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  • Writer's pictureContemporary Art Awards

Shining a light on Artist Statements

Writing an artist statement is an integral part of the artist’s creative process and should be viewed as an extension of your artwork. Your artist statement is how you convey your more complex ideas, concepts, and motivations to the viewer. Try not to shy away from writing; people love to know the story behind the artwork.

Here are some artist statement tips:

  • Reflect on your artwork and ask yourself - What are the central themes/ideas/concepts underpinning my work? What are my motivations behind the work? What do I want the viewer to know, learn or consider? Also, think about how the artwork may connect to the viewer's interest? (write your answers down this is a brainstorming activity).

  • What is the work? (Painting, sculpture, photography)

  • What is your theme or concept?

  • Explain to your reader how the artwork came about?

  • Mention the materials used in the artwork (optional)

  • What is the overall meaning of the artwork?

  • Use simple and clear language so that your audience will understand (do not use words that require a dictionary).

  • Be specific

  • Always read your statement out loud (this is an excellent way to see if it reads well or not).

  • Use present tense (present tense means to locate your artwork in the present time).

  • Read other artist statements (this will help build your vocabulary).


Depending on where your art is being exhibited (gallery, website or art award), word limits may apply to your artist statements. Therefore, a great practice to adopt is to write three statements for every artwork, one being 200 words, 100 words, and 50 words in length this helps to saves time when applying for awards, exhibitions, grants, or art residencies in the near future. Also, this exercise is an excellent way to improve your writing over time (the more you write, the better you will become).


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