Artist's Statements- Do's and Don'ts

Over the course of time, I've developed a set of "do's" and "don'ts" regarding artist's statements. I'm sure that everyone reading this post  will have their own opinions on the subject. Let me hear from you if you have a particular issue I haven't touched upon and I will add them in another post! "Do's"

  1. Make it only as long as it needs to be to say what you want to say. No longer.
  2. Write something that adds to the reader’s understanding of your work that can’t necessarily be learned from looking at the work itself.
  3. If you tell a story, make clear how it relates to the work, or to your philosophy as an artist.
  4. Make a point. Let there be a clear reason why you wrote this.
  5. Make the first sentence or two so interesting that I want to read the rest.
  6. Sound like you know what you are talking about. Use words that convey confidence.
  7. Use language that clarifies rather than obscures what you are talking about.
  8. Make sure the writing is free of technical errors (grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax, etc.)


  1. Don’t make it unnecessarily long. Why go on and on if what you want to say can be said in one or two paragraphs?
  2. Don’t sound like everyone else out there. You are a unique individual with unique experiences and insights. Share them with your audience.
  3. Don’t just write about how much you have loved art since you were a kid.
  4. Don’t use language that is so opaque and convoluted and jargon-filled that only 1% of your audience can understand it.
  5. Don’t use words or phrases that weaken your reader’s confidence in you. Avoid phrases like “I hope….”, “I try to….”,  “I intended to ….”, etc.
  6. Don’t allow technical errors! Bad grammar, spelling or sentence structure can kill your credibility.