How to Write an Artistic Statement

How to Write an Artistic Statement

An artistic statement is one of the documents used in University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ admission to its five art conservatories. Along with an audition and an interview, an artistic statement is one of the best ways for growing artists to express their voice to others.

Read examples of artistic statements for DanceDesign & Production, Drama, Filmmaking and Music.

There is no set formula to writing an artistic statement beyond that the statement has to have structure and organization. One can get very creative in his or her approach. Consider the following advice as you being writing your artist statement:

Brainstorm.

The first hurdle is to figure out what to write about. The key to an artistic statement is that it has to be about you and your passion. Ask yourself these questions: Why do you do your art? What does your art signify or represent to you? What is special about how you make or do your art? What does art mean to you?

Freewrite.

The process of just writing without judgment or editing can help artists get at their basic philosophy. Don't think about the final product, grammar or spelling mistakes or show your freewriting to anyone. Just write. Don’t freewrite on a computer — there is a time for a computer, but not at this stage of writing an artistic statement. Writing by hand at this stage is part of the creative process.

Rewrite what stands out.

After you freewrite, see if there are any words, phrases or themes that stand out or that you've repeated. Then on another sheet of paper, write just about the things that stood out in your freewrite. Write for about 10 or 15 minutes.

In general, be specific.

The biggest mistake that students make is that they write broad, general statements. Be specific. If it is going to be your artistic statement, your view, then the statement has to be written to include specifics about you.

Be clear and concise.

One trick to locate where you are not being clear or when you get off topic is to read your statement aloud.

Proofread.

Don't rely on spellcheck.

Use your own voice.

A misconception in writing for admittance into an art conservatory is that you need to write in an academic voice. This is especially discouraged at UNCSA, where an artist’s uniqueness and individuality is cultivated rather than suppressed. To write in your voice, try verbalizing your thoughts.

One way to do this is to talk through your artistic statement with another person as they take notes. Read through those notes and use that as the basis for your writing.

Another way to write in your true voice is to record yourself. Imagine you are telling someone your responses to these questions: Why am I an artist? Why do I do my art? Why do I feel this way about art? Talk about your first memory doing your art or about who inspires you and why.

Examples are a great way to get a sense of how people communicate their story. Read some artistic statements from UNCSA students in: