Does Anyone Care About Artist Statements?

It’s the last day of March and I’m going to do something I rarely do; rant.
My rant is about artist’s statements. Who reads these things? I ask because whenever I come across advise for artists on how to gain more exposure and look more professional, it’s always suggested to write a wonderful, indepth artist statement on your background, explaining why you create, what inspires you, what are you trying to express and how you do your work. This sounds great and all, but who are the people who want to know this stuff because I’ve never met them.

I’ve been selling my art seriously now since the summer of 2015 and honestly, not one person has ever asked me “So, what inspires you?” No one has ever directly asked me, messaged me, DM’d me or tweeted me “What are you trying to convey with you work?” Matter of fact when it comes to the artists whose work I absolutely love, I don’t even think about these things, their work just captures my attention and if I want to see more I try to find out whether they have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instragram account or a mailing list. And that’s it. I’m not wondering, “Hmmm, I wonder why this artist creates?”

When people do ask me questions they’re rather practical questions like, how much does this cost, do you do commissions, can you draw my dog, do you do tattoos or can you make a t-shirt? I even have analytics that track engagement on my website and about twice a year somebody clicks on my About page and surprisingly that’s more than my FAQ page. People generally just look at my work, buy something, sign up for my newsletter or leave.

So this leaves me to wonder, who are these people who read artist statements? Artists are always encouraged to create a statement but who reads these things and who actually cares? Are artist statements still important in this digital age where people can just follow your work online or subscribe to your mailing list? Maybe because I’m an independent artist who deals directly with the people who buy my work that this doesn’t seem to play a big role or appears all that important. Maybe if I was pitching my work to galleries it would be useful. I really don’t know. Maybe somebody has some insight to this, which I would welcome any enlightenment on, but for now, I have this seemly arbitrary About page on my website that tries to answer all these questions that no one ever asks.

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Published by

Q.

Pen and ink artist inspired by Nature, Beauty, Spirit and Song.

9 thoughts on “Does Anyone Care About Artist Statements?”

  1. Agree with you completely.

    I am just starting to get to grips with the marketing and social media thing. It all eats time I’d rather spend creating (and with a full time job that creative time is limited anyway of course).

    For me, the hard part of writing an artist statement is that even I do not know what draws me to a particular subject. If I try to write it down it just sounds like pseudo-arty BS and even I don’t find it convincing. As you say – if I were doing something abstract then maybe it would make sense, but as a botanical artist – no.

    My own artist statement would be “I like flowers so I draw them”!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pseudo-artsy BS. – Yes, that’s exactly what I feel I’m writing when it comes to artist statements. I’m so tempted to redo my About page and just say “I like animals so I draw them.” 😋

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    1. I wonder if artist statements are needed more so when it’s not obvious what an artist’s body of work is about, like in the case of abstract art. I can understand the purpose of a statement there but lets say an artist just does seascapes or botanical work, would it really be necessary? Just wondering. 💁

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Must be the same folks saying writers cant just write,they must have a “platform”-an assortment of social media begging agents,publishers,&reades to notice your work. Makes me skittish. As if an artist or writer dont have enough to do. Now theyhave to dothe work of the advertisers. Sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, now a days you have to wear more than one hat in addition to being an artist. You have to also be a “content creator”, “email marketer”, “social media manager”, “web designer” and so on. It’s good if you already know how to do those things but it can be frustrating when you don’t, yet you have to learn. Sometimes you spend more time trying to learn these tools than focusing on your craft.

      Liked by 3 people

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