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Tips for Writing an Artist Statement

What is an artist statement?

An artist statement is a concise written document by the artist that explains the nature of his or her artistic work.

When is an artist statement used?

Exhibition purposes, grant applications, teaching position applications, fellowships, and more. It can be used in a number of ways, including to point the viewer to the concerns the artist considers to be important in the work, and to help publicists and critics write about the work.


Prepare your Artistic statement in paragraph form not to exceed 250 words.

Within this statement you must address the following questions:

  • Why do you XXX? What is your passion for XXX?
  • How do you view you own work as an artist in the context of XXX history and current developments in your artistic field?
  • What are your aspirations for bringing valuable and original contributions to the field of XXX?

Tips for Writing an artist statement

Begin by creating lists of the following in relation to your work:

  • Thematic focus of work
  • Content of work Influences (cultural, historical, theoretical, art historical)
  • Form of work (materials used, processes employed, tradition of work e.g. abstract, figurative, etc.)

After creating these lists, formalize and organize your material. Begin with a thesis statement and continue to build on it. Most statements are one page, often three or four paragraphs long.

Consider the following:

  • Clarify the conceptual parameters of your work in your own mind before you begin to write the statement (If you are unsure of what your work is about, your readers will be, too.)
  • Who is your audience?
  • Avoid editorializing or over-explaining.
  • Keep your statement concise, succinct, straightforward and to the point.
  • Avoid using jargon.

Other helpful hints:

  • Have a friend ask you questions about your work. Answer the questions, record the conversation or take notes.
  • Have someone who doesn't know your work ask you questions.
  • Read the statements or writings of artists with whom you have an affinity.
  • Write in the first person and avoid "art speak."
  • Speak as honestly and straightforward as you can. Edit out phrases that are not specific to your work.
  • There are experiences that are common to almost every artist that, although they may be powerful and profound for each individual, seem ordinary to the viewer.
  • Keep it concise; one page is more than enough.
  • Make the reader want to look at, and know more about your work.
  • Your statement should be more than just a description of your process



Updated:  Tuesday, July 27, 2010