‘Let the work speak for itself’ is something I often hear from artists. While I wholeheartedly agree, there are also things which need to be considered when you are running a business. Make no mistake, even though you are an artist, and even though your work will speak for itself, to be successful in your career you must think like a business person as well as a creative. Businesses need collateral.
What I mean by collateral are those things which are useful in promoting your career, your art, and you business. Just like your paints, camera equipment, or sculpting materials are part of your working materials, business cards, postcards, artist statements, business plans, and websites are part of your business toolbox.
People who are interested in your work are also interested in you. They want to know your story. An artist statement can give them that.
The artist statement not only provides a potential client with a bit of background on you but there are a few other beneficial reasons for having one. For instance, merely writing an statement will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your artistic path. Having an artist statement can also be used on your website, for a gallery show, as part of your portfolio, in a package of your promotional materials, and as leave-behinds.
Now before you start freaking out about how you are going to have a write a master’s thesis, your artist statement needn’t be more than a page and it doesn’t have to be formally written. In fact, if you write your statement in your own voice, all the better. Let your personality and creativity shine here too.