Art History Lab

The Art of Communication: Writing an Effective Artist Statement

Introduction to Artist Statements

Artists create works of art that communicate unique experiences, emotions, and perspectives. But how do they communicate the meaning behind their creation?

This is where artist statements come in. An artist statement is a concise summary that gives insight into the meaning behind a work of art, the artists vision, and the intended impact on the audience.

Artist statements are essential for artists as they serve as a way to communicate the relevance and meaning of their work to potential buyers, art critics, curators, and the public. This brief but powerful summary reveals the creative process and the inspiration behind the artwork, helping the viewer connect with the piece on a deeper level.

Purpose and Importance of Artist Statements

A well-crafted artist statement serves various purposes and is of utmost importance. First, it provides a brief overview of an artists vision, objectives, and creative process, all in one place.

As a result, it becomes evident to the viewer the meaning and ideas behind the artwork and the artist’s intended message. Moreover, it helps the artist to avoid misinterpretation, as people take the artwork differently based on their background, culture, and perspective.

Second, artist statements help to establish the artist’s credibility, professionalism, and expertise in the field. A clear and well-written statement communicates the artists seriousness, hard work, and dedication to their craft, thus inspiring confidence in collectors, gallery owners, and other art professionals.

Third, artist statements help the artist present the work in a clear and concise manner. By presenting the artwork alongside the artists statement, it becomes easier for the public to understand and appreciate the artwork.

Examples of Artist Statements

Andy Yoders work reflects his fascination with structures and the relationship between art and engineering. His artist statement reads, I want to make art that is visceral and impactful in a way that is not simply aesthetic or decorative but that speaks to the broader and deeper ideas about the nature of the world, visual culture, and place.

Nancy McIntyre’s paintings explore the natural landscape and the complexities of our relationship with it. Her artist statement reads, I paint from the real world; the wild places, the things that touch me on a deep level, the natural Earth, its cycles and systems, the beauty and wonder of it all.

Dawn Benedettos glass sculptures are influenced by the organic shapes of nature and their underlying mathematical structures. Her artist statement reads, I build sculptures by composing a series of tiny forms that interact with light.

I use mathematical concepts and our natural world as inspiration to create abstract, organic shapes. Alison Sigethys artwork incorporates glass in various forms, such as blown, fused, and cast, to depict aquatic flora and fauna.

Her artist statement reads, My work is an abstraction of the ocean. I am enchanted by the myriad shapes and colors of coral reefs, rocky tide pools, shells, and sea creatures that inspire me.

Adam Basantas sound-based installations explore the relationships between humans, technology, and sound. His artist statement reads, I create sound-based installations that reflect the complexities of our relationship with technology and explore the impact of technological advancements on our senses and environment.

Shoshanna Weinbergers mixed media works are a combination of painting, drawing, and embroidery. Her artist statement reads, My art is a reflection of my experience of femininity- playful and powerful, nurturing and complex.

I use a variety of mediums to create work that is tactile, intimate, and raw.

Examples of Famous Artists Statements

Mark Rothko was an Abstract Expressionist painter known for his large canvases and the use of color. In his artist statement, he writes, Although I sometimes strive for the perception of world events that would seem most opposed to my behavior as an artist, I find that the great majority of them reinforce my faith in art.

Pablo Picasso is a famous abstract artist whose work has influenced the growth and development of modern art movements. In his statements, he said that The purpose of art is to wash the dust of daily life off our souls, highlighting the power of art in providing relief from the mundanity of daily life.

Georgia OKeeffe was an American painter whose work revitalized the tradition of still life painting. In her artist statement, she writes, When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.

I want to give that world to someone else. OKeeffes statement reveals the pure joy and wonder of observing the natural world.

Conclusion

In conclusion, artist statements are an essential tool for artists to communicate their vision, creative process, and desired impact on the audience. Through artist statements, the viewer can gain a deeper understanding of the artwork, and appreciate the connection between the artist and their medium.

It is essential that as an artist, you create a clear and well-crafted statement that reflects your artistry, vision, and objective. As a viewer, take the time to read these statements and appreciate the creative process behind the art.

How to Write an Artist Statement

Whether you are an emerging or established artist, a well-crafted artist statement can serve as a crucial tool in sharing your creative vision with the public. However, writing an effective artist statement requires careful consideration of various elements.

Below are some subtopics to consider when writing an artist statement.

Taking Sufficient Time

Writing an artist statement is not a task that should be rushed – it requires careful consideration and time management. Give yourself sufficient time to reflect on the themes and meanings of your artwork and to brainstorm initial ideas.

