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Artist statement - writing tutorial


Write your artist statement in your own words and elaborate on ideas from the previous activities.

The language style of your statement should support your creative practice and the purpose of your statement. Avoid using theory or use jargon which might alienate your audience.

You can write about your personal experiences if they relate to your creative work. You can tell a story or be playful, use humour or emotion if it relates to your personal style and your creative work. However, an artist statement for your social media platforms may need a different tone to one you write for a grant proposal.

Writing a very short artist statement (50-100 words) can be the most challenging task because you must communicate your creative work to your audience in an engaging way, with the least words possible.

See Artist statement - examples in the previous section, which include some very short artist statements.

View this tutorial on writing an artist statement and an artist biography.


Learning activity


Writing an artist statement - tutorial

This tutorial outlines an approach to writing an artist statement. It is based on textile design but can be easily adapted to suit other mediums. It describes the steps to identifying the key components of the statement and then shows how to write it. Specifically, it introduces the concepts of brainstorming, organising and ordering your ideas, and then the writing process. There are models and additional resources to help you draft your statement, and there is a short tutorial outlining the essentials of the artist biography.

Time: (15 minutes)

Start the artist statement tutorial


Writing an artist statement - video (accessible version)

This video contains the same content as the interactive tutorial above. This is an accessible version with a descriptive transcript and captions.

Descriptive Video Transcript

RMIT Library

Writing a artist statement and biography

Artist statement 1

[Slide 1: Introduction] 1

Mind mapping 2

[Slide 2: Overview] 2

[Slide 3: Brainstorm] 2

[Slide 4: Organise] 3

[Slide 5: Order] 3

The writing process 3

[Slide 6: Overview] 3

[Slide 7: Part 1 - Identify] 4

[Slide 8: Part 2 - Identify] 4

[Slide 9: Begin writing] 4

[Slide 10: Develop your ideas] 5

[Slide 11: Begin writing] 5

[Slide 12: Begin writing] 5

Artist biography 6

[Slide 14: Introduction] 6

[Slide 15: What is it for?] 6

[Slide 16: What is in it?] 6

[Slide 17: Example: Artist biography?] 7

Artist statement

[Slide 1: Introduction]


Introduction: Artist statement


Professional document

reflecting on these questions: • What is your approach to design?

• What values or beliefs underpin your work?

• How do you work?

• Where do you see yourself in the future?

• Who inspired you?

Narration: The skills you learn in this tutorial will help you in your professional life. Where you might use these statements as a whole, or you may take parts of it to use separately.

An artist statement is a important professional document that reflects on these following five questions: What is your approach to design?

What values or beliefs underpin your work?

How do you work?

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Who inspired you?

Mind mapping

[Slide 2: Overview]

Description: A three-step process is mapped out in three blocks; in-between them are arrows pointing in the right direction. Demonstrating a step-by-step approach when developing a mind-map.


Ideas and words around the reflective questions and free write


Your brainstorm into order under each question to identify topics


The topics and then individual points in your mind map

Narration: To develop your artist statement the following steps to a mind map are useful and will help you find suitable words and ideas. The first step is to brainstorm to generate ideas. Next you need to organise the ideas into categories and finally develop your ideas into a map or plan.

[Slide 3: Brainstorm]

Description : Mind map example. Start with the topic at the centre: ‘Me as a textile designer’ and brainstorm as many words around it.

Narration: At this stage all ideas are acceptable and the aim is to get as many ideas as possible ideas that could go towards writing about yourself as a textile designer.

[Slide 4: Organise]

Description: Building on top of the previous example. Begin to make connections between certain words by using different colours.

Narration: Step two involves finding connections between the ideas in relation to the five reflective questions. Colour is a useful way to distinguish connections around the different questions.

[Slide 5: Order]

Description: A new mind-map is created: Start with the topic at the centre: ‘Me as a textile designer’ but this time write down the five reflective questions, and correctly list the connections you’ve identified from the previous mind-map.

Narration: The final stage is to order the ideas into groups around the questions and create a spidergram or something similiar to complete your mind map you will use this as a plan for your writing.

The writing process

[Slide 6: Overview]

Description: A three-step process is mapped out in three blocks; in-between them are arrows pointing in the right direction. Demonstrating a step-by-step approach during the writing process.


Themes and ideas using your mind-map

Begin writing

By creating topic sentences for each of the paragraph

Develop your ideas

By structuring your paragraphs using TEEL

Narration: Now it's time to start writing your artist statement. First look at each category in your mind-map and identify the main theme or idea that answers each question. Complete the writing processes by then structuring your paragraphs based on the mind map.

