I “repair” artist statements as part of my consulting practice. Often, this is what serves as the “about” page for an artist’s website or as the small bio used for the back of a limited-edition work or otherwise included as a hand-out with 2 and 3 dimensional works when sold in a gallery or fine craft venue.
What I see often is an over-riding need to seem deep or reflective or unique. People often string together thoughts that will make them seem “artist-like”. They get out a thesaurus and a blender and just hope for the best.
Top Three Mistakes
1. too long
2. too much history
3. too technical
So when I first read an artist’s statement, and I see 4 or five paragraphs – I know I will have to do some negotiating. Then when the first sentence mentions childhood passions – I know I will have to do some negotiating. And then when they describe the various mediums and the techniques and the various schools of art that have influenced them…. well, it often is simply an attempt to pump oneself up by “dazzling” potential clients.
There is rarely any need for more than 50 words, rarely any need to refer to the past, and rarely any reason to discuss technique. By avoiding those top three mistakes, a clear and compelling statement usually rises from the ashes.
Always assume that the person who clicks on that link simply wants to know what you are thinking. They are curious about what informs you about your art and its creation. They want to connect to you as a person. They just “want to get to know you”.
So keep it simple, keep it informative, and keep it on a 6th grade level of understanding.
And above all – keep it short!