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Statement Writing

This guide includes examples, activities and suggestions to help you write your own artist, personal or practice statement.

Why write a Statement?

  • You are required to for an exhibition of your work.
  • Your work is being included in a book or exhibition catalogue.
  • You want to apply for an artist in residency or grant.
  • You want to submit a proposal.

A good personal or artist statement will enhance your professional practice.

A statement should be -

  • Concise: check if there is a limited word count.
  • Effective: communicate only the details you want to emphasise.
  • Written in first person (using I, me, my) or in the third person (the artist's name, he or she, his or her etc.)
  • Written primarily in the present tense.
  • You may choose to use a personal or poetic approach.

Check the guidelines for submission, or ask, as requirements can vary.

Because your statement is a short piece of writing, you need to be selective about what you include. Consider who your audience is going to be and what is most important for them to understand about your work. This may (but does not need to) include the following:

  • Motivation
  • Techniques and materials
  • Your background 
  • Influences, context and major achievements.

A Film-maker
This filmmaker’s artist statement focuses on his main themes, the subjects of his films and his aims in making these films.

Film makers statement

Morin, R. (2019) [Photographs; film-maker, film still] At: (Accessed July 2019)

A Textile Artist-designer
This statement demonstrates how a textile artist pushes traditional boundaries with her cross-disciplinary work.

Textile artist-designer statement

Clements, D. (2018) [Photograph; artist working in studio] In: Treggiden, K. Weaving: contemporary makers on the loom. Antwerp, Belgium: Ludion

A Fine Artist
Exploring museums and curation as theme, this statement also includes information about the process used by this artist.

Evans, K. (2019) [Photograph; artist Mark Dion working on the beach] In: Mark Dion / Trash on the Beach. At:

A Three-dimensional Designer
This statement communicates the materials, techniques and processes used by this designer which have been heavily influenced by his cultural heritage.

Cobonpue, K. (2007) [Sofa] In: Fiell C. & P. Design Now! London: Taschen

A Fine Artist
This statement contextualises the artist’s work both conceptually and in relation to his academic training and professional development.

Blackmore, D. (2019) [Photograph; artist David Blackmore producing European Pa55port work] At: (Accessed 22.07.19)

Motivation is the reason you want to make your work, your inspiration or ambition.  This may include information about:

  • Issues you are exploring and why?
  • Concepts, themes or convictions that underpin your work
  • Life experiences that have influenced the direction of your work
  • How your personality influences your work
  • How your ideas have developed.
Take five minutes and think about why you do the creative work you do.  Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How did you start doing this work? 
  • How do you feel when work is going well? 
  • What are your favourite things about your work? 
  • Make notes of key words and short phrases that capture your thoughts.

Techniques and Materials
Including information about the techniques and materials you use will inform the audience about your working methods and why you choose to practice in this way.  Consider the following:

  • How and why did you choose them?
  • What scale do you work in?
  • Do you have a particular process of working?
  • Do you intend to explore other techniques or materials?
It is possible that not all of these questions will apply to your work but perhaps some of them will inspire:

  • What is your favourite medium or material? Why?
  • What do you like best about what you do?
  • What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well?
  • What patterns or visual motifs emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use colour, texture or light?
  • What themes or ideas reoccur in your work? Why do you think that is?
  • What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?
  • What is your favourite colour? List three qualities of the colour and consider how these qualities apply to your work.

Your Background
Consider including information about:

  • Whether you are a student or a practicing artist
  • If appropriate details of your educational history
  • If you have contributed to any prestigious shows or events.

Using Vivid Language

Make a list of words and phrases that communicate your feelings about your work and values.  Include:

  • Words you like
  • Words that make you feel good
  • Words that communicate your values or fascinations. 
  • Look at your word list - add new words suggested beside your answers to the questions above.

Contextualising Your Work
It is important to consider when writing an artist statement:

  • Where you feel your work fits into the Contemporary Art & Design world?
  • Does your work challenge the work of others?
  • Have you appropriated or referred to the work of others?
  • Your goals and aspirations and to what extent you have realised them
  • Personal reflections on your work.

Fine Tuning Key Words

Choose two key words from your previous word list - they can be related or entirely different:

  • Look them up in a dictionary - read all the definitions listed for your words
  • Copy the definitions, thinking about what notions they have in common
  • Look your words up in a Thesaurus - read the entries related to your words
  • Are there any new words that should be added to your word list?
  • Reflect on these key words and phrases – select the most appropriate to your work to use within your artist statement.


  • Format, content and style can vary considerably, depending on your audience, your purpose and motivation for writing it.
  • It is common for artists to have more than one version of their statement, which is adaptable for different applications.
  • As can be seen from the varied examples included different elements can be combined or emitted depending on the artist or designer’s priorities.