You have created a series of photographs and are ready
to present them on a gallery wall.
Your images should relate to each other thematically, tonally and stylistically.
There should be a unity of design to the grouping of images. They should
work together visually as a group from a distance before the viewer
sees the details up close.
You should pay attention
to the relationship between your images and the order they are in. Horizontal
and vertical images can be mixed but take into account the visual impact
they have. A single vertical image sticking up above a row of horizontal
images will attract a lot of attention, make sure it is justified.
Titles simply are a way to identify one work from another. This could
be just a number or letter, but that loses the opportunity to entice
the viewers and draw them to the work for closer examination.Your work
should "stand on its own" and provide a strong/meaningful
viewing experience for the viewer. A good title should go beyond a simple
identifier or description and entice the viewer to explore your images
for meaning or relevance. You can title the grouping of images or give
titles to every image or do both.
A title that is
clever, plays on words or has a poetic leaning is more effective than
one that tells the viewer what they already have figured out by looking
at the image. You want your viewers to explore and read your photographs.
A simple photograph
of an apple will provoke more thought when titled "Eve's Revenge"
than when the title is "Red Apple".
The artist's statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to
the audience and offer insight into your motivations and techniques
behind your work. You use the statement to define what you would like
the observer to get out of your work and create a connection between
creator and viewer.
Your statement can
contain information about you, the artist. You can share biographical
information and information about your background and interests as it
pertains to your work. You basically introduce yourself to the viewer
in the first paragraph.
You can then explain
your interests and motivations as it relates to your images. Why are
you moved to make these images. How you relate to these images. How
you feel these images fit in the spectrum of photographic art, who do
you relate to, what are your influences.
You can finish by
expanding on what the viewer is looking at in your work. What do you
want them to "get" from your photographs. What clues can you
offer to help them understand your message.
The statement should
be concise and doesn't have to "give it all away". A little
mystery is ok. Let your viewers make up their own minds but give them
enough to leave them wanting to see more.
The art should speak
for itself, it should be strong enough to work purely on a visual level.
Your task is to make it even richer with strong/ poetic titles and an
informative and intriguing statement.
Do's and Don'ts
By Alyson Stanfield
An artist statement
is a necessary component of any professional artists' portfolio or promotional
your artist statement, DO:
* Write in the first
person. It is a statement, after all.
* Be brief, 2-3
paragraphs at most. Always err on the side of brevity. You can write
more, but why would you want to? People have short attention spans these
days. Load as much punch into the delivery as you can. Combine sentences
and delete ones that aren't vital. As Henri Matisse said in his treatise
on painting, "All that is not useful to the picture is detrimental."
The same could be said of your statement.
* Describe the current
direction of your work and your approach, particularly what is unique
about your methods and materials.
* Sit on it for
a few days and come back to it with a fresh mindset. Most artists, in
my opinion, hate their statements because they rushed them in preparation
for an exhibit and didn't care to spend any more time on them. How do
you expect it to be any good if you don't work at it?
* Consider more
than one statement if you are trying to discuss more than one body of
work. If you try to get too much into a single statement, you run the
risk of saying nothing and trying to be everything to all people. This
is bad marketing/bad promotions.
* Allow your artist
statement to grow, change, and mature along with your work. Don't let
it sit on a shelf and collect dust. It should be organic and you shouldn't
be afraid to change it and make it better.
* Make sure your
statement passes the litmus test. Above all, viewers should be compelled
to put the statement away and look back at the work. Your statement
isn't successful if people read the words on the page, and then put
them down and go on to the next artist.
writing your artist statement, DO NOT:
* Use too many personal
pronouns. Yes, I said to write in first person, but try to severely
limit the number of "I"s, "me"s and "my"s
that are used. You'll be amazed at how many other ways there are to
phrase things. You want people to relate to your words and to your art.
Too many personal pronouns will put up an unnecessary a barrier.
* Tell your life
story. You can keep that for your bio (as long as it's interesting).
Your artist statement is only about the current direction of your work.
* Quote or refer
to anyone else by name. Keep the focus on you and your art. Mentioning
another name shifts the readers' attention from your art to the other
* Forget to use
spell check and ask someone else to read it over for you.
View the time to
write your artist statement as an opportunity to clarify your thoughts.
A well-written statement, approached deliberately and thoughtfully,
can be a boon to your self-promotion efforts. You'll use the language
on your Web site and in grant applications, press releases, brochures,
and much more.
is an art-marketing consultant, artist advocate, and author of I'd Rather
Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion.