Writing Class

Artist Statements are hard. At least they were for Dahlia. After quite a few attempts and rather a lot of frustration, she felt like the words she was putting down on paper were just taking away from her work.

Art wasn’t just her business, it was her life. The all-consuming passion that got her out of bed every morning. And now it was being reduced to a little pile of words that seemed to take away from the beauty of her work.

In fact, the statements Dahlia was writing were diminishing her work. Each time she attempted, she froze up and ended up reducing a massive body of work to a simple theory. Her work was far more than that but she just wasn’t sure how to express herself this way.

After the last straw, and up against the deadline for a juried show, Dahlia enlisted the help of an expert to polish up her artist statement. With an experienced editor by her side, she was able to rework her words so that they complemented rather than detracted from her work.

You are an artist, your work is a visual feast and not a few lines of prose. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know how to write a good artist statement. It is imperative that you be able to do so when called upon and, if you are a career artist, you absolutely will be called upon.

When writing an artist statement, do not lose sight of the fact that your work is primary. The words are secondary, meant only to support what you do.

Keep your statement in the first person and strive to make it sincere. To this end, avoid unnecessary artspeak. Discuss your work in accessible terms.

A good rule of thumb: think of the least artistically minded person you know, perhaps a very conservative grandparent, and be sure they, too would understand what you are saying.

Write carefully, considering your words. When you have them down, step away and come back to them later with fresh eyes. If possible, have a friend read your statement and offer feedback. Consider hiring an editor.

Praxis Center is proud to have professional editor and wordsmith Julia Tolstrup who will edit your bio and/or artist statement in the virtual classroom. This expert support is only a click away when you join Praxis Center and enroll in our online courses.

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