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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Artist statement - vocabulary tips


Think about the vocabulary you use when writing your artist statement.

Here are some vocabulary tips to help you through your writing process and two short quizzes at the end to test your knowledge:


DO use 'active' verbs to make your text more concise and engaging. Active or Action verbs are more persuasive and easier for your reader to understand.

For example: a sentence with the verb 'to do' in the active voice would be, 'I will do my shopping on Wednesday.' Instead of a passive voice, 'On Wednesday, the shopping will be done by me.'
(See this Learning Lab page for more information on using verbs for concise and engaging writing: Use verbs instead of abstract nouns)


DO use the present tense – your statement is about what you’re creating now, not your past. (See this Learning Lab page for more information: Use clear and concise language)


DO use the first person if you want to – you don’t have to write in the third person. It’s OK to say “I” and “me” in your statement – it can be a more direct way of talking to your audience.


DO use language that your audience can understand.


DON’T write long and complex sentences or paragraphs – break it up into smaller parts. (See this Learning Lab page for more information: Short and simple sentences)


DON’T use “art speak” - try to avoid using pretentious or obscure language when discussing your work.


DON’T brag or make false claims about your work – be honest.


DON’T use hyperbole (overstatement) – “a ground-breaking technique” and avoid clich├ęs (overused phrases) – “my work challenges the viewer…”


Vocabulary quizzes - select the missing words in these real artist statements

Artist statement - quiz 1

Carly Fischer
Exhibition: From Little Things Big Things Grow

Start the quiz

Transcript (RTF)    

Artist statement - quiz 2

Peter Westwood
General art practice statement

Start the quiz

Transcript (RTF)