28.4 How Do I Write A Successful Artist Statement? by Ilsa Melchiori


A well-written artist statement (or personal statement) is an important tool for all Artists and Designs to have in their back pocket. Having this document ready to go whenever you need it (grant applications) will make your life a little bit easier.

No idea where to start? I suggest you ask yourself the following why, how, what questions:

Why: what sparked this work? Why did you make it? What is the idea behind it?

How: Include a description of your process, how do you work?

What: what is the physical outcome? Is it an oil painting, a video work, maybe a bronze sculpture or mixed media installation?

Your answers to these question should provide you with a base that you can start to flesh out. When doing you keep the following things in mind.

1. Keep it simple, stupid. Do not try to sound like "an artist" by over stuffing your statement with technical language and art wank. Write so that your art ignorant older relative can understand it (especially if your practice is more left of center).

2. Avoid using I and me constantly throughout the statement. Having every sentence start with "I…" is stunting to the reader and comes across as juvenile.

3. Don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t believe in what you are doing how can anyone else. Avoid saying "I want to…" or "I am trying to…", own what you have done, for example, "Throughout my work I have focused one…"

Image by Mike Petrucci via unsplash