The Artist’s Statement: Understanding Creativity Through Writing Artist’s statements can be tough to write. It can feel like explaining the color of the sky to someone who has never seen it before! However, it’s a very important thing for every artist to do, and this guide can help you get started.
The Why • It’s good practice to translate art and artistic concepts into another medium and it helps the artist to engage in a bigger culture of art and media outside of their own process • Writing artist statements will only help you get better at writing! This means getting better at using concise, clear language in creative ways. • Your communication skills will improve, which is critical to the business side of art, which is all about networking and talking successfully to people about your work and theirs. • People enjoy learning about art they like or art that makes them uncomfortable through written statements. A strong artist’s statement about art involving a controversial subject can go a long way to helping people engage with the work, despite their initial discomfort.
• What might people not understand when they see your art that you would like to make sure they understand? What are YOU still trying to understand about art, or about the world around you? • When all else fails, try this trick: how would you describe your art or artistic process to an alien that just landed on Earth?
A Couple Last Steps After you have done some free-writing, bring your inner editor out and edit down what you have written to the essence of your art or art-making process. After you feel like you have a solid draft, swap artist statements with other artist friends, or anyone you trust for a constructive opinion, for their help editing a final copy. Send your artist’s statements in with your artwork to KidzEra for possible publication! Be sure to include a submission form with each entry.
The How Here are a few tips for writing a strong artist’s statement: • Keep it short! A simple paragraph is all you need. An artist’s statement doesn’t replace the statement made by the work itself. • Write new ones often! An artist’s statement is a living document; it changes as you and your work do. • Write from the same place your art comes from: your heart and the right side of your brain! Keep the language creative and fun. • Collect quotes, song lyrics, images, poetry and prose that inspire you. Include in your writing how and why your artwork relates to these sources of inspiration. • Pick a font that is expressive, but is clear and easy to read. Avoid using script fonts, cute fonts or anything too bizarre. • Highlight important elements of your work that you want your audience to be on the lookout for.
GO! Ready to start? Put your inner editor away for a while and try answering these questions with some free-writing: • What kind of imagery are you using and why did you choose to use it? • What is the role of color, texture and motion in your art? Are patterns important? • What is your favorite medium and why? Do you play by the rules and use the medium in a very formal way or do you like to break the rules and use the medium in experimental ways? • What kinds of social, emotional, personal or political elements exist in your art? Are they deliberate or unconscious? How do they interact with each other? • Who are your biggest influences? Remember, they might not necessarily even be artists! • What are the key themes and issues in your art?
“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.” ~Duane Michals, photographer What’s behind you? Do you ever feel a presence and look over your shoulder, only to catch the briefest glimpse from the corner of your eye before it’s gone? I love to try and catch these presences with my camera and find reflections where my urban reality appears differently than I see it just looking forward with my eyes. My recent photographic series, Ghosts in the City, explores the presences surrounding me in my urban life, often just out of sight, through the multilayered reflections in my images. Photographs and artist’s statement submitted by: Lizzie S., Age 17, Fairview High School, Boulder, Colorado