How to write a good Artist's Statement


Want to write a good artist’s statement but don’t know where to start?

Writing is a difficult business at the best of times, but especially if you’re writing about your own work. In 2014 Louisa Buck shared her advice which we are republishing and updating:


Consider your audience

Knowing who will be reading what you have written is key to effective writing. Use words that are appropriate for the reader.

Ask yourself: Who you are writing for? What do my readers know about the topic? What do I want them to take away from the experience?

State the obvious

Explain straight away what the work consists of and don’t be afraid to state the obvious.

Less is more

Keep your statements fairly short - there’s no need for a thesis.

It’s all about you

We want to read about you, not other people. Make sure you focus on your work.

Don’t over analyse

Don’t suffocate or over-analyse the work. Let the air in. Rein in the lists of influences and materials.

Communicate your intentions

Remember it’s for others to judge the meaning and impact of your work.

Offer insights

Be revealing. But don’t unburden yourself.

Avoid writing in the third person

Third person statements can sound strange - it’s your work after all. However, if someone else does write about your work, make sure we know who they are and why they matter.

Be positive

Don’t write from a defensive place. Never feel you have to defend or justify your work.

Proofread or ask someone else to check your writing

Watch out for spelling and typos, and double check your punctuation and grammar.

Keep going

It doesn’t have to be perfect first time round. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett)

Image: David Foggo, Laughter Lines, 2010