Crafting a potent artist statement has the potential to significantly enhance an artist’s reputation within the intricate landscape of the art world. This statement serves as a powerful conduit through which decision-makers, such as curators, art critics, gallery owners, and collectors, can not only grasp the essence of the artist’s artistic mission but also envision their untapped potential.
Moreover, this well-crafted statement can prove instrumental in elevating the artist’s visibility within the art sphere. It becomes a versatile tool that can be harnessed for various purposes, including inclusion in press releases, exhibition catalogs, and promotional materials. As the artist embarks on their journey, their utility extends beyond self-expression, extending to a means of conveying the depth and significance of their creative output to a broader audience.
Furthermore, an artist’s statement can be instrumental in connecting with potential patrons or institutions, such as museums. When individuals or organizations consider investing in the artist’s work or featuring it in their collections, the artist’s statement becomes a narrative thread that weaves together the artistic tapestry, illuminating the conceptual framework, inspirations, and intentions underlying their creations.
In essence, the artist statement transcends mere words; it serves as a strategic and artistic tool that articulates the artist’s vision and propels their career forward by forging connections, sparking interest, and solidifying their presence within the ever-evolving art world.
An artist statement is essential for visual artists for several reasons:
Communication: An artist statement serves as a tool for artists to communicate their ideas, concepts, and motivations behind their work to viewers, collectors, curators, and the general public. It helps bridge the gap between the artist’s creative process and the audience’s understanding.
Context: Art can often be complex and open to interpretation. An artist statement provides context and background information about the artwork, helping viewers better understand the piece’s meaning, symbolism, and intent.
Professionalism: A well-crafted artist statement demonstrates professionalism and a commitment to one’s craft. It shows that the artist has thought deeply about their work and can articulate their artistic vision.
Gallery Representation: Many galleries and exhibition spaces require artists to submit an artist statement along with their work. This statement helps galleries curate exhibitions, market the artist, and attract potential buyers.
Documentation: Over time, an artist’s statement can be a historical document that tracks the artist’s evolution, influences, and artistic development. It can be valuable for art historians, scholars, and biographers.
Marketing and Promotion: Artists use artist statements in promotional materials, websites, and social media to engage with their audience and potential buyers. It can enhance an artist’s online presence and help attract a following.
Grant Applications and Residencies: Many grant applications and artist residency programs require artists to submit an artist statement as part of the application process. A well-written statement can increase the chances of securing funding or residency opportunities.
Critique and Feedback: Artists often share their work with peers, mentors, or advisors for critique and feedback. An artist’s statement can guide these discussions and provide a framework for constructive criticism.
Personal Reflection: Writing an artist statement can be personally valuable for artists. It requires them to reflect on their work, motivations, and artistic journey, which can lead to a deeper understanding of their practice.
What these artist statements do
- keep it short
- give a hint about the why of the artwork
- use the first person
- write it deep
Famous visual artists art statement:
Jean Michel Basquiat
“I start a picture and I finish it. I don’t think about art while I work. I try to think about life.”
“I don’t express myself in my painting. I express my not-self. The dictum ‘Know Thyself’ is only valuable if the ego is removed from the process in search for truth… The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions… the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.”
“I don’t paint things; I paint only the differences between things… I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me. What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”
“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life.. the air and the light which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.”
“I let myself go. I thought little of the houses and trees, but applied colour stripes and spots to the canvas… Within me sounded the memory of early evening in Moscow – before my eyes were the strong, colour-saturated scale of the Munich light and atmosphere, which thundered deeply in the shadows.”
“Everything is expressed through relationship. Colour can exist only through other colours, dimension through other dimensions, position through other positions that oppose them. That is why I regard relationship as the principal thing.”
“I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. It doesn’t matter how the paint is put on, as long as something is said. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a get acquainted period that I see what I’ve been about. I’ve no fears about making changes for the painting has a life of its own.”
“I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women… There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night… Whoever wants to know something about me… ought to look carefully at my pictures.”
“I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
“I’ve drawn my whole life. My parents were in the tapestry restoration business, and as a young girl, I would draw in the missing parts of the tapestry that needed to be re-woven. My ability to draw made me indispensable to my parents. I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it. ‘The Spider’ is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. . . Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”
“I tried to visualize the movement of wind energy as it flowed up and down the Avenue creating random whirlpools, touching down here and there and sometimes forming dynamic three-dimensional massing of forms. One of the works, in particular, references the expressive quality of wind through drapery and the chaotic beauty of fluid/flow dynamics. As much as the sculptures are obviously placed on the mall, I wanted the work to have a random, haphazard quality – in some cases, piling up on itself, in others spinning off into the air.”
“I long for the old days of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, stars who had real glamour and mystique. We only knew so much about their lives; the rest was a mystery… My fascination with letting images repeat and repeat – or in film’s case ‘run on’ – manifests my belief that we spend much of our lives seeing without observing.”
“It’s to paint directly on the canvas without any funny business, as it were, and I use almost pure turpentine to start with, adding oil as I go along until the medium becomes pure oil. I use as little oil as I can possibly help, and that’s my method.”