If you have a child/ student applying to study art, it’s likely that they’re being asked to submit an artist statement. This is an assignment that stops most students in their tracks, and many parents aren’t sure how to help them get started. However, it doesn’t have to be hard!
Goal of an artist statement: To help the viewer better understand and relate to the piece of artwork. An artist’s statement is a window into the life of the artist..
Length: An artist statement shouldn’t be longer than a page, as they are usually hung on the wall, and most people won’t stand around and read more than a page.
Read the example below. It’s friendly and open, and gives a context to the work.
Sample artist statement
I’m Megan Auman, artist, maker, and educator. I’m drawn to enthusiastic brushstrokes, strong colors, and bold contrast. I create abstract paintings that stand out but are also beautiful and easy to live with.
I grew up in an art-loving home with an artist mother and an entrepreneurial father. I spent my high school years happily covered in paint, but decided to spend my time in art school studying jewelry and metals. After receiving a BFA and MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry, I launched my eponymous jewelry line.
After nearly a decade away from painting, I returned to my paints and brushes following my mother’s death from cancer in 2012. Painting became a way to reconnect with an art form my mother and I shared, work through my grief, and express myself without words. My current work explores color, form, and expressive brushstrokes. I love playing with paint to create bold statements on canvas. Returning to painting has been a return to an important part of who I am – someone who might just be happiest when I’m covered in paint.
I currently split my time between painting, designing jewelry, and mentoring creative entrepreneurs through my website Designing an MBA.
I live and work in Jonestown, PA, a small town 90 miles west of Philly, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. When I’m not working, I love traveling (I have to get my city fix on a regular basis), reading, drinking good beer, browsing Pinterest, and spending time with my husband and Grizzly, our 90 pound mutt.
Write your own artist statement. Any of the questions below can be your starting point.
Put the work into context
Who are you? (tell about your background, who are you?)
Why do you create? (do you have a special place in your house, outdoors, do you only draw when you’re at a coffee shop….)
What got you started?
Tell the story behind the piece, what inspired or influenced you.
- Discuss your thought process behind making the piece. What were you thinking about?
- What did you learn?
- How did you get from problem to solution? (maybe you problem was that you needed to do a self-portrait and you’d never done one before – so what did you have to overcome in order to be comfortable creating a self portrait?)
- Discuss how you want the audience to relate to the work, or what you want them to learn/feel/do from looking at the piece.
- what tools/materials do you use to create your work?
- Do you have any specific routine that you follow every time that you create? For example, I’m usually watching a TV series, so I might mention that I watched season 2 episode 1-15 of Orange is the New Black, while creating a body of work. Maybe you have certain music that you always listen to, or a drink that you always have. (This information helps to make the statement more like a story, and helps the audience to relate to and connect to the work. )
This site (an artist statement generator) can be a fun way to get started, too: http://www.500letters.org/form_15.php
Now take your answers and turn them into a completed artist statement.
I’d love to read your new artist statement, leave it as a comment below, so that we can all check it out!