Advice on writing a statement
- Whenever you apply for anything related to your art practice you will almost certainly be asked to include a statement about your work.
- A statement is usually seen alongside images of your work and gives those reading it an insight in to the processes and ideas behind the work.
- There isn’t one way of writing a statement and you will need to test out a range of approaches to decide what is the most appropriate way of writing about your work. Different kinds of applications may require you to re-think your approach and meanwhile your statement will need to be regularly updated and reworked as your work develops and changes.
- We recommend that you keep a copy of your statement in the studio to discuss with your tutors and fellow students and that you take opportunities to ‘test it out’ when you see visiting artists who aren’t familiar with your work.
Some tips on writing about your work:
- To begin with break down what you want to say in to sections
- Ask yourself questions about your work and make notes of your answers
- Use a word processor, this will enable you to move paragraphs and sentences around, it is also much easier to see where you have repeated yourself
- Use spell check, misspelling isn’t just an annoyance it can actually undermine and change the meaning of the text
- It may be useful to write about your work from the position of the viewer rather than that of the maker, i.e. try out employing the ‘3rd person’
- Using a relevant quote can be a useful way of positioning your work. If you do use a quote remember to acknowledge it
- Avoid making big claims for your work, i.e.’ my work sends the viewer in to another mental space by bombarding them with colour’.. it would be more appropriate to use words like- attempts, seeks, sets out to etc
- Avoid using any language that you are unfamiliar with and that you don’t really understand
- Try not to repeat words and phrases- don’t start too many sentences with phrases like ‘I do this’ and ‘I think that’
- Try not to be vague or use elaborate or complicated ways of saying things
- Avoid spending too long discussing the background or describing the work- remember your reader may not have very long to read your statement
- Check your facts and use a dictionary, if you are referring to an artist make sure that you have spelt their name correctly!
- Always ask someone else to proof read your statement
Remember that a good statement should offer the reader/viewer some contextual insight in to the work it shouldn’t attempt to explain the work or impose a single view of how to look at the work but rather represent your approach and concerns.
‘Framing’ your work in this way is a time consuming process but should also help you to clarify your intentions and motivations and feed in to your studio practice.