November 9, 2009 | Alyson Stanfield

5 Tips for Improving Your Artist Statement

When is the last time you took a long look at your artist statement?

Did you close the file months ago thinking you were done with it? Think again.

Your statement has the potential to be one of your strongest promotional tools. A well-written statement empowers you. The process of writing or perfecting your statement is a chance to clarify your thoughts.

It helps you define your art before someone else does that for you.

Improving Your Artist Statement

Here are 5 tips for honing your statement.

Ranit Elkrief, Twins. Acrylic on paper, 45 x 35 centimeters. ©2003 The Artist
Ranit Elkrief, Twins. Acrylic on paper, 45 x 35 centimeters. ©2003 The Artist

1. Whittle down your statement to a maximum of two paragraphs—knowing that our attention spans are much shorter these days.

2. Your artist statement should reflect your current direction, particularly what is unique about the methods and materials you use to create your art work.

Do not include anything about your influences or past lives in your statement. Write about where you’re going and what you want viewers to take away. You want readers to focus on the future and where you’re headed, not the long story about how you got to where you are.

3. Allow time between your draft and editing of the draft. It is a good idea to step away from your writing for a few hours to see it with fresh eyes. It’s too easy to get bogged down in the language and miss the message.

4. In the editing process, look to eliminate redundancy as well as descriptions and sentences that could be applied to any ole artist’s work. You’re seeking the right words that describe with your artistic contribution.

5. Above all, your artist statement should compel readers to look at your art. If it doesn’t do that, it hasn’t done its job.

Your statement has failed if people read the words you’ve written, and then they go on to the next artist without being intrigued enough to take another look at your work.

FINAL WORD: Your artist statement should be organic. Allow it to grow and change. You wouldn’t allow your artwork to stagnate, would you? Likewise, using old words to describe new ideas doesn’t make sense. Get that statement out and start honing it.

 

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