Smart advice on writing an artists statement


Judy Sledge at the Palmer Park Art Fair (Photo © Mark L. Brown)


Artists who want to submit work to galleries or competitions may need an artists statement – and writing one may seem as daunting as landing an apprenticeship with a top Fortune 500 company.
Yet it could be easy – and valuable. An artists statement, especially for an emerging artist, ought to be short and direct, using simple language. It tells readers about your body of work; it describes your work, artist Judy Sledge said at an Integrity Shows – Mint Artists Guild workshop in Detroit.

“Introduce your personality,” said Sledge, an artist, and owner of ArtRages gallery in Detroit. “Introduce yourself.

Here’s some other good advice on writing an artist statement:

  •  Share “why you do what you do” in your work, Sledge said.
  • Write in first person and tell people why you are original.
  • Briefly tell how you make your art and what it represents.
  • Keep the statement short, often just two or three paragraphs is plenty.
  • Grab the curator or buyer’s attention in the first few words, suggests The Art League, providing eight examples of “artists statements we love.” 
  • Answer five basic questions in your statement, including what inspires or motivates you.

Writing one may clarify “your own ideas about your work” and may be required when applying for a grant or other funding, GYST said in a blog post on creating artists statements. 

Before you send it to a gallery, ask your mentor or art teacher to review it. Or get feedback from friends, especially anyone who works with words.

© Vickie Elmer, 2019

(Mark L. Brown’s photo of Judy Sledge was used with permission.)