Crafting the Artist Statement

Posted on: June 23, 2015 by: DedePerkins

Artist Statement

 

“You cannot suit everybody, so you had better suit yourself.” – William Morris Hunt

“All that is not useful to the picture is detrimental.” – Henri Matisse

 

 

 

A few years ago, I was asked to help a group of young artists write statements about their work. The information was well received so I thought I’d share it online. Here’s the shortened version of the seminar, “Crafting the Artist Statement.”

 

What is an Artist Statement?

So you’ve created a portfolio and want to share it with the world. The next step is to write a statement that will introduce your work to the public. But what, you ask, should you write? What goes in an artist statement? How long should it be? Should you address one particular piece in the portfolio or the work as a whole?

The answer is, “It depends.”

Artist statements are used for a number of purposes, but whether you are presenting one work or an entire portfolio, your statement needs to answer the questions:

  • Who is this artist?
  • Why did he/she choose to create this piece of art or portfolio?

Before you can write an artist statement, you have to think about these questions. You need to brainstorm and gather your words and ideas in order to create the raw material you will then use to craft your statement.

The process of creating an artist statement, if done right, will push you out of your comfort zone and ideally, will help you grow as an artist. The process is invaluable, but so is the end product. A thoughtful and well-written artist statement will be your introduction to all sorts of people who may become stakeholders in your career. You may choose to send your artist statement to gallery owners, admission counselors, museum directors – heck, even the local coffee shop owner. Finally, your artist statement can act as your script when you meet face-to-face with these people, and they say, “Tell me about yourself, and tell me about your art.”

 

Wikipedia’s Definition of an Artist Statement

  • An artist’s statement (or artist statement) is a brief statement of an artist’s intention through their work.
  • A short statement of one page or less, written by the artist, that provides background information and influences on the artist’s body of work, overall artistic philosophy, and a brief history of the artist’s development.

 

Questions to Consider Before Writing an Artist Statement 

Remember I said you’d have to think about your art before you can write about it? Here are questions to get you started:

  • What is your favorite medium and why?
  • What themes and subjects show up in your art?
  • What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?
  • What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? Is there a pattern in the way you use color, texture or light?
  • Where do you find inspiration for your work?
  • How do you hope people will respond to your work?
  • What would you like your audience to understand after viewing or experiencing your art?

The answers to these questions will be the raw material from which you’ll craft your artist statement.

 

Rough Draft 

After thinking about and jotting down the answers to the above questions, you should have enough rough material to organize your rough draft. If you’re not happy with what you’ve come up with so far, dig deeper and consider your developing statement. You know you’re done with the brainstorming phase once you have enough material to honestly and clearly present both yourself and your art.

The next step is to highlight the most important information—the information that resonates with you—and start your rough draft. Cut and paste your favorite ideas into a new document. Organize your thoughts, add words, smooth transitions, and arrange and rearrange your thoughts until you have shaped your statement into two to three fairly strong paragraphs. This will be the base of your statement, but at this point it’s best to set it aside for a while.

 

Revising the Rough Draft

Depending on how much time you have, revisit and rework your statement in an hour or a day or a week. By setting it aside each time you work on it, you’ll see your words with fresh eyes. You’ll notice what works and what needs to be refined. Don’t be surprised if you have to revisit and revise your statement many times. In fact, I encourage you to do just that. Give your artist statement the time and attention it deserves.

How do you know when your artist statement is ready to share? When you read it (after setting it aside) and you make no changes. When that happens, it’s time to share your statement with someone you trust.

 

Feedback 

Asking for honest feedback from someone you trust, someone who understands you and your art, is an important step in the process. Trusted family members, friends and associates will let you know if your statement honestly and effectively represents you and your work. Balance others’ feedback with your own instincts. If your reader says something that resonates, revise your statement (even if you don’t want to). The revision process is what will make your statement the best that it can be.

 

Finished Artist Statement – Send It Out! 

