10 Artist Statement Examples

A well-written artist statement can help you get your work exhibited, sell your work for better prices, give you something powerful to submit with college applications, and impress galleries and curators. Even if you’re not looking to make a career in your art, having good artist statement examples is always going to be beneficial for anyone who enjoys creating art.

An artist statement is a short statement that describes the visual and conceptual goals and their various artistic practices. It’s written in the 1 st person, present tense, and describes the artist’s state of mind when creating artwork.  Artist statements are a very important part of great art. But most artists seem to struggle with them. Below we’ll be providing you with 10 examples of artist statements. All of these excellent examples are great examples of artist statements, so take a few minutes to read through them and get inspiration from them!

Artist statement examples should always guide you when developing and writing your own artist statement. Below we have gathered 10 of the best artist statement examples that we could find around the web. These are impressive statements that will help you to develop and write your own artist statement.

What Is an Artist Statement?

artist statement
Credit: alisonwells.com

Creating a statement is a crucial part of an artist’s process. The description of your artwork in the artist statement shapes the viewer’s perspective when viewing your artwork. If you cannot answer questions about your art in person, it can serve as your substitute. Art will always be subjective. People will examine your work and judge it. That’s why you must tell the viewer your story. When looking at art, viewers often have questions. An artist statement is a way to answer these questions without saying a word.

Ideally, you need to express yourself freely and naturally when writing your artist statement because you are essentially telling your own story. But creating one can be challenging.

You should write a short artist statement that explains what and why you make it. An artist can use it as if they were speaking to someone about their work in a way that contributes to their understanding of it.

Artist statements are required when applying for residencies, grants, and exhibitions. Despite the difficulty of writing them, they’re precious. Those who are reading this guide are already in good shape if you aren’t writing an important application the night before it is due. It takes time to write an artist statement, but it does not have to be a hassle. It will save you time if you’re able to take a step back, evaluate your work, and write a few sentences about it before finishing.

Artist Statement Basics

All of a sudden, there are all these words to describe your work. As an artist, your statement should fulfill the three most essential elements: what, why, and how.

1. What?

Don’t forget to indicate what medium you are using (sculptures, paintings, installation,, durational performance, non-narrative video, etc.). That seems like an obvious point but a surprising number of statements do not mention it.

2. Why?

It is important that you do not overthink this. Recall your casual conversations and brainstorms. Your enthusiasm is what makes this work. So what does your enthusiasm involve? It shouldn’t be a matter of ‘hoping’ or ‘trying’ to influence the viewer; it should just do that. You can also discuss your influences and inspirations here without getting too into the weeds of art history.

3. How?

Provide a brief description of how you do your work, particularly if you have a unique process that’s difficult to illustrate with images. It is necessary to note that collage is not an inventive process, and using the word juxtaposition does not describe it in any unique way.

4. Consider Your Audience

If you are preparing an artist statement for a local exhibition, the tone you use will probably differ from that used for a $100,000 grant application. If you rework your statement, remember to first ask yourself to whom or what the text is intended. You should create a basic artist statement that you can use for future applications, exhibitions, and requests, but be sure to revisit and reevaluate each one.

Your artist statement needs to be read by other people before you can truly know how it will be received and if it will accomplish your intended work. You should have a diverse audience of friends, family, mentors, artists, and non-artists alike. Make this as legible as possible. Listen to what they have to say and tell them to be brutally honest.

You need to fulfill the basic “what, why, and how” requirement and express your ideas in a way that feels comfortable to you.

10 Artist Statement Examples

One of the first steps in writing a successful artist statement is to figure out exactly what that statement will be.  An artist’s statement describes a person’s attitude toward their work. The artistic statement expresses mission, values, and aesthetic principles. It allows the writer to explain their work’s meaning and share any unique vision with their audience. An artist’s personal opinion on their own art is in their artist statement.

Edvard Munch, The Scream (1893)

munchs art statement on The scream

Edvard Munch is considered one of the pioneers of expressionism and a symbolist painter, and his art helped to depict emotions and feelings. His works are characterized by a grotesque style full of angst and introspection as in his paintings. Edvard Munch was born on December 12 , 1863 in Løten, Norway. He created art through expressionism and also by showing his feelings in paintings to show what he has felt. His works are most famous for his painting “The Scream” who’s signature startled face represents “the unbearable expression of extreme agony and horror.”

