by Beverly Booker
This article first appeared in NANthology, the NAN newsletter, in fall 1999.
An artist’s statement is usually simple and direct. The artist is sharing her inner thoughts, voice and goals with the judges and viewing public. Not so simple in reality because we, as individual artists, work alone in our world of creativity, visual images, responses to environmental, family, newsworthy and seasonal changes, time constraints, etc. The list could go on and on.
However, it is necessary to express personal interpretations about your adventures or experiments with new ideas, shapes, visions, materials and their possibilities. Tell the public what this current work reflects, your goals and how you achieved those goals. Invite the viewer to feel the energy, share the courage and explore the vision with you.
You may be particularly interested in the artist-artwork-viewer relationship which makes writing the artist’s statement easy. Or you may be more hesitant about writing because you would be sharing a spiritual or emotional experience, a private vision or goal. In the end, be proud and let your work stand on it’s own. Cherish your own vision but also accept whatever it is that the viewer sees.
The Exemplary asks artists to include a statement with each entry. Judges read each statement as they work through the exhibit giving the judges insight into the thought process and work of the artist. It doesn’t mean the entry will automatically receive an extra point here or there, but it may just be a deciding factor in helping the judges understand what is being portrayed by the artist and how well the artist executed that goal.