20 Jan 2014

Guide: How to Write an Artist Statement

Over the years I have received many press kits from artists and galleries. Some of these have been exceptionally comprehensive, complete with all documents and images in order, whereas there have been many times when it has been frustrating for me to get bits and pieces of information and then have to chase the gallery/artist for more material.

An artist statement is an essential part of the press kit and often the most neglected. So here’s a guide on how to write an effective artist statement, what it should contain and tips on making it more professional.

Guide: How to Write an Artist Statement

What is an artist statement?

An artist statement is an introduction to your current body of work. It is an indispensable part of your portfolio which accompanies and augments your current artworks; essentially it is a textual articulation of a visual body of work. It is an explanation of your work ‘in words’ to the buyer, gallery, media, reviewers and also to an extent other artists, critics and students.

What it is not: An artist’s statement is not your bio/ profile/resume, nor is it a collection of images with one line of text describing each of them.

An artist statement is meant to present the artist’s perspective; his/her points of reference, inspirations, the choice of subject and material or medium and forms the framework to support the artworks. It talks to the viewer and explains the reasoning behind the art and the underlying concept.

What an artist statement must contain

  1. Your unique perspective and point of view – an overall brief
  2. What is your current series of art about – a detailed explanation
  3. A brief history of how your works have evolved to their current state
  4. Influences/inspirations if any
  5. Choice of materials and media

How to write

Begin by first jotting down points and making a list of all the information that you would like to include in it. Write down what is your overall vision for the current series of work, what it is about, how it has evolved, what have been the major influences on your art practice, how is it linked to your previous work and why have you chosen to work with specific materials and media.

Once you have listed down the information, organize it into paragraphs that flow from one point to the next. I find a word length of approximately 350 to 450 words is usually enough. The emphasis should be on clarity and being as objective as possible about your work, which is easier said than done. Rewrite and rework the text until you have a document that reads well, explains your perspective appropriately and is free from errors in grammar and spelling.


  1. Use plain and simple English to convey your thoughts. Do remember that your target audience is not necessarily well versed in art.
  2. In fact, it is not at all necessary to use an art critic's language.
  3. Be as clear as possible, stay focused and make it concise.
  4. Remember communication is the key and that you are 'talking' to a viewer about your work.
  5. If necessary, you could have a professional writer write your artist statement or at least obtain feedback about the content and flow of your text from an expert.
There are several artists who are excellent writers and it is obviously very easy for them to express their thoughts. But even those artists who find it difficult to articulate in words, I am sure if they were to follow the above steps and polish each draft, a good artist statement will definitely emerge.

Related posts,

How to Organize an Art Exhibition
Guide: Exhibiting your Artworks

Share this article if you found it useful (use the social media tools on top of this post). 
Also, share your experience with writing an artist statement in the comments section below.


Unknown said...

I thought its great

Unknown said...

Wow..Thank you so much Nalini, Artists community gravely required this.....Great activity.

jayshree shah said...

Thank you so much Nalini, it's so useful for an new artist like me. Thanks once again.

Unknown said...

Very useful.

Nalini Malaviya said...

Thank you everyone

Unknown said...

Thanks Nalini,! It will be very helpfull for many artist.

Nalini Malaviya said...

Glad that it helps, thank you

Sanjay Gopinath Punekar said...

Very nice maam

Unknown said...

Its too good

Sanika Dhanorkar said...

A perfect composition of how an artist statement should be composed!! ... Very well laid out!

kayal said...

Amazing mam

Nalini Malaviya said...

Thank you

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Very well said. It's a needed one for freshers! Thank you.

Patty Rodgers said...

The artist statement is the most difficult thing, because here we are expressing ourselves through visual elements, then we have to explain it in words! With so many artistic styles and mediums being used today, it is necessary to bridge the gap between the art and the viewer. Thanks for sharing. I constantly revise my statement.

Anonymous said...

Informative, useful guidelines for artists.

Margriet van Engelen said...

Thank you very much Alini, for the good structure you showed us to make a good statement. It is very important to find the right words for it so that people feel connect with the art you show. Thanks for sharing!