Tips on Writing Your Artist Statement

Consider asking yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing? 
  • How am I doing it? 
  • Why am I doing it?
  • What influences me most?
  • How does my art relate to the art of my contemporaries? 
  • What do I want others to understand about my art?

Know Your Audience

Remember, as an artist you are not only writing to an art gallery, but also to visitors, students, and potential buyers. You want all of these different groups to be able to understand what you’re saying about yourself and your art. You aren’t always going to be standing next to a patron to explain everything to them, so you have to make sure that your statement communicates all your ideas to any viewer.

Content for Your Artist's Statement

What information does an artist’s statement need to include? There are three elements to consider: the “how,” the “what,” and the “why.” There should be enough information in your artist statement that someone can begin to imagine the art that you make without having it in front of them.

The “How”:

The ‘How’ refers to how you created your works. Many visitors are interested in knowing about your artistic process. 

The “What”:

Describe the content of your works in a general way to flow from how you work to what you make.

And last, The “Why”:

Why do you make what you make? What does your life say about your work and your work say about your life? Explain the influences behind the meanings of your works.

You can put as much or as little of each category as you like; if your works are about the medium then you can focus more on how you make your works and if it is more about the “why” and your inspiration, focus on that. Balance your content in any way you need to.

Every artist statement must follow the three C’s of style: they should be clearconcise, and consistent.

Be clear: Use accessible vocabulary; keep in mind that your readers may not be scholars, artists, or art historians. Write like you’re speaking to a person on the street, somebody who goes to museums “every now and then,” as many of your viewers will fall into that category. Make sure the content in your artist statement is not too complex or technical. This will intimidate your audience.

Be concise: Don’t go on for pages and pages about your work. Even the most interested person will get lost in too much information. You want your statement to pull the viewer in, but you don’t want to bore them.

The average museum and gallery visitor spends 5 to 15 seconds looking at each artwork, according to numerous museum surveys. You want your statement to be brief enough that they can get the essential information in that time, and that their flow isn’t too disrupted when they stop to read the statement in full.

Be consistent: Make sure that what you say in your artist’s statement matches the works that are going to be on display. If you also have a press release or biography available, make sure that your statement doesn’t contradict these texts at all. Keep updating your artist statement as you grow and evolve as an artist.

REMINDER: An artist statement MUST be in the first person, everything is “I” not “he/she/they.” Imagine your statement is having a conversation with a viewer, it is speaking for you, and you would always say “I did this.”

 

Image Requirements

All images should be in .jpg format, sized at 1050 pixels on the shortest side, and have a resolution of  at least 300 dpi. Files should be between 2 MB and 5 MB in size.

How to resize images using free software

This is a great video that demonstrates what you should be thinking about when photographing your artwork.

Our guidelines for photographing your artwork

  • Create a neutral background for your artwork (white generally works well) with a sheet or blank surface. Do not have other objects in the frame with your work.

  • For 3D work, think about what direction you want your sculpture to face. You can only submit one image per artwork, but are welcome to have 2 photographs on the same file to showcase another view of your work. You will be responsible for combining the images into one file in a photo-editing program, as you will not be able to submit them separately.

  • Make sure your piece is lit evenly to properly complement your piece, but also allows the details to show. Photographing your work on a sunny afternoon or only shining light on one side of your piece could lead to shadows that make it difficult to see one side of the piece or certain details. Use caution when using flash, as it may or may not hit your artwork in a way that showcases all the details.
     
  • Make sure your sculpture is in focus and not blurry. Tripods and good lighting can be helpful in avoiding unclear images of your work.
     
  • Know the settings on your camera. If your image is coming out too blue or yellow, fix the white balance. Photographs that are too dark or too light will make it difficult for the judges to see your work, and will most likely hurt the chances of your work being chosen.
     
  • Do not use Instagram or any other filter programs to edit the photos of your work. These filters create unrealistic color casts and do not represent what your artwork actually looks like.