When your artist statement is finished, it’s time to share your work with the world! I wish you generous patrons, appreciative audiences, and years of engaging, productive work.

 

Free downloadable PDF:

Tips to Help You Craft Your Artist Statement

 

 

Short, Direct Web Copy is Best

Posted on: April 22, 2015 by: DedePerkins

 keep calm

 

Just like all of us, your web readers scan for information. Rather than taking the time to absorb, as they would with print, website visitors skim text looking for answers to specific questions, thoughts, and concerns. While searching for this information, the typical visitor reads only 28% of the words on a web page.

28% isn’t much, but on the bright side, you don’t need much copy to get your message across. The trick is distilling your information into powerful, precise copy. Here’s how to deliver.

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How to Use Mini Case Studies to Market Products and Services

Posted on: November 6, 2014 by: DedePerkins

Case Study 1

You do a terrific job of driving prospects to your website, but your inbox is frustratingly empty and your phone is quiet. Something is wrong, but you’re not sure what it is. In order to figure out the problem, you read through your website and nod: Yup, there’s the list of our products and services. Our site loads quickly and is easy to read. Our contact information is correct, and our links are in working order. As far as you can tell, your copy isn’t the problem. But wait; look again. Does your website speak to your prospects? Do you show that you understand their problem and have already helped many others who were once in their position? If not, consider adding mini case studies to your pages.

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All About Brand

Posted on: October 17, 2014 by: DedePerkins

images      The best brands have a memorable name and tagline, a compelling logo, and snappy, likeable copy. We all know this, right? But do you know that brand is much more than just image and tagline? The brand, whether it is tended to or not, is the way people feel about a particular business, product, or service. The best brands evoke a positive response. The question is, does yours?

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12 Tips to Writing an Attention-Grabbing Press Release

Posted on: September 17, 2014 by: DedePerkins

How to Get Attention Newspaper Headline Exposure1. The “So, what?” Test

The first tip is the most obvious – make sure your press release is interesting, has value, and is not just a glorified advertisement for your business. Sounds simple, yet many, many press releases don’t pass this test.

 

2. Timely, Newsworthy Content

Is your press release timely and newsworthy? If it is, you increase the chance that news outlets will help distribute your message, or even better, assign reporters to write a story about you, your organization or event.

 

3. Catchy Title

Media outlets are flooded with press releases. If you want to stand out, make sure you have an interesting title. Brainstorm ideas that hook your reader – give them information that will make their life better in some way – and lead with it.

 

4. Lead With The Facts

The opening paragraph should state the facts: who, what, where, when, and why.

 

5. Supporting Your Lead – Interesting Details, Facts & Figures

Second and third paragraphs round out the information. This is where you give perspective – a (very) short history or story – that hopefully draws the reader into your message.

 

6. Include a Quote or Two

Quotes personalize your press release and let readers “hear” from people who are involved with or benefit from whatever it is you’re writing about.

 

7. Contact Information

In the top left corner of your press release include the following information:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Your Name & Title

Your Phone #

Your Email Address

 

8. Additional Information

Close with a link, email address or phone number so interested parties can get additional information.

 

9. One Page, Two at the Most

Ideally, your press release will be 3-5 paragraphs and will fit on one page, two pages at the most. Be concise!

 

10. Perfect Grammar

Proof your release before sending it out. Use a spelling and grammar checker if you have one. Ask a co-worker, friend or family member to read your release before distribution. You may not notice or care about proper grammar, but trust me, many, many people do.

 

11. Conversational and Informative Tone

This one’s pretty obvious, but it’s very important. Don’t try to impress people with industry lingo or tech-speak. Write as if you’re speaking to a colleague. Be professional but conversational so that your readers will connect with you and your message.

 

12. Appropriate Distribution

After you write your press release, distribute it to the right channels. Take time to figure out the local, regional, and national media outlets that share your market, cover your product, field, or industry. Don’t forget to distribute online by posting on your own website or blog and social media profiles, if appropriate.

