What is it?

Visual artists are often asked to explain their work through a tedious bit of copy called an “Artist Statement”. Its just about the most dreadful thing to have to create as an artist and its the first thing any application or gallery or curator will ask you to provide. Ultimately, you need it, and you need it to explain clearly and concisely: why do you make your art?, what inspires you and what is it?  The other thing is that your artist statement is always evolving, just as your work evolves, so you can’t just write this up and use it for the rest of your artistic life, you need to update, write and re-write…

In your head, you instinctively know the answers to these questions, but can verbalize them all in a few minutes? Probably not. It takes me the better part of a day to create these few precious lines and I’ll still revisit them days or weeks later to make sure I’m still making sense. BUT, there is an upside to this process. Once you slug through all the deep thoughts of your art and ideas, you appear on the other side with some very clear ideas about who you are and what you do- this is so empowering as an artist. For me, I find it clears away some of the clutter and allows me to focus on what is really important to my work- from a technique, a conceptual idea or just my purpose.  It also gives the viewer/buyer of your work a story or an understanding of what your work is about, and if you can tell your story clearly, they can spread your story clearly to others. So I invite you to read my latest artist statement, feedback is the best medicine for a new statement, so please click the link: About and let me know what you think!

On this same topic, I encourage you to watch Shea Hembrey’s Ted Talk on “How I became 100 artists” where he impersonates 100 fictional artists for an exhibition and needs to create a statement and body of work for each artist – his guidelines include the fact that his grandmother needs to understand what each artist’s work is about. Its very clever, so enjoy!

 

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