How To Write An Artist’s Statement

I know of many artists who operate professionally from a home base, or – basically the same thing – from a home studio.

And as every professional artist and anyone who frequents exhibitions know, one of the things an artist has to produce from time to time is an Artist’s Statement.

Having read a lot of Artist’s Statements, and actually lent a hand in the preparation of a few of them, I’ve observed, and I say this respectfully, that many artists actually communicate with the rest of us much more effectively through their art than through their Statements.

Maybe Monet or Pollock printed out Statements. If so, I actually don’t feel any sense of having missed out. But I am glad I’ve seen some of their works.

When I read some of these Statements, I sometimes wonder whether one or other artist has attended one too many academic lectures on post-modernism, or post-post-modernism and taken too many notes. I’ve had a pretty good liberal education and some grounding in aesthetics and art history, plus lots of visits to exhibitions and galleries over the years. But I am regularly bamboozled by the tangled, often pretentious, jargon-loaded verbiage in some of these Statements.

I think I understand something of why academic artists write that way. But I can’t help thinking that some other artists write this way because they think it’s expected, or that it somehow makes their work more “significant” (in the degraded sense of “important” rather than the etymologically purer sense of “pointing to”, “sign-ifying” something).

I know at least one artist who would prefer to just do her art and never have to produce a “Statement” about the particular work, much less about her “oeuvre“.

So it was with some pleasure  that I read Michelle Drake’s Coachamatic post Howto: Write an Artist Statement. Six points, spot on. And I liked especially Point 5:

“KISS (Keep It Simple…S)  Everyone should be able to understand your statement…not just art history majors..”.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.