Art Market

Artist’s statement: importance and how to do it

Understand how this document works and everything needed to do it.

Por Vagner Neves - maio 14, 2021
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Artist’s statement is a document that consists of a brief description of the artworks of a particular artist.

Think of it as a “stand-in” for the artist when he’s not around to answer questions related to his art. It guides the viewer through the experience with the work.

Remember that all art carries elements of subjectivity; each person looks at a work in a different way. Sometimes this can be a problem, after all, they can interpret your message quite differently from your initial purpose.

It is still important to point out that the public is increasingly concerned with the narrative and with the artist behind the work. Information like this enriches both the work and the artist’s image as a professional.

Artist's statement
Credits: Igor Miske

It is in this sense that you can use this document to your advantage.

Below we separate a step by step of how to write the Artist’s statement.

How to write an artist statement?

1) Ask yourself some questions

  • “What am I trying to express with my work?”
  • “What influences/motivates my art?”
  • “How do my methods (techniques, style, materials) relate to the content of my works?”
  • “What is my audience and how do I plan to reach it?”

First you need to have an overview of your work; without it, audiences may miss out on overarching themes that connect to his works. Then describe each work.

2) Write in the first person and with active voice

The declaration is about YOU. Do not write “the artist”, as in a curatorial text.

The text needs to come from you, be unique and reflect only your work. Active voice keeps your work in the present. This is very important for people to see your art as something that is always current.

Artista em seu ateliê; Artist instudio

3) Be objective

The text should be clear and to the point, between 100 and 300 words.

Do not use statements such as: “I hope…”; “I’m going to…” or “I’m trying to…”. Just say what you do.

Remember that the statement is only a guide to situate the audience, not confuse them with vague terms.

4) Use simple formatting

Fancy layouts and fonts distract attention from what really matters: information about your work.

This is what needs to be highlighted, not the design.

Don’t forget that there are people who have difficulty seeing up close, so very small fonts can get in the way of the experience.

Declaração do artista; Artist's statement
Credits: Freepik

5) Be honest

Never lie about what you want to convey with your art.

Every job has a niche. Not everyone will appreciate your ideas, this is normal.

The important thing is to convey a genuine message to the public that supports your art.

6) Create different versions for different contexts

The artist statement is a letter of introduction to the art world. Therefore, you need to “modify” your document according to who will read it.

This means that depending on the context you will need to make it shorter or longer; more formal or less formal and even emphasize different aspects of your work.

As we will see below, there are several situations in which you will need to present your declaration.

7) Ask for feedback before publishing

Make sure at least 3 people (friends, teachers, etc.) have heard your statement.

Saying aloud allows you to identify any errors and evaluate the text more objectively.


Situations in which an artist’s statement may be required

  • For the gallery owner or curator who needs details about your work.
  • For a competition.
  • When applying for scholarships and grants.
  • When applying for a teaching position.
  • As an introduction to your creative process for potential buyers.

In addition to all the topics mentioned, writing this document is a great way to clarify your own ideas about your art.

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