Almost every time the topic of Artist Statements come up in coaching sessions, artists suddenly seemed gripped with fear and despair. Apparently, doing this exercise feels close to something of a punishment. So, is it really necessary? Do successful artist use artist statements? And more importantly, do art buyers care?
Actually, once the initial panic has settled and following some painful first attempts, the more interesting and exciting it gets. By consciously thinking and engaging in a deeper conversation about their work, artists often discover aspects and connections they themselves did consider before. Often, you end up with a better understanding of what you’re doing, renewed enthusiasm and confidence.
Of course, it’s easier if you have someone to interact and bounce off ideas with, but what do you do if you’re facing the computer screen and have to deliver a statement for your upcoming exhibition on a tight deadline?

Artist Statements: Dos and Don’ts

  • Use your own words and style
  • Stick to what really matters to you in your practice
  • Keep it as simple as possible
  • State your main practice area (paintor, sculptor, video art…)
  • Focus on the work and its content
  • Mention where your inspiration comes from
  • Mix emotional and theoretical discourse
  • Write in the first person /„I“ form
  • Answer following questions: How, What and Why
  • Keep the text clear and structured
  • Don’t speak about your work as if you were an art critic
  • Avoid cliché sentences and expressions
  • Don’t try to sound clever
  • Avoid language that’s very technical on material and/or process
  • Avoid anecdotes or personal biographical stories if not directly related to your work
  • Don’t rely on sloppy and inaccurate translations
  • Don’t use “artistic” font or design
  • Don’t forget that the artist statement is a tool for communication!
  • Try not to boring, make it exciting!
  • Do not make it too long And to answer the questions above, yes, a well crafted artist statement is necessary. Successful artist use them to explain, communicate and build trust by showing that they treat their work and practice professionally. Needless to say, this is something art buyers care very much about.

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