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The Lisa Show 2009

Celebrating life through creative self-expression. Winner of the Illinois Art Education Association Distinguished Service to Art Education Outside of the Profession Award and the New Initiative Award from the Business Committee for the Art, Inc. and Forbes Magazine. Created by: The Great Frame Up.


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 What is an Artist’s Statement?
An artist's statement is a short piece written by the artist to accompany a particular work or group of works. An artist's statement shouldn't be dismissed as insignificant or dashed out in a hurry, as it's a vital selling tool, promoting and explaining your work to viewers, whether they're potential buyers, exhibition curators, critics, fellow artists, or casual browsers.
At it’s best, an artist's statement reads easily, is informative, and adds to your understanding of the artist and the work. At it’s worst, an artist's statement is difficult to understand or rambles on, is pretentious, and irritates rather than informs (or, even, provokes laughter).

How Long Should an Artist's Statement Be?
Try to make your artist's statement short rather than too long – most people simply won't have the patience to read a lengthy treatise and will be put off before they've even started. Aim at around 100 words or less.

What Should an Artist's Statement Say?
An artist's statement should be an explanation of your personal style and subjects or themes. Add a bit about your approach or philosophy if you wish. Consider mentioning which artists (living and dead) have influenced or inspired you.

How Can I Describe My Work in Words?
It can often be difficult to explain something visual in words – and after all, you're an artist not a writer! But, as with painting, practice makes it easier and perseverance is essential. You're unlikely to produce a polished artist's statement the first time you try, so do the best you can - it’s good practice for a skill that will prove essential in the years ahead!
Think about how you would describe your work to someone who didn't know you, what other people have said about your work, what you are aiming to achieve in your work and your outlook on life. Ask a friend for comments on what you've written (but pick someone you know will give you an honest answer, this is no time for "that's lovely" comments). Write your artist's statement in first person ("I work ..."), not third person.

            – Excerpt from “How to Write an Artist’s Statement”
                                by Marion Boddy-Evans

An artist’s statement is a very personal reflection on what, how, and why you do what you do, from your perspective. Make your artist’s statement compelling - it builds a bridge between the artist and the audience. An effective statement creates a personal connection to the artwork and stimulates our human thirst for "story". This, in turn, triggers longer memory storage about the artist by immersing the viewer in two languages: visual and linguistic. This means that an artist’s statement is personal, as personal as your art. It is also honest, in the very same way that your art reflects a true expression of your being. Because an artist’s statement speaks of the relationship between you and your work, it needs to be as authentic as your work. When done well, the statement and your art support each other.

Another secret is that the artist’s statement is not just for art patrons and gallery owners. It is also for the artist. Writing an artist’s statement gives you another way to reflect on your work. The very effort of searching for words, which reflects your relationship to your art, increases your creative flow. This is true whenever we engage in a form of self-expression that pushes us out of our comfort zone.

            -Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D.



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