What is an Artist’s Statement?

StockSnap / Pixabay

Many times on different art sites, or when talking about an exhibition, I have been asked to incorporate an artists statement with my work.

When I first started out I was nonplussed…. a What??

Asking people pays dividends when there is something you do not understand and so it was in my case….except, I got many different responses.  Most were wrong.

So here is what i conceive an artists statement to be, after years of showing my work.

An artist’s statement is the piece that tells people about a work or body of work.  It is that work, or collections description.  It is the what, why and how.  It helps a viewer understand the concept behind the work.

The statement should not consist of long arty farty words, but be simple enough for a layman to understand.  You are writing for buyers and not for other artists.

How have you created the work people are looking at? What medium are you using?

What kind of images are they?  Seascapes?  Animal photography?  What is it?

Why are you making this kind of work?  What was in your head when you created it?  Are you making it for a specific reason, such as political, religious, etc?  Is there a cause involved?  Or is it something just close to your heart?  Why?  Keep this short and simple.

One of my favourite Artist Statements is on this page, http://www.poppishop.com/

welcome to poppi. poppi is the fun and clever alter ego of dawn benedetto. it’s a line of jewelry that doesn’t take life too seriously. the glass and sterling rings are dawn’s invention and are unique in that they stretch to fit most everyone.

poppi adds a splash of color to jeans or an extra spark to ignite a little black dress; heck, it’ll even brighten up a trip to the grocery store. if nothing else, it’s a statement.

poppi laughs. poppi flirts. poppi screams. poppi says it all without you saying a thing.

I love this as it paints a picture of the work before you have even seen it.  It is a happy quote.  The work feels happy before looking and, most important, it makes you want to look! (go on take a peek)

The most important about this example is how short it is.  You did not get bored reading it.  It is not a long list of achievements and tuition on how to do the work.  It tells you quickly what it is, why it is and how it is without any boring bits.  It captures other artists and buyers alike, no matter where your skill levels lie.

So to recap.

  1. How
  2. What
  3. Why
  4. Keep it short!
  5. Do not tell people what they should be seeing in the work
  6. Do not lecture
  7. Do not list awards
  8. Have a different statement per body/image

I hope this helps

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Isabella F A Shores
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Isabella F A Shores

I am the founder and Manager of several sites that cater for artists.I hope to chat to you on one of them!I am also an artist specialising in oils.In my spare time (haha) I live in Manchester and love animals and driving.I live with a long suffering BF and three crazy animals... or is that a crazy BF and.......
Isabella F A Shores
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