Writing Your Artist Statement

Artist Statement Checklist

  • Before or by the due date posted on the senior studies schedule, email your artist statement to Mona Weselmann at: weselman@stolaf.edu.
  • Submit your artist statement in a Word Document or Google Doc using 12 pt. Times New Roman, single spaced with no special formatting.
  • Save and name the document using your last name ONLY (i.e. larson.docx).
  • Your name should be the first line on the top of the statement (i.e. Sven Larson OR Sven J. Larson, etc.).
  • Statements are not proofed for grammar, capitalization or spelling, so please double-check your work.
  • Special requests regarding formatting, imagery or other requirements should be sent to Mona at weselman@stolaf.edu.
  • If you designed a special visual layout, please have it print ready in a Word Doc or PDF and email to Mona at weselman@stolaf.edu.
  • Statement submission is final. No changes please.
Tips to help you get started:

You are required to write an artist statement about your work in the exhibit. An artist statement is a general introduction to the work you have made. This statement may support the content of your work, articulate your intentions, and describe processes, explorations, influences, beginnings, endings, etc.

Artist statements can take many forms. Here’s a suggested format to get you started. Write 1-3 sentences for each of the following points:

  1. The impetus for the project.  What inspired you to do this? Keep it short, interesting, and relevant.
  2. The process.  What materials or software programs were used? How did you achieve this? It’s informative to know how your art is made. Just make sure you don’t get overly technical.
  3. State your objectives.  State your artistic intentions in the form of a goal or exploration (i.e. “Through this work, I aim to examine themes of x, y, and z.”). With this approach you can inform the audience of your intended goals while simultaneously allowing them to interpret and respond personally to your work.

Additional tips:

  • Keep notes throughout the semester. What are you thinking about? What interests you about your art?
  • What is influencing you?
  • Start writing early. Write multiple drafts. It often takes numerous attempts to achieve your desired result.
  • Avoid evaluative statements that direct the audience to feel or see something in a predetermined way (i.e. “This artwork is so hilarious.”).
  • Statements should not explain the work but should support the work.
  • Statements should be brief and clear (100 words max).

Tips from Artist Hannah Piper Burns:

The Words Should Match the Work.
Is your work whimsical? Or is it violent? What is the scale? Make sure your prose reflects the qualities of what it describes. Using verbs and adjectives that really match the qualities of your creative output will create a statement that both excites and informs. I recommend looking for inspiration online or in the art theory books gathering dust on your shelves.

Get a Second Opinion
Just like when we make artwork, sometimes we are so involved in the process of writing a statement that it can be hard to be objective. Make sure you get a fresh pair of eyes to look over your statement before you publish it or send it out. Try reading it aloud while showing some images or clips. That why, you can get a better sense of the rhythm and flow of the prose while your critic can see how well the words actually match the work.