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3 Essential Tips for Writing an Artist Statement

Photos by: Cheryl McCain

Writing An Artist Statement

By Erin Kendrick

So often in our creative industry the artist, creative and/or maker (meaning…you) are concurrently the business and brand. That means that your individual creative point-of-view or point of departure and your professional purpose are in alignment.

Every creative company/brand needs a mission statement, but to stay in alignment with your authentic purpose – with yourself at the center – consider writing an artist statement instead.

There are 3 essentials factors that should be considering when crafting an Artist Statement/Mission Statement –

  • The Why
  • The How
  • The What

Let’s first consider the desired outcome – meaning what the client receives, how we want them to feel, and what we want them to say to others about us. If we consider these things at the beginning, we can ensure that our personal creative intentions drive the business and not the other way around. Keep this in mind, a client can be a patron, customer, audience member or guest, gallerist, producer or anyone who receives your creative product in some capacity.

So, what’s the difference between an Artist Statement and a Mission Statement?

An artist statement is an artist’s written description of their artwork including its purpose, intention, and the method and materials used to create it.

A mission statement articulates a company’s purpose. It states why your company exists, it’s overall goals, products & services, it’s primary market and geographic location?

So how do they align? With both you need to make clear what you are offering to the client and why they need it from you. Once you consider your desired outcomes then you can tackle the writing process. Sitting down to write any type of personal statement can be daunting. How many times have sat looking at a blank screen trying to figure out where to start?

Rather than struggling with the writing process this method simply requires you to answer a few focused questions about your why, your how, and your what. The main question of each focus area is below.

  1. The Why – What is the desired outcome (viewer experience)?
  2. The How – What method, materials, and techniques did you use to create the work?
  3. The What – Describe your artwork/creative product. Explain what it means.

Answering a few questions is far easier than writing out a focused paragraph.  If you take the time to answer each question using a full sentence then you’re already a step ahead.  Your answers to all of the questions, once combined and edited, will become your finished statement. 

You can try it here! Download the worksheet here.

Get access to more valuable information and templates from Artist Types at www.artisttypes.com

About Artist Types

Artist Types is a brand that assists emerging artists in their professional development and better prepare them for new opportunities within their field. Founded by Erin Kendrick, an experienced artist and art educator, Artist Types is fundamental for practicing artists that want to establish themselves and prepare for a career in the field.

Kendrick offers workshops, mini-courses, and templates for CV writing, artist statements, proposals, and more to achieve this. She received her BFA in Studio Art from Florida State University and MFA in Drawing & Painting from Georgia State University. She has exhibited work in museums, galleries and alternative spaces throughout the United States and abroad.  As an educator, she lives by Elbert Hubbard’s quote, “Art is not a thing. It is a way.” 

Learn more here. Catch up with Erin here

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