How to write a striking and interesting artist statement

Imagine that your work is hanging in a prestigious gallery in the centre of town. Visitors and potential buyers are walking around the gallery and are fascinated by your work. How to keep their attention and make a lasting impression?

Once you have their attention, you need to give them some easy to read interesting quirky facts and information about your artwork. Something that they will not soon forget. Interest in an artist is not only pictorial but people also like to read your story and learn more about you as an artist.

Why do you need an artist statement
You will need an artist statement for various art events. For example for applying for residences, grants, exhibitions, competitions, galleries, articles in magazines and information online on art platforms.

What is an artist statement?
An artist statement is a piece of text that sums up what kind of artist you are and what you stand for. It lets the readers know what to expect when they view your artwork. Your artist statement must be short, snappy and interesting.

Here are some things to think about when you write your artist statement.

How long should your artist statement be?
An artist statement should be about 150 – 250 words. It is the ideal length to keep your readers interested. Any longer and the readers might lose interest and wander off.

How do you make your artist statement interesting?
Writing a good artist statement takes time and thought and can be daunting. But once it is done you will have one forever to fall back on. Here are some tips and suggestions on how to start.

Describing your artwork
Display your artwork on a table or wall and group them together by style or subject or materials used. Now write down as many words that best describe your artwork. For example words like explosive, quiet, abstract, realistic, bright, monotone, organic, industrial, still, what ever comes to mind.

Who is your audience?
Keep in mind who you are writing for. The people that read your artist statement are different but have similar interests. Art students, Gallery owners, visitors of your exhibition, potential buyers, juries, art scouts, head hunters, etc. Your artist statement must be appealing to all of these groups and keep them interested in what you have to tell.

Include the ‘What’ statement
What media have you used to create your artwork. For example oil and canvas, pastels on board, sculpting in bronze. List the materials that you have used for your artwork.

Include the ‘Why’ statement
Why have you used these materials and how has it influenced you. Were you inspired by or excited by the flow of materials, the colours, the textures or the effects that it made.

Include the ‘How’ statement
Have you used a particular interesting way to create your artwork? For example, did you let your paint run, did you melt wax or use collage. Have you used any specific colours or combinations of colours. Is your artwork large or small. If so this is definitely worth mentioning.

Words and frases to avoid
Avoid the words ‘try’ or ‘hope’ these words don’t sound confident. Have you used symbols in your artwork? Do these explain the influences behind the meaning of your artwork? You can also include which artists have inspired you.

You are the author
The artist statement should be written by you, not by an art dealer or teacher, gallery owner or art critic. It should be personal, people want to hear your take on your artwork. Write in the ‘i’ form and imagine yourself talking to the viewer in person. Perhaps add some fun facts about yourself.

Living document
An artist statement is a living document. You need to update it every now and then. Perhaps you have added a new body of work to your portfolio or changed your art technique or style.

Review and edit
Reread and come back to your artist statement in a couple of days, perhaps you feel the need to edit your story a little. You can also get an art friend to read your statement and give honest critic. Double check for typing and grammar mistakes, make it look professional.
Read aloud while you view your artwork, this always helps. Does your art statement describe your work well?

Need help or inspiration?
We would like to help you along a little. If you haven’t already written an artist statement, you could fill in our online interview over on Dutch Art Box, become a Featured Artist. These questions are a great basis for an artist statement. Added bonus! We can publish your story on and add images of your artwork with your story.