Artist Statements

As an ongoing assignment in this class you will develop a concise statement about the interests that form basis of your work. This statement will tell the viewer what are you interested in and why that subject or thing is interesting. It will reflect thorough research and deep thought about your interests.

First and foremost, this is not a traditional artist's statement and is not about explaining your work.  By that I mean your essay shouldn't say things like "I chose to make a painting because ...", "Making this print was a real challenge because ...", "I want my work to do X, Y or Z."  These are superficial ideas, and as a college student you should be capable of much deeper thought.

Your essay should not talk about the viewer. Remember that viewers can see your work. Nobody needs written instructions for looking at it. This essay is about what drives you to make your work.

These artist's statements are really meant to be more helpful to you than anyone else. Writing statements is helpful because often artists make work and more work and then more work without stopping to reflect on what they've really done and what their true motivations might have been.  Through stopping and reflecting you can skip some of the in-between steps, get to the point a little quicker and improve your work faster.

With that in mind your paper should be about finding the deeper thought behind your work and your interests. Try to identify those concepts, define them, research them and write about them concisely.  

A couple of good places to look for professional artist's statements are ArtForum's 500 Words. This is an ongoing series at Art Forum in which artists write about their work. It is available online and in the magazine. Inside the Studio which is a similar collection published in book form by Independent Curators International. When you're looking at these writings remember that for this class you are not writing about your work, you're writing about the ideas behind your work.

Sarah Schmerler has helped many artists write or improve their statements.  There are a couple of samples on her website.

The Center for Plain Language is a website that can help with your statement writing. 

- Find a subject to focus on over the course of the semester. A short statement of around half a page is fine for the first assignment. It should at least describe what  you are interested in and why are you interested in it. Subsequent statements should delve more deeply into your interest.
- With every assignment you will turn in a typed and revised paper. As you investigate this subject you will expand and improve your statement. By the end of the semester you should have a clear and concise one page essay on an interest of yours.
- I will read your statements, make recommendations, ask questions, and suggest artists to look at as possible influences. Your next statement should address these comments as well as any relevant comments that came up in critique.