I Am An Artist – My Artist Statement

6 Tips for Writing an Artist Statement


There! I said it all in the title, “I Am An Artist.”


See, I painted “The Devil’s in the Detail Playing Tenor Sax,” Acrylic, 40×30.  Therefore, I am an Artist.

That’s my Artist Statement. I wish this short statement would suffice. Unfortunately, writing more than a short statement is a more daunting and arduous task.

So much of who-we-are is wrapped up in what-we-do. The “Artist-label” denotes what I am, but does not indicate what I do, how I do it, and why I do it. Hence the “Artist’s Statement.” According to a Wikipedia article, “writing artists’ statements is a comparatively recent phenomenon beginning in the 1990s.” The same article states that an artist statement serves as a “a vital link of communication between you [the artist], and the rest of the world.” Well, it should.

The question becomes, “why is it so daunting and arduous to write a dynamic artist’s statement?” Like other artists, I would rather be in the studio creating more art. Typically, artists are not writers or even conversationalists. As an artist, I communicate through non-objective compositions on canvas. Furthermore, I am a loner, spending most of my time in the studio without communicating to others. Through my Artist Statement, I need to answer the following questions

  1. What do I do?
  2. How do I do it?
  3. Why do I do it?
  4. What do I want viewers to understand about my work?

Did I answer these questions in the latest version of my artist statement?

I paint emotion.  In my process, I take an idea from life experiences and respond to that idea as I build each painting layer by layer.  I am surmounting the negativities of those experiences and responding to each previous layer with a new one.  Marc Chagall stated it best, “Art seems to me to be a state of soul more than anything else.” [This paragraph answers the “what.”]

I do not wait for inspiration, I paint.  I know the act of painting, itself, will motivate me to be creative.  I prefer vibrant, saturated colors that I blend on the canvas creating a multitude of effects.  I paint with acrylics, house paint, spray paint, oil paint, ink, pastels, collage, transfers, sand, cement, and anything that will adhere to the canvas.  When I engage with my surface, I brush on the paint, scrape it off, knife it on, sand it off, and so much more. [This paragraph answers the “how.”] 

 Finally, I choose a title that compliments the theme of the painting and that is ambiguous.  I want viewers to have their own experience with the painting. [These final sentences answer the “why” and the “take-away for viewers.”]

I encourage you to reread my statement without reading the words in the brackets.

6 Tips for writing your own artist’s statement:

  1. Approach the task of writing with a positive attitude, otherwise you will be defeated before you start
  2. Avoid ArtSpeak, get to the point – avoid jargon, use a conversational style in the first person
  3. Your statement is not static – keep your audience in mind
  4. Take frequent breaks
  5. Have someone, other than a family member, read and edit
  6. Revise, Revise, Revise

I don’t care who you are, my short Artist Statement is: “I Am an Artist!

Author: Jerry Hardesty Studio

I am an Abstract Expressionist Painter, living in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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