Artist statement resources for the folks who are smarter/better/more educated/more sophisticated/more talented than me.
It’s our choice. We can make the commitment to say something meaningful and compelling about our work.
Or we can stick with the attitude that people need to educate themselves in order to really appreciate our work.
I’ve been writing a series of articles for Fine Art Views newsletter about how to punch up your stories–Your artist statement, your artist bio/cv, your press releases. This series, TELL ME A STORY, starts here. The second article is here:, and the next two will appear June 23 and July 7, 2011. Mark your calendars! (Or just subscribe to Fine Art Views newsletter–it’s free!)
Some people are ready to hear this stuff. Others, not so much. When I get resistance, I hear one of two things:
“Can’t you just give me a template, and let me fill in the blanks?”
“I really think art critics, galleries and art-collecting audiences want something more….sophisticated than a ‘story’.”
Well, say no more! If this is what you want, I’ve found just the tools for you.
This tongue-in-cheek artist statement template-driven generator by 10Gallon.com is perfect for those who just want to fill in the blanks. My first attempt resulted in this distinctively different artist statement:
Through my work I attempt to examine the phenomenon of Quick Draw McGraw as a methaphorical interpretation of both Georgia O’Keefe and fixing people.
What began as a personal journey of frackism has translated into images of cookies and arms that resonate with Caucasian people to question their own aquamarineness.
My mixed media dog images embody an idiosyncratic view of Billy Graham, yet the familiar imagery allows for a connection between Janis Joplin, cats and french fries.
My work is in the private collection of Darrin McGavin who said ‘Yeow!! That’s some real shapely Art.’
I am a recipient of a grant from Folsom Prison where I served time for stealing mugs and tie clips from the gift shop of The Peabody Museum. I have exhibited in group shows at McDonald’s and the Pucker Gallery in Boston, MA, though not at the same time. I currently spend my time between my den and Berlin.
I’m sure with a little practice, you could get something a little less silly.
For the academically-minded crowd, this artist statement writing tool site from Gurney Journey will surely appeal. It’s actually easier to use than the previous one. No need to even fill in the blanks! Try it. It’s a handy little exercise to create a bang-up, very academic-sounding artist statement in no time flat. All you have to do is combine any items from three different lists, and voila! An artist statement that is sure to start a spirited discussion about your work among the (g)literati.
But for those who don’t even have time to read through the lists, there’s more! This totally
mindless automatic artist statement generator it sooooo easy, you don’t have to do anything except click on a tab.
My first result using the Arty Bollocks Generator was promising:
My work explores the relationship between the body and skateboard ethics.
With influences as diverse as Wittgenstein and John Lennon, new combinations are crafted from both simple and complex layers.
Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of meaning. What starts out as triumph soon becomes corroded into a tragedy of power, leaving only a sense of decadence and the possibility of a new reality.
As shifting phenomena become frozen through boundaried and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the limits of our era.
Hmmmmm. Not…quite. So I tried again. I got a message that said I was a little hard to please, and this new statement:
My work explores the relationship between new class identities and midlife subcultures.
With influences as diverse as Wittgenstein and John Lennon, new synergies are generated from both simple and complex textures.
Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of meaning. What starts out as vision soon becomes corrupted into a dialectic of greed, leaving only a sense of what could have been and the prospect of a new beginning.
As temporal impressions become clarified through emergent and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an impression of the inaccuracies of our era.
I still wasn’t satisfied (and the ABG got a little crabby), but I persisted. I clicked the tab again and came up with this one:
My work explores the relationship between postmodern discourse and urban spaces.
With influences as diverse as Nietzsche and Andy Warhol, new synergies are crafted from both simple and complex textures.
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the theoretical limits of relationships. What starts out as hope soon becomes debased into a tragedy of temptation, leaving only a sense of chaos and the inevitability of a new beginning.
As shifting forms become clarified through boundaried and diverse practice, the viewer is left with a statement of the edges of our condition.
Wow! Pretty good! But why settle for pretty good when I can have the best? My next try resulted in this one:
My work explores the relationship between emerging sexualities and urban spaces.
With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard and Francis Bacon, new combinations are created from both explicit and implicit layers.
Ever since I was a student I have been fascinated by the traditional understanding of relationships. What starts out as triumph soon becomes debased into a tragedy of lust, leaving only a sense of decadence and the inevitability of a new synthesis.
As spatial impressions become frozen through diligent and personal practice, the viewer is left with a glimpse of the inaccuracies of our world.
The ABG grumbled that I was a bit of a perfectionist, but I just couldn’t resist one more try:
My work explores the relationship between postmodern discourse and recycling culture.
With influences as diverse as Blake and Roy Lichtenstein, new tensions are created from both traditional and modern textures.
Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the theoretical limits of meaning. What starts out as hope soon becomes debased into a cacophony of lust, leaving only a sense of decadence and the prospect of a new reality.
As temporal phenomena become transformed through emergent and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an impression of the edges of our future.
I decided to quit while I was ahead, and told the Arty Bollocks Generator, “Enough already.”
Yep, I had a good laugh. But the scary thing about these very tongue-in-cheek exercises?
These actually sound like real artist statements..
I’m not highly educated, but I do have an MA. And half the time, when I read these ‘sophisticated statements’, I have no idea what the person is talking about. Are these really the things they lie awake nights thinking about? ( Me? I tend to lie awake trying to remember if I let the cats in.)
Remember–It’s our choice.
We can stick with the attitude that people need to educate themselves in order to really appreciate our work.
(Let us know how that works for ya, okay?)
We can try to sound like every other artist who wants to sound intellectual, academic, and obtuse.
Or we can do some work. Get real. Get sincere.
Say what is in our hearts.
We can strive to say something meaningful and compelling about our art that anyone can understand.