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Writing an Artist Statement

The student will:

  • examine various examples and styles of artist statements for best practice.

  • reflect on the process, personal meaning, and projected message of your work.

  • establish an online Google doc and share with instructor and peers.

  • write and continually edit their artist statement for their senior show.

  • provide peer editing and review of artist statements during 1st and 3rd nine week periods.

Step 1: Explore examples

  • Using our copies of New American Painting, find three artists who's work you either admire or dislike.

  • Read their attached artist statements? Does this change your view of the work? How?

  • Next, look at the structure of the artist statement. Do any of these have anything in common with each other? How do they differ?

Step 2: Create collaborative document

  • Using a Google account, create a google doc titled "Your Name" Artist Statement.

  • Share this document with me ( and two of your classmates who's opinion matters to you.

  • We will be using this document over the next few months/years to craft our artist's statement. All work below should reside in that document.

Step 3: Assembling the parts

  • Consider why you make the work you make? How does it feel when the work is going well? What are your favorite parts of your artistic practice?

  • Make a list of 10-20 words and phrases that communicate your feelings about your work and your values. Include words you like, words that make you feel good, words that communicate your values or fascinations. Don't be judgy!

  • Answer the following questions:

  • What is your favorite material? Why?

  • What do you like best about what you do?

  • What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well?

  • What patterns have emerged in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture, content, or light?

  • What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?

  • Write five sentences that tell the truth about your connection to your work. If you are stuck, start by filling in the blanks below.

When I work with __________ I am reminded that ___________.

I begin a piece by ______________.

I know a piece is done when __________________.

When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of _____________.

When people see my work, I'd like them to ________________.

Step 4: Putting together the first draft

  • Write your name at the top and center it. Do NOT write the words "Artist statement in the document"

  • Write a three paragraph artist's statement. Keep your sentences authentic and direct. Use the present tense ("I am," not "I was," "I do," not "I did.") Be brave: say nice things about yourself.

  • As a rule, your artist's statement should be written in the first person. Refer to yourself with the pronouns "I, me, my." If this blocks you, write in the third person, then go back and change the pronouns as needed when you get to Step Four. Use the suggestions below to structure your statement. Write three to five sentences per paragraph.

First paragraph. Begin with a simple statement of why you do the work you do. Support that statement, telling the reader more about your goals and aspirations.

Second paragraph. Tell the reader how you make decisions in the course of your work. How and why do you select materials, techniques, themes? Keep it simple and tell the truth.

Third paragraph. Tell the reader a little more about your current work. How it is grew out of prior work or life experiences. What are you exploring, attempting, challenging by doing this work.

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