Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Why do artist need an artist statement is actually pretty important to the new and seasoned artist. The artist statement is to help clients, gallery owners, employers get a unique understanding about you. You will not be in person to always to explain your art, your process, or answer questions as to who you are and why you create as you do. Your artist statement must do that.
Below is a list of things to consider when creating your artist statement.
1. In the introduction paragraph discuss your ideas and philosophies about your art’s themes, goals, and what or who inspires you. What does ideas and philosophies mean? Ideas are referring to why do you paint or draw a specific genre or subject matter. What about philosophies? Well, this would be your view or reactions or responses to a specific topic. For example, during WWII there was a group of artist, Die Burke (translated, The Bridge) in Germany that produced some of the most intense, graphic art as a response to the citizens dying and starving. One of the main artists was named Kathe Kollwitz. Some of her artwork is very powerful and bone chilling, as she wanted to show the suffering of the people. You must do some soul searching at times and if you want to connect with others, revealing your thoughts and showing who you are can be a rewarding experience. Keep in mind that some artist reveal a little and seem mysterious and others are more open. You get to decide what you share and what you do not.
2. Next, you should discuss your supplies and materials, methods, and processes you use whilst creating your work. We experience life through our senses. We enjoy texture, color, certain shapes etc. During the days that I taught elementary art, I would observe the children and how they would create their art through play. It was fascinating. They would put their fingers in each color, even though I would pass out paint bushes. When I would put artwork around the room, the majority of students had to touch the posters and would ask question after question. They thrived on exploration, delighting in the mystery of the outcome of their mistakes and happenstances. Order is fine, but exploring materials, methods, and processes of varying supplies can be rewarding for the artist and observer, alike. Showcasing the details will give the observer a more well defined insight into your material choices, methods, and processes.
3. Don’t forget to express how and why your art and your views may be unique and or interesting. When I started showing at comic cons I was literally told that I should be creating comic books. I had already started my children’s mermaid book and my first coloring book. Not that I don’t want to do a comic in the future, but I am going to be true to myself. You should never feel pressured to not be you. If I do decide to do a comic, it will be with my own spin on it and in my own timing. Hopefully, some folks will find my art interesting. Autonomy is a given, but with creativity, be genuine. People can sense if you are not being yourself. Have faith in your talent and direction and just be you.
4. Artist statements are not bios. However if something unique in your background or your geographic place of origin, for example, your culture has directly influenced your creativity, then you can tastefully add it to your statement. I am an Appalachian American. Every engagement that I have had with the public, I constantly hear that my artwork is warm, inviting, and vintage. I would say that one of the reasons for this constant is because of my sub-culture. So, I included this in my artist statement. This made my statement unique and interesting. What about you as a person and a creative makes you unique and or interesting? Show that in your art and your statement.
5. There should be no more than 3-5 paragraphs. Why only 3 to 5 paragraphs you might ask? We are dealing with a Tweeter and Facebook world where people are use to only reading one sentence or a short statement which quickly gets to the point.
6. Do write in first person, as if you are warmly greeting someone. This method seems to more inviting and can hold their attention.
7. Lastly, due rely on the resources close to you. Ask your grammar obsessed friend to proof read your statement and maybe a few close artist friends or peers. We never stop learning and growing and a little help from your friends might make your statement look more professional.
Hope these suggestions are helpful to you during your creation of your own statement.
My artist statement example is below.
Hello! Just wanted to tell you a little about myself. I am an artist and storyteller, living and working in sunny Florida. My husband's last duty station was here and we rather enjoyed the warmth, the people, and the wonderful beaches. So, we decided put down roots and stay. My artistic content focuses in the areas of nature, classic fairytales and fantasy, to Christian themes. All of which connect back to my background and life experiences. Being an Appalachian American, from the mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia, meant that I grew up hearing a lot of daily storytelling by my elders. Stories from fairies, trolls, and leprechauns, to fish stories, to old wives tales, to biblical stories were all in abundance. Currently, nestled in a cozy, tropical community, my art studio borders a lush wooded preserve, near the historic Daytona Beach. Here in my quiet setting, I surround myself with items from my culturally rich and unique sub-culture, of the Tug Valley Region, in the Appalachian Mountains. Besides items from my heritage, I am also inspired daily by a constant stream of coastal and woodland wildlife that often graze just outside my studio window. These visitors remind me of the mountains and the wildlife present there, all of the stories, and of course God's magnificent creation.
I enjoy working with pen and ink, pencil, paint, and mixed media. The feel of pen or pencil gliding across the page and the blending of the paint over the surface of a canvas or paper has always held my attention. The process of creating art to me is visual storytelling, coupled with expressing self reflective expressions and sometimes visions or dreams.
I find contentment in creating such visual stories and I hope you enjoy my work.
Art to me is a God-given gift of good storytelling, that can leave the world a more beautiful, kinder, and hopeful place.
- Jennifer Lueders, Artist and Storyteller
"God is Great and Mighty" copyright 2020, Pencil, Jennifer Lueders