Rushing the writing process might lead to inconsistencies in message or mistakes that you could have easily avoided given more time.

Examining Artwork

Before starting to write, analyze your artwork and observe its visual features, parallels, contrasts and details. Ask yourself questions such as what specific elements make this artwork stand out, what inspires you, and how do these elements relate to your overall creative vision.

By understanding the artwork intimately, you’ll be able to better convey the meaning and emotions that motivate your practice.

Considering Inspirations

What significant influencers have impacted your artistic practice? An artist’s statement should include a small genesis narrative detailing the sources of inspiration and evolution of your artistic practice.

Consider discussing the way your inspirations might influence the messages in your work, and how they have shaped your perspective.

Defining Statement and Message

Your artist statement should make your intention explicit: what message do you want to convey? What emotions are you trying to explore or enhance?

It is also important to consider the experience that the artwork is meant to create for the audience – what meaning or impression should they have when viewing your artwork?

Taking Viewers Into Account

When drafting your artist statement, it’s important to always keep your target audience in mind. Consider how they might decipher your intentions, and how to effectively communicate to them through your writing.

Additionally, professional and clear writing can be an important factor in showing your audience that you are taking your artistic practice seriously, and that you have put thought into the writing of your statement.

Creating the First Draft

Taking all the preparatory steps into account, it’s time to craft the first draft of your artist statement. This should be your thought process in concise form.

Conceptualize your statement carefully, taking as much space as necessary to get your thoughts on paper. During this stage, Grammar, length and clarity are secondary to telling the story of your artwork and the ideas that motivate your creative theories.

Revising Statements

Once your first draft is complete, the revision process begins. Editing the document should be done thoroughly, with attention to spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.

Revising and eliminating generic prose should be done carefully and purposefully to maintain consistency with your idea while improving readability. It may be worthwhile to seek the help of a professional colleague in crafting your revised statement.

A good rule of thumb is to take at least a couple of days before finalizing it.

Seeking Feedback

Even if an artist statement may seem personal, it is still subject to environmental variables. Seeking feedback from colleagues and art professionals can help to identify areas of the statement that might need clarification, resolve misunderstandings or omissions, and ensure that the message is effectively communicated.

What Good Statements Include and Exclude

Context and Point of View

An artist statement should always provide context and remain with the artists point of view. Explain the topics in a way that aids in comprehension, and allow viewers to enjoy your artistic practices by removing the esoteric or academic terminology.

Active Voice and Captivating Style

One of the most important considerations is a captivating style that engages the reader with simple language and thoughtful phrasing. Active voice should be used within the statement to personalize the ideas in the text.

Avoiding Artspeak and Cliches

An artist statement is an opportunity to convey the uniqueness of who you are as an artist. Too often, art terminology can become overwhelming and generalized, involving buzzwords that detract from the work itself or that obscure its message.

An artist should strive to minimize the use of clichs and academic buzzwords, which can make the statement feel inauthentic and contrived.

Omitting Achievements and Awards

In most cases, achievements and accomplishments are best left to the artist’s CV or profile. An artist statement should focus instead on the artwork at hand, and on the artist’s messages.

An overemphasis on awards can obscure the significance of the inner self-expression and emotional tenets of an artist’s work.

Balanced Statements

It’s important to avoid broad assertions and binary pronouncements in your artist statement as they can do a disservice to the complexity of the work and diminish its virtue. Contrasting your ideas when standing it against different views or practices can lead to a better understanding of where the unique qualities of your art lie.

Balanced statements make room for growth and exploration while effectively conveying your work’s underlying emotional components.

Conclusion

A well-written artist statement serves as an extension of an artists artwork and artistic intentions. Writing it requires careful thought on themes, inspirations, and desired impact on the audience.

When writing artist statements, create a statement that is concise, clear, and tailored towards a specific audience. Take time and revise after drafting, and remove potential cliches and buzzwords.

A successful artist statement is one that effectively captures the essence of your artwork and artistic vision. In conclusion, writing an artist statement is a crucial step in effectively communicating the meaning, vision, and intentions behind your artwork.

Taking sufficient time to analyze your artwork, consider your inspirations, and define your statement and message is essential for crafting a powerful artist statement. Additionally, considering your audience, creating a well-structured draft, seeking feedback, and revising the statement are crucial steps toward a final product that effectively conveys your artistic practice.

Remember, a good artist statement includes context, an active voice, avoids artspeak and cliches, omits achievements and awards, and strives for balanced statements. By following these guidelines and putting thought into the writing process, you can create an artist statement that enhances the understanding and appreciation of your artwork, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

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