Thursday, 2 May 2013

Artists Statement

Do I really need to write an Artists Statement (handout)

It’s that time of year whenwe hear students grumbling abouthaving towritean artist statement? ‘It's a waste of time, is it really necessary’. If I wanted to write to express myself I would have been a writer. I’m an artist and I express myself visually not textually, can't people just look at my work andunderstand my intentions’? The answer to this yes and no, sometimes a work is strong enough tostand on its own, but generally anartist statement is pivotal to howyour work willbe interpreted.

Your artist statement doesn’t need to be a scholarly masterpiece, it should be about facts, it shouldserve as way of introducing your work; it's not instructions on what to experience, what to think, howto feel, how to act. You can’t stop people looking at your work and making judgements based upon their experiences, because they will. A good statement may however persuade people to think twice aboutwhat they’re lookingat.
Use language people understand, avoid being too esoteric, you want to encourage the viewer to look, appreciate and understand your work. A statement is simular to an introduction to a book it clarifies yourintentions about the work. It’s your opportunity to discuss why you shot what you did, how youwentabout shooting it and what it means to you. Try not to state the obvious i.e. If it’s a black andwhite photograph of a building don’t say ‘this is a black and white photograph of a building’, mention why you shoot that building as opposed to any other building, what was your motivation why did you shoot what you did. Talk about the characteristics that make this shot special to you, for example itmaybe you like the texture, tone, quality of light, expression, or its composition. Mention your successes and failures; they all inform howwe read youreffort throughout the course.

Finally your statement is about you, so personalise it instil it with your unique perspective. My advice is to ‘give too little, not too much’. Don’t write a thesis, the assessors will not have the time to wadethroughpagesof text they want toknow more about your ideas than your life’s history
Because youarenot there toanswer to yourworkits essential your artist statement speaks for you.A couple ofother things to consider whenwritingyour statementaremaking ‘I’ statements, rather than‘you’ statements. Talk aboutwhat yourworkdoes for you, not what it's supposed to do for the others. Providethe option toagreeor disagree,don’t dictate, asnobody likes being told what to door howto think.

If you insist upon telling astory about what led upto yourwork; keep it short, compelling, andrelevant.Your statement is to be no longer than1/2page maximumfor each assignment.

Short, succinct andsweet.


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