One idea that I really love is to have what Barbara Sher – author of Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want – calls an “Idea Party.” For the artists statement what this amounts to is asking a group of trusted friends to come over and talk about your art. What you will do is put out some wine and some snacks, your art and having them talk about the art.
It’s interesting to see what other people say. They may bring up ideas you never even thought about and you may even get a new direction for your work while you’re at it. You’ll want to record it somehow because you want to be fully engaged in the conversation (and not be stuck writing things down). Inform everyone, of course, that you will be recording this before they come and it will be absolutely confidential.
You should start by asking a question. Ask them what they think about a painting, the color in the painting, the shape, the size, etc. Encourage them to ask you questions and be sure to note what they’re asking. (The most effective artist statement answers the questions your viewers have).
A few days later, get into that quiet place with a pen and unlimited amounts of paper and turn on the recording. Sit there and listen and take it all in. Absorb without writing. After you’ve listened to it once, listen again and this time write, write, write away. Write down the questions that your friends are asking about the art, write down your own ideas as they randomly come to you. Be open, be free and enjoy! I hope by this point you’re beginning to enjoy writing and finding it as creative and inspiring as I do. Remember, most of all don’t edit, yet. I’ll give you tips about that later. Keep following these steps and you’ll be successful because I’m not just training you to write your artists statement, I’m training you to write in general. To be successful you will have to write, fill out applications and apply for things. Writing is key to success but it shouldn’t be a burden. Enjoy it!
Wishcraft: How to Get What you Really Want, Barbara Sher with Annie Gottlieb, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 2004. http://www.barbarasher.com/index.htm