Artist statements

21 08 2013

Writing an “artist statement” does not come naturally to me.

I enjoy writing the story behind an individual piece or small collection – describing the concept, especially if it’s in response to an exhibition call; describing the significance of the material, the shape and such. I’ve done this so many times on this blog.

However I am lost when it comes to writing a more general ‘artist statement’ like those you see on the artist profiles on gallery websites and such. I’m not specifically inspired by nature, urban landscapes, materiality, souvenirs, pushing the boundaries of ugly, and so forth. I am interested in the exploration of identity – but I figure everyone does that, and many of my pieces don’t actually address it.

Perhaps my awkwardness is due to not yet having an established practice, an oeuvre or a common thread of investigation or material etc.

I do appreciate reading artist statements, for they can certainly add to the experience of viewing their work. Though sometimes I cannot help wonder if some of the text is post-rationalisation, written to satisfy the request of a statement…

I experienced a revelation recently when I was told a particular jeweller “didn’t do artist statements”. What?!?! You mean I can say I don’t do them either?! I’m tempted now to say this very thing next time I’m asked.

A friend shared this awesome “artist statement generator” some time ago. Hilarious.
There are so many sites like this that generate silly statements.

There are also some more serious sites about writing an artist statement (here and here for example)… maybe I’ll investigate those later.



2 responses

21 08 2013
Anna Davern

I’ve just completed the online grant writing course with NAVA which involved writing an artist statement. It was incredibly useful and they gave lots of fantastic feedback. If you “don’t do artist statements” then you miss out on being able to apply for grants!

21 08 2013

Ah, you are wise Anna!
Thank you for the tip about the NAVA course, will look into it.

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