 

Dede Perkins has over 25 years of writing, branding and marketing experience with businesses and non-profit organizations.

Tips to Writing Effective Website Copy

Posted on: September 9, 2014 by: DedePerkins

 

under_construction1

 

 

You’ve figured out what to write on each website page. Here’s how to write it.

The tone of your copy – how it makes visitors feel – matters almost as much as the content. Your website copy should be true to your brand message so consider rereading your company’s mission statement before your start writing.

For most small to mid-sized business, a friendly yet authoritative tone works well.

You’re the expert, but you’re also a nice person who cares about your customers.  If you have a brand “voice,” definitely use it, but don’t overdo it. Most businesses use a conversational tone in marketing copy. You want the visitor to “hear” you talking to them rather than be conscious of reading website copy.

The following techniques will help you write copy that engages website visitors and hopefully, turns them into loyal customers.

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How to Write a Bio for a Social Media Profile

Posted on: August 5, 2014 by: DedePerkins

Like

 

You’ve signed up for LinkedIn, Facebook, or any one of the many online social networking sites, but have no idea what to write in your bio.  How do you get started?

The first question you have to answer is, “What do I hope to accomplish with this social media site?”

If your answer is to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances on Facebook, a more casual profile works best. Just follow Facebook’s profile link and answer the questions. Note that you don’t have to answer all the questions, just the ones you want to. You can upload photos, include personal interests, links, whatever you like. If you’re feeling chatty, update your status by talking about your weekend plans or your dog’s newest trick. Share your mood, complain about an injustice, celebrate a victory.

If your answer is to establish a professional network on LinkedIn, a profile that calls attention to your present position, your past and present accomplishments, recommendations, and professional affiliations works best. Don’t forget to include volunteer positions if they strengthen your profile. Search groups in your industry, alma mater, or local community and join them. Invest in a current, professional photograph and upload it to your page. A photo from your college days – unless you’ve just graduated – is not appropriate.

When you post on Linked In, keep it professional. While it’s very appropriate to post about your seminar speaking engagement in the upcoming week, it’s not okay to complain about the lousy lunch at the local restaurant.

If you’re not sure where to start, I’d advise taking your time. Log onto the site and check out profiles of people you admire. Note the elements you like and those you don’t. When you’re ready to get to work, incorporate your favorite elements from your favorite profile. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or email.

Good luck and please connect. Here are my profiles:

www.facebook.com/AFewGoodWordsOutsourcedBusinessCommunications

www.linkedin.com/in/dedeperkins/

www.twitter.com/afewgoodwords

 

 

Five Quick Cures for Writer’s Block

Posted on: July 28, 2014 by: DedePerkins

Blue pencil knot

It’s time to write a new blog post, content for your website, or copy for your latest ad, but instead of writing, you’re staring at your screen or notebook page with a blank mind and a clenched jaw. You’ve got nothing. Not a single word comes to mind except the thought that you really, really don’t want to be doing this. What to do? Take a deep breath and try one of the following tried and true cures for writer’s block.

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How to Write Website Copy – 10 Tips

Posted on: July 1, 2014 by: DedePerkins

 

 

Email on computer

 

 

The first questions

The first questions you need to answer before writing your website copy are: “Who will visit my site and why?” Figure this out, and you’ll be on the right track to writing actionable website copy that will hook your visitors and hopefully, convert them into customers.

I often tell clients who have difficulty answering these questions to imagine that their website is a bricks and mortar business. Customers who walk in the door do so for a reason. Some want to get a feel for the place. Others want to talk with an expert, find the answer to a question, or get product information. A few have money in their wallets and are ready to buy.

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Top 10 Tips for Blog Success

Posted on: May 8, 2014 by: DedePerkins

Blog-image

 

1. Connect your blog to your website

A big benefit of regular blogging is how much it helps with SEO. Since each post has its own individually indexed page, each post increases your website’s indexed footprint making it easier for customers and prospects to find you when they search online.

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