I got a question recently on how I’ve become comfortable opening myself up in artist statements.
And well, because I don’t fully open myself up. I open myself up just enough. In an artist statement for a series based on stress, I write exactly that, and maybe what caused the stress. What I don’t write, is every experience, feeling, tiny moment, that built and built, that were maybe still building when those images were being made or shared.
I share all of me in my images, and enough of me in the words that go with them.
So to answer that question, probably better than I did in person-
Be absolutely, completely honest with yourself. Keep track of every reason you started on this current artistic project and every piece of you you poured into it. Then, reel that back. Write only the pieces the viewer needs, don’t reveal more of you than you can right now, in what you write. Your visual pieces are where your full story is told, your artist statement instead is only for those who seek to know the overarching story from your words, rather than only what story their lived experience weaves when viewing the work.
From experience, the viewers who seek out the artist statement, are not your standard people, the 90% of those who appreciate your work. Instead, they’re those who wish to do business with you, include you in research, seek to learn about you to further their own artistic endeavors. So, with that in mind, write for that 10%, professional, direct, honest. But only as honest as you feel you need to be for the understanding you wish that 10% to have. That other 90% will never read your artist statement anyway.