How to write your artist statement

An image is worth a thousand words, right? As an artist, you might think that your images should be the focal point of your career, but words also play a key role in delivering the idea of your art, that’s why it’s important to know how to write your artist statement.

It’s vital to be able to share the ideas that surround your art practice clearly. As a professional artist, a lot of your work will involve writing.

From all the texts that you might have to write during your career, the artist statement is probably the most important one. It’s your presentation letter as an artist.

It should be enough to read the artist’s statement and having an overall idea of his art, even if you haven’t seen any artworks at all.

The statement should also cover the artist’s inspirations and an overall view of previous work, inspiration and most important events of your career, to give a good sense of your story as an artist.

When writing your art statement try to keep your text clean and use approachable and try to avoid too much, ‘artsy talk’ or over-flourishing make it straight to the point.

Begin with a short introduction sentence, basically explaining who you are, what you do, and where you do it. Finish off with a quick explanation of your work.

Teko van Kuyk is a Brazilian pop artist, based in Berlin. His art deal with current affairs and mass consumption, drawing his inspiration from celebrities, social media, bubble gum and the color pink.

On the second paragraphs, you should talk a little bit about your story. It’s important to share a bit about yourself and how that influences your art, creating an emotional connection with the reader that will be more likely to remember you.

He was born almost 30 years ago in Switzerland. From there he moved to New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina, before finally coming to Berlin. Being raised in such a tropical environment had important influences in his work, and sometimes he feels like an unofficial ambassador of tropical aesthetics.

The third paragraph should be all about your art career. List your most important exhibitions, residencies, studies, and prizes. Remember that this is your artist statement, not your cv. So focus on your highlights.

Art has been his passion since he was around the world.

After bragging about all the cool stuff you’ve been doing, it’s time to close the statement with the golden key. It’s time to finish on a high note, talking a little bit about your hopes and dreams for the future of your art career. Finish with a happy ending.

Mr. van Kuyk has high hopes for the future of his career. He is always innovating with new materials and techniques; he is in constant development and is having a lot of fun in the meantime. For the next years, he hopes to be able to take part in art residencies, international fairs and to travel while exhibiting his art.

The overall tone of your statement should mimic the style and feeling of your art. In the above example, the statement mimics the playful personality of the artist.

Depending on where you are sending your statement, some modifications and adjustments could be done. When submitting your statement to a gallery, it might be better to add some extra info about sales and exhibitions, but if applying to an art prize, it might be better to focus your statement on residencies and the conceptual side of your art career. So always have a second look before sending your statement away.

As your career moves forward so will your statement, so it’s worth revisiting it every six months and making any needed adjustments.

Remember, your artist statement is supposed to be an introduction towards your art practice. It’s an important tool that artists will need during their whole career; a good artist statement could mean the difference between getting accepted into a gallery or art residency.