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Ten Tips for Writing a Clear Artist Statement - By Joanne Mattera

Posted by Hylla Evans on

1. Start with good work.

2. Write about it in plain English, in your own voice.

3. Keep it brief, a couple or three short paragraphs (about 150 words) to answer these questions:

4. What is your work about? (i.e. What themes or ideas are you addressing?)

5. Why are you doing it? (i.e. Where is it coming from within you? How does it relate to what’s going on in contemporary art?)

6. How are you doing it?  If you address this question, don’t get bogged down in technique.

7. Mention medium if it’s relevant, but keep this thought in mind: The medium is simply the means to express your ideas. It’s not the reason for the work.

8. Edit what you’ve written. Edit it again. Put it down, then come back and edit it once more.

9. Ask another artist to read it for you. That person should be able to read through it once, in about three relaxed breaths, and understand exactly what you mean. If they have to re-read it to get it, or if they don’t know what you are talking about, go back to Step 2.

10. Get good at it. The statement speaks on your behalf, so it will need to change as the work develops. And your work will continue to develop for your entire life.

Many thanks to Joanne Mattera for this contribution.  The Joanne Mattera Art Blog has tremendously helpful advice for artists in her Marketing Mondays column.  See relevant links Caveat Scriptor and Rethinking Artists especially. Also see the next post with good directions for reading about art, also contributed by Joanne.

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