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Research & Writing: Studio Practice Writing

Help with writing and conducting research, including resources for starting your research

Why Write?

Some types of writing that may be expected of artists include:

  • Artist statement(s)
  • Artist biography
  • Grant proposals
  • Residency applications
  • Exhibition texts

Writing well is crucial - you need to be able to communicate clearly with your audience. Skillful writing also gives you a better chance of securing grants and/or artist residencies.

Writing a Critique

In general, you should use the following structure when writing a critique of an artwork:

  • Describe what you see
    • Do not apply value judgments at this stage
  • Analyze the work
    • Look at the composition and formal elements
  • Interpret the work
    • Think about what the artist is trying to convey
  • Evaluate the work
    • Establish clear criteria to reach a judgment of it
    • Make sure you have evidence to back up your judgment

More detailed elements for each step, as outlined by Terry Barett in Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary, can be found HERE.

Writing an Artist Statement

In general, artist statements are written in the first person. Think about why you are writing an artist statement - who is your audience? How long should it be/how detailed? Is this about a specific work/series of works or is it about your practice more generally?

The following are questions to help you get started (keep in mind that this is a statement about your art, rather than a biography of you):

  • Who are you?
  • What in your background is relevant to your work?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What are your motivations for producing artwork?
  • What materials do you use?
  • Why do you use those materials?
  • How do you make your work?
  • What is the framework for your work (historical, theoretical, etc.)?

The handouts below provide information on how to write artist statements; to see examples of artist statements, search "artist statement" in EBSCO.

College for Creative Studies website