Most visual artists can talk freely and fluidly about their work: technique and materials, underlying concepts, influences, etc. But when asked to put these ideas into writing, they often find themselves at a loss for words; or more often, overwhelmed by too many words—gushing forth from the wellspring of information/experience that collects naturally through their immersion in the creative process.
The artist is intimate with every single aspect of his/her work, which can make it difficult to focus on its most significant elements—especially when attempting to explain their art in black and white. This should come as no surprise: visual artists are generally not writers, and writing per se, which relies on a different mental palette—another side of the brain, no less—may be relatively alien to them.
An Outside Perspective is Essential
Every artist can benefit from an outside perspective on his/her work—carefully considered and directed toward a specific end. Clarity, brevity, and focus are qualities an objective voice can bring to basic marketing communications, such as an artist statement.
Separating the promotional voice from the artistic vision makes a lot of sense—like a frame that separates a painting from the outside world; facilitating the conditions that allow the art to “speak for itself.”
My Methodology: Here’s How I Work
Artist statements are my specialty—tailored to each individual artist and his/her work. Here is how I create an artist statement (~ 500 words):
- I thoroughly examine the artist’s work, notes, ideas, etc.—with the aid of a general questionnaire I send beforehand;
- I revise the questionnaire based on our combined notes, creating a customized questionnaire for our . . .
- Phone interview (one hour max). Invariably we uncover truths about their art they had never imagined (everyone seems to love this part of the process);
- I write the statement, and edit it based on the artist’s feedback.
For more posts on art promotion, and for links to samples of my work, go to the Writing for Artists tab.