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Need to write an artist statement? Try this exercise

Olya Losina
November 6, 2023

An Artist Statement is a write-up about you and your art, to explore/express what art means to you, and how you see yourself as an artist. If you're submitting your art somewhere, whether it be to college admissions, a local exhibition, or to be represented by a gallery, you'll need to write an Artist Statement.

Typically, it is in first person, although you can do it in either first or third person. Your Artist Statement expresses your voice and gives the reader a flavor of your character, style of speaking, temperament, attitude, credo, mission, with maybe some biographical references, but Artist Statement is not a biography. It can be any length and in any style: serious, or relaxed/poetic, or flamboyant/eccentric. Should it be authentic? Eventually, yes, but not necessarily in this exercise. 

These “alternative voices” help you find your true voice in writing your real Artist Statement - when you get stuck and have no idea how to write one and what to say in it. Write 12 different versions, one in each style. Lengths are up to you. Have fun! 

Artist Statement in 12 Voices

1. Untrue - opposite to how it is.

2. Positive, boastful - affirmative, hopeful, proud, upbeat, exaggerated towards arrogant.

3. Negative - doubtful, depressing, frustrating, sad, hopeless, low self-esteem.

4. Metaphorical - write in metaphors and similes, to make it poetic

5. Quotes - made of quotes only.

6. Scientific - complex, related to Art History, science theories, psychology, using professional terms and big words - not easy to understand for someone without the education. Dry and unemotional. Work with a dictionary!

7. Minimalist - brief and elegant, like a Haiku

8. Surreal - crazy, improbable, unbelievable, fantastical, imaginative

9. Humorous - funny, joking, entertaining.

10. Exclamations only - no sentences - very emotional, flamboyant, expressive. 

11. Philosophical - pondering on “why art”, why me, life, self, soul, authenticity, etc. 

12. Questions only, no answers.