A strong artist statement is essential to the effective marketing of your art.
There’s no skating by on this one. You need at least one artist statement for each body of work you create.
Writing your statement is a process. Like any other type of writing or artmaking, you can’t expect to nail it in a single sitting. And, like all good things that take time, it will be time well spent. The process helps you gain clarity about your art.
If you can’t define your art in a statement, you will likely face difficulty marketing your work. Where else will you get language for wall labels, brochure and website text, informal presentations, and conversations?
Answering these three questions will help you write a better artist statement.
1. What, in particular, do you want people to see in your work? Is it . . .
- Your labor?
- A special material?
- An emotion?
- Color? Line? Texture?
What is important to you?
Discuss how you handle this aspect of your work. The words you choose for your statement should be clues that lead viewers to these discoveries.
Declaring “I love color” is weak language. Who doesn’t love color? Show us exactly how you respond to color and use it to transfer meaning from your head and heart to the viewer.
2. What is a distinguishing characteristic of your art?
A distinguishing characteristic might be one of the items in the list under #1 above or something else.
What makes your art different from artists working along the same lines? Emphasize this quality when you speak and write. Help us to see what makes you an original.
Part of your job is to educate others how to look at your work. Most people haven’t had a visual education. They need to be shown what to look for.
3. What do other people find delightful or surprising about your art?
If it captures one person’s attention, it will probably be fascinating to others as well. Listen to what people say about your art. Their discoveries might shock or confound you, but trying to understand where they’re coming from is part of the communication process.
You will learn a lot by listening to these insights, and I think you’ll be surprised that they pick up aspects of your work that you hadn’t consciously considered.
If you care to, please share your responses to these three questions in a comment.