[Slide 7: Part 1 - Identify]

Description: Using your mind-map Look at the bigger picture of what you are trying to say and identify the overall themes or ideas.

[text example]

What values or beliefs underpin your work?

• Ideas + energy flow

• Collective goal

• Enthusiasm eg. ‘Full Drop Collective’

• Holistic: concept to product

Theme identified from these points: Collaboration.

Narration: Here is an example of how you would identify one main theme from each list that will become the topic sentence for each paragraph. In this case all the ideas are about working with other people and sharing ideas, so a useful word here is collaboration. This will become the topic of your paragraph.

[Slide 8: Part 2 - Identify]

Description: Using the newly created mind-map: Write down the theme identified for each of the reflective questions.

Narration: Notice how the main themes have been identified for each part of the mind map.

[Slide 9: Begin writing]

Description: Start by writing a topic sentence for each paragraph Use the themes you have identified for each question


Q. What beliefs and values underpin your work?

Step 1. Start by directly answering the question even if it seems predictable

I believe that collaboration is the most important thing for my work

Step 2. Now change the topic to make it stronger or more interesting

• Collaboration is key for me.

• Collaboration is essential to my work.

Narration: To write a topic sentence for your paragraph, start by writing a direct answer to the question then you can rewrite the sentence to improve it.

[Slide 10: Develop your ideas]


Paragraph writing

Complete your paragraph by following the TEEL structure


• TOPIC: Write a topic sentence containing the main idea. This is your voice and your idea

• EXPLANATION: Write one or more sentences that explain or elaborate on the main idea. This shows your reflection and analysis of the topic.

• EVIDENCE: Illustrate using examples from your own work and your experience, references to other artists and designers you admire and from your knowledge of history and theory.

• LINK: sum up by referring back to the main idea

Narration : Now you can use the rest of the information from the mind map to complete the paragraph by writing supporting sentences that explain and give examples. The TEEL structure is a very helpful framework for structuring your paragraphs and making sure that you cover everything that is important.

[Slide 11: Begin writing]

Description: Visual representation of the narration. This is of a burger animated in layers. Top bun = topic sentence. Tomato and cheese = explanation. Meat and lettuce = evidence and examples. Bottom bun = linking sentence.

Narration : The hamburger is a good metaphor for a paragraph. Notice how the bread roll which is the topic sentence at the beginning and the linking sentence at the end hold the ingredients together because without it you don't have a hamburger!

[Slide 12: Begin writing]

Description: Using the TEEL paragraph (example)

[Topic sentence} Collaboration is key for me. [Explanation] The ideas and energy which grow when a group of like-minded individuals are moving towards a collective goal fills me with enthusiasm and makes me feel like anything is possible. [Evidence] At the end of 2011, I started working as a part of Full Drop Collective, a group of six females textile designers exploring the possibilities in designer-maker goods and collaborative projects. [Link] Being part of a project from start to finish and thinking about design in a holistic sense from concept to product has been important part of my practice.

Narration : No Narration

Artist biography

[Slide 14: Introduction]


Narration: An artist biography is an introduction to you and a summary to your resume and approach to your work

[Slide 15: What is it for?]


Narration : Your artist biography needs to be redesigned for each audience.

Here are some examples of where your biography would be used.

[Slide 16: What is in it?]

Description : A pyramid diagram (base at the top then narrowing down), broken down into four different sections. This is a representation of importance.

Artist name and work

• Materials and techniques that are employed by the artist

• Influences on your work

Brief history

• Education, training

Professional experience

• Experience in your field eg. Projects, commissions, own businesses

Philosophy / ethos

• Short description of what the artist would like to accomplish with their art

Narration : The artist biography is structured with the most important point at the beginning, which is who the artist is and their name. Followed by a brief history experience and summary of their philosophy.

[Slide 17: Example: Artist biography?]

Description :

Artist biography (example)

[Artist name and work] Tania Swinn is a textile designer who creates softly textured fabrics in vibrant colours. Her work features botanical inspired designs using recycled materials. [Brief history]Born and raised in Tasmania, Tania received her Bachelor in Textile Design from RMIT. [Professional history] She has exhibited widely in Australia and recently worked on projects with DESSI. [Ethos/philosophy] She is currently completing a placement with Ilke. The emphasis is on the quality of workmanship and the respect for sustainability.

Narration: No Narration