When I first began thinking about submitting artwork to galleries I began to read as many books on the subject and to speak to professional artists and gallery directors to find out what they needed to see. It was the time before computers and the internet were accessible to everyone and so I was developing slides of my work and preparing packages for submission. It's much easier now, when it all can be added to my website. With the packages, I had to include a stamped envelope if I wanted the package returned to me, which I did as the slides were not inexpensive and at times the paintings sold between the time the package was sent and returned. I learned that a Curriculum Vitae or CV was basically my resume which included any professional experience, education, affiliations and a chronological list of exhibits. The Biography was basically a short story of my life and how I came to be an artist. And the Artist's Statement was the story of the impetus to the current body of work. Plus it allows the galleries to share the story and is a nice way to connect the work further with the patrons. It surprises me how often people, whether they are familiar with original art or not, connect with the work in spite of the words but once I share the story, there is often an 'aha' moment for them. They have felt it.
I'm often asked how to write an artist's statement and though there are many different suggestions online and in art books the way I choose to write mine is very simple. After I've completed a number of pieces in a new body of work (ten or more) then, as I work I take notes. I pay attention to my colour choices, the images or symbols I'm drawn to, the marks I make and tools I use, thoughts I have...really I write from the heart. I know there are many statements that are very professorial, like a Masters Thesis, but I prefer to write in layman's terms, using language I'm comfortable with, including my memories and experiences. I want to share why I'm doing the work I do and what the impetus for it is as many of my collectors like to hear the stories behind it. I feel the same whenever I collect another artist's work, it makes it even more special for me. More personal. You can read my current statement here.
P.S. The Mayor's Night of the Arts Awards is this weekend and I'm really nervous, wish me luck?