Jackson Pollock, Convergence (1952)

jackson pollocks art statement

Jackson Pollock is one of the most influential painters in the history of American Art. He is probably one of the best-known, but least understood artists in the 20th century. Despite being a commercial and critical success — selling millions of dollars worth of work while alive — Pollock’s work was somewhat misunderstood during his own time. Today, however, there remains a lengthy list of people who appreciate Pollock’s contributions to art history. His brand of abstract expressionism remains a reference in many art schools and universities around the world.

Titian, The Venus of Urbino (1538)

artist statement examples

Titian was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Venice. His parents were Matteo and Niccolosa, who lived at the Sotto il Monte farm where Titian would also live to be buried in 1576. It is said that the famous painter loved his birthplace very much because, in his childhood, he used to find a lot of pebbles or rocks with colors or simply unusual forms that particularly attracted him. Titian is a legendary personality that dominated the Venetian Renaissance. He painted some of the greatest paintings in history and was probably the most influential artist of his century. He’s famous for both his religious and mythological paintings and his portraits.

Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Bathers (1765)

The Bathers arts artists statement

Jean-Honore Fragonard was a French painter who lived from 1732 to 1806. Fragonard was an 18th-century French painter that produced some of the most delicate, relaxed, and contains scenes of 18th-century life. Painting leading figures of his time in portraits and court scenes, he is best known for his anecdotal genre works, which saw him sought after as a portraitist. Fragonard was also a notable printmaker and theatre designer but ultimately spent his entire career painting, something he thrived on.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Rebellious Slave (1513)

artist statement on green background

Michelangelo Buonarroti is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, and he produced some amazing works. He is famous for many things, but he is most famous for sculptures, paintings, and architecture. He hugely affected the art world, making history. His versatility in the arts overshadowed that of any other artist of his time. He is best known for a statue, David, and his many paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996)

The art spiders artist statement

Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris on 25th December 1911. She was a French-American artist famous for her sculptures, and she died in 2010. Louise Bourgeois sculptures have a distinctive visual style that uses the body as a metaphor to explore ideas related to Freudian theory, trauma, and aggression. She has become a key figure in post-World War II minimalist sculpture and in the feminist art movement. Her large-scale works incorporate latex, fiberglass, and marble materials. There are over 100 sculptures that are part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some of her iconic pieces are Ode to Freud, Spider’s Web, Obsession Tower, Maman, and Cell.

Alice Aycock, Cyclone Twist (2014)

artist statement examples

Alice Aycock was an American visual artist known for using a wide range of media in her work. The main focus in her artistic practice has been on sculpture, installation art, and the use of video projections in the public sphere. Her work explores ideas surrounding the passage of time, changing environments, and humanity’s role in the world today.

Grandma Moses, Morning Day on the Farm (1951)

Morning Day on the Farm arts statement

Grandma Moses, born in Greenwich in 1860, was an American folk artist. She first began to paint at the age of 78 after her husband’s death in 1927. Yet this American painter became one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. While some might assume she was a prodigy and she always had an exceptional talent for drawing, the truth is she only started painting after her husband passed away. In her prime, she painted over 170 paintings which continue to make the rounds around the globe today.

Gustav Klimt

gustav klimt artistic statements

Gustav Klimt is one of the most famous artists in Austria’s history. On July 14th, 1862, Gustav Klimt was born to a middle-class family in Baumgarten, Austria. His father, Ernst was a gold engraver, encouraged Klimt’s artistic development. By the time he was fourteen years old, he had already chosen his future occupation and begun to study painting. He paid for his studies by working as a decorative painter during the day and attending drawing classes in the afternoon at Viennese Art Nouveau and Jugendstil studios. Gustav Klimt’s expression can be very different because of the size. He creates more than 8 by 10 feet of huge paintings with interesting detail and bright colors. Klimt also loves female bodies, and you can see most of his works in this theme.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was one of the greatest impressionist painters in Europe, and he is known as the father of abstract art. Most artists were inspired by nature. Nature gave them the idea for their paintings. For Kandinsky it was different, Kandinsky didn’t paint what he had seen, he painted what he felt. Wassily Kandinsky was born on December 16th, 1866, Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow, Russia. He is most famous for painting colors in an abstract way, which he did by drawing wavy lines on a canvas while imagining color-filled shapes, which would later develop into a final piece of art.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Artist Statement

