will to live a 3rd of  the way through reading. I think that says a lot about how much I am prepared to read. I should add here that I like reading. I read a 'How To' and she used a cooking analogy throughout the whole thing. 'Add a pinch of this' and 'a dash of that'. I understand what she was aiming for but I was totally bemused by the end I had an 'Artist Stew'.
Here endeth the first lesson in artist statement writing. Keep it brief and to the point. I will list these as bullet points to make it less lengthy to read.

I have tried to fit it all into 10 points, I am not saying it is the definitive guide but it will definitely help you on your way.

  1. At all costs avoid the obvious openers 'My work...' 'My art...' 'In my work...' You are creative, think outside the box. Grab someones attention. Think of an adjective that best describes your work and open with that instead.
  2. Keep it short, six to eight sentences is plenty, there is no need for an essay.
  3. Avoid explaining your work, you should make your audience aware of your motivations, inspirations and your aesthetic objectives. Your work however, should stand on it's own two feet. your statement should merely give your audience a few guiding facts to help them better understand you and your work.
  4. Avoid 'artspeak' it will alienate people and just make you come off sounding pretentious. That isn't to say that you shouldn't talk intellectually about your work. Just remember that you're trying to be a help not a hindrance.
  5. It is good to explain why you use the materials that you do. It is often so integral to the work.
  6. Try and ensure that what you write has a flow. The best way to do this is to read it out aloud to yourself. You will naturally punctuate and hopefully expose horribly 'clunky' sentences. (I do this when I write my blog)
  7. Consider using a quote from an artist, author, philosopher as an opener. I am often inspired by words, or a paragraph from a book. It could help to contextualise your work.
  8. It is a good thing to keep it current, and forward thinking. If your work is questioning anything make sure that you communicate that.
  9. Make sure what you write is a true reflection of the qualities of the work. There is no point overselling the work in your artist statement because it will usually be read whilst looking at the work. Humility is the right note to strike not the big 'I am'.
  10. Do not reinvent the wheel. It is obvious as time progresses your work will follow suit. That does not mean starting from scratch. You will have the bones of a good artists statement that will just need fleshing out with maybe new motivations, different adjectives, new materials. The key thing to remember is to write for the right audiences. 

Good luck, I am available to any artists that might want a 1-2-1 to help them with their statements. At a cost of course. This was a freebie.

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