There is one important thing to remember when writing your Artist Statement; people don’t just buy art, they buy into the artist. This is your secondary tool which will help you sell your art; they’ve seen the visuals, you’ve hooked them in and now they want to find out more.
The fundamental principle here is that people like to read about people; they like to hear about inspiration, influences, struggles, losses and wins. If you can get people interested in your story, they will be interested in you.
Things to include in an Artist Statement:
- Who are you?
- Why do you create art?
- What does art mean to you?
- What techniques to you use that you make your art unique?
- What is your inspiration?
Artist statements are usually about 200-250 words, which isn’t actually that much in order to answer the above questions.
I recommend you start by writing down everything you can think of which relate to the above. Get everything on paper, then revise, revise and re-revise.
Once you have that, chop it down some more.
We’re looking for the cream of the crop, only the best points make the cut, but how do you put together that attention-grabbing statement?
6 Essential Steps To Create A Superior Artist Statement
If you only remember one of these points, remember this one, keep it simple. The statement should be informative and add to the readers’ understanding of you, don’t confuse them with long words and art jargon. This won’t endear you, it will only serve to alienate.
Be confident in your statement. Don’t say that you are ‘trying’ to do something, say that you are ‘doing’ something. Everything you do is with purpose and although you might be experimenting with different techniques – people don’t want to buy experiments, they want to buy masterpieces.
3. Hook them in
Your artist’s statement is not insignificant; apart from the pictures your audience may be viewing, it is often the first insight the new viewer gets to you as an artist. Think of it as a first impression and a very effective marketing tool.
Remember you’re building a bridge between you and them; if you can hook them in, you may have a sale, if not, you still may have a fan, which may convert into a sale at some point. Make them want to find out more about you.
4. Be universal
While you might be looking to stand out and that’s not a bad thing, don’t do it to an extreme in your artists’ statement. Don’t be controversial, don’t dictate to them, don’t tell them how to feel and certainly don’t give them the option to disagree with your point of view.
Your statement is about you and how you feel. If you micromanage how people experience you and your art, you will turn them away. Direct them gently up the garden path, don’t push them.
5. Back to basics
Don’t assume that the reader has any prior knowledge about you. Ensure your artist statement can hold up on its own without any other material to support it.
6. Keep a little back
This is about you, but don’t lay yourself out on a plate. Experience and personal stories are a great way to connect with people, but it is easy to over-share. Hold some back and generate a little bit of mystery. If you tell them everything they need to know, why would they bother finding out any more?
As I’ve said before – get their attention, get them interested, and get them wanting more.
Once you’ve completed your artist statement you can pat yourself on the back, but you’re not done. The artist statement is an evolving document. As you grow and change, so will your hopes, aspirations and your art, and therefore your artist statement.
Keep it simple, keep it informative, aim to whet the appetite and keep it up-to-date.