1. Share the Inspiration Behind Your Art

Writing about the inspiration for your work is one of the best ways to describe your art to viewers. It sets the stage for you to discuss your artwork with your audience. Ideas for artwork can come to you daily or on a particular occasion. Explain the idea as simply as you can. The main goal is to connect with viewers through your work. In the case of abstract art, especially, not doing so leaves the viewer feeling disconnected. You cannot make sense of your art without it. It is merely a shamble of colors on canvas.

2. Shape the Viewer’s Perspective

The next thing you must do when writing an artist statement is to describe your artwork to shape the perspective of the reader. A viewer can easily misunderstand your art if you do not describe it clearly. If you want to ensure the viewer understands your art, include a few words to explain it. However, avoid providing too much information about the artwork. Create an environment of interest in your art such that the viewer will naturally want to learn more about it.

3. Keep the Artist Statement as Small as Possible

Your artist statement should not be a lengthy biography, especially when you want to show beautiful art. Excessive fancy words make the statement difficult to understand. Explanations that are too long can make the statement appear unreliable.

Under 100 words is a good length for artist statements. You can follow the rule of thumb that shorter is better. Look for artist statement examples that you can relate to and borrow ideas from them.

Your artist statement lessons should include this point as the most important. A good artist statement can range from a few hundred words to a couple of pages long. If you want to make your statement more in line with this range, limit technical details and fancy words.

4. Use an Active Voice

Use an active voice when writing your artist statement. As if speaking directly to your viewer, it creates a more conversational tone. In this way, the viewer feels immediately connected with you. Make sure that your artist statement is written in the active voice.

5. Avoid Spelling and Grammatical Mistakes

In a statement of artistry, you aim to draw the audience into your work and encourage them to explore it further. The reader is put off by a sloppy artist statement, leaving them with little or no interest in the art. A viewer might not click on your site if there is a typo or a grammatical error.

You can avoid small grammatical errors by using tools like Grammarly. It is a joy to read when a statement is punctuated properly and has no typos.

6. Examine Your Art

Take a closer look at several of your pieces of artwork. Compare and contrast the differences. Consider what words and emotions spring to mind when you carefully examine your work. Perhaps you will notice some similarities that you missed before. This allows you to explore the significance of these similarities. You may also wish to consider comments others have made about your work. Their interpretations of it may resemble your own.

7. Consider Your Inspiration

Take a moment to consider how you became an artist. You might find it helpful to write out your origin story as an artist and any important incidents that led you to create. It may have been a person, an experience, or event that inspired you. Taking the time to write this out in detail can help you start communicating this inspiration clearly.

8. Define Your Message

When you create art, consider how you want to make people feel. Every artist will have a different approach. There are artists who seek to provoke people’s critical thinking and others who want to make people laugh. An artist aims to evoke reactions such as joy, anger, sadness, wonder, and contemplation. Think about the type of memories you want your work to evoke.

9. Remember Your Audience

Write for your audience based on what you know about them. Consider using a more formal or academic approach when you are composing a statement as part of an application to a graduate program. You will want to focus on the specific pieces in the collection when you write a statement for a gallery.

Final Words

We hope that these artist statement examples will inspire you as you plan your artist statement for your own career as an artist. So what is a good artist statement? It should be concise. It should be honest. And it should be meaningful. Although it may not always seem like it, artists care deeply about the world around them. Thus, in addition to keeping your statements short and sweet, try to incorporate some of your deepest emotions and thoughts into the artist’s statement. This can add a little more magic to your statement, helping to make it just that much stronger. An influential artist statement can help connect your images with others and improve your career trajectory as an artist.

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