Friday, July 4, 2014


I used to do a lot of writing, some of which included writing artists’ statements. I was reminded of this today when, while purging files, I came across “How to Write an Artist’s Statement.” The questions below were among those I asked folks for whom I was writing statements. They’re intended only as a jumping-off point; a good statement would include only a small number of these items. But by thinking about them, you should be able to create a short, cohesive paragraph or two. (And for gallery display, “short” is the key word here; people will read short statements, particularly if they include a photo of either you or your work.)

Sample of one of my artist's statements
If you’re at a loss for how to write an artist’s statement, perhaps these will help. (And while I’m at  it, don’t forget to proof read your final copy. A good way to do that is to read it aloud. Even better, if you’re working on a computer that will “read” to you, plug ‘er in and let ‘er rip. Any sentences that sound illogical or disjointed will jump out at you.)

In no particular order:
  1. What was your goal for this particular series?
  2. How long has this series been underdevelopment/how long have you worked on this series?
  3. Does this work continue previous work or is this a departure from previous work? Briefly explain.
  4. What do you want the viewer of this work to understand?
  5. What does the viewer need to know in order to understand this work?
  6. What should the viewer know in order to look at this work from a different point of view?
  7. What inspired this work?
  8. Have you handled your media/medium in any unusual way in this work?
  9. Why do you work in this particular media/medium?
  10. Does this work rely on symbols? What are they and what do they represent?
  11. Which artists, writers, musicians, film makers (if any) influence you?
12. Does anything in your childhood lend voice to your work?
13. What is your philosophy of life? (Be careful with this; the answers often are fraught with cliches.)
14. What is your philosophy of the place of art in life?
15. Why do you (paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, etc.)?
16. How has your training or education influenced your art?

17. What isn’t on this list that you would like to include?

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