The Artist Statement Challenge

As I’m sure many of you are preparing your packets for the Fellowship entry deadline next week (see Julia’s recent post below), you will see that one of the required materials is an artist statement. This can be one of the most difficult portions of putting together an application like this one. A recent Artist Survival Kit workshop covered the topic of writing artist statements and I thought I’d share a list of websites that were gathered for that workshop. There are numerous websites out there dedicated to helping artists with their statements but this list should get you started.

A website that relates writing an artist statement to making a stew. It may sound a little cheesy at first but it is quite helpful in getting you to ask yourself the right questions. It also provides a couple of examples.

A website with a collection of articles on why artist statements are important and what to consider when writing one.

More examples of artist statements.

Here is a website of “frequently asked questions” as well as a resource for more examples.

A basic overview of what an artist statement is.

Another overview with links to related information.


Tip for artists: apply now

Every artist should submit for the OVAC Visual Arts Fellowships EVERY year. Why? There are two $5,000 prizes with few strings attached and it is a great excuse to update your resume and artist statement. This preparation gets you ready to take other opportunities that come up
throughout the year. You never know what the curator will prefer and you’ll surely never get chosen unless you submit.

Postmark deadline: May 5
Eligible: non students over age 18 who are OK residents.
Full prospectus:

Film: What Remains: The Life & Work of Sally Mann

Last night, my husband and I went to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Noble Theatre to watch a documentary about Sally Mann, her life and photography. As a photographer myself, it was really inspiring to watch another artist working in the medium of wet-plate photography. It was also comforting to see that even the most well-known artists have their own insecurities about their work, struggles with creative blocks and challenges that the rest of us experience in our artistic lives. In the film, Mann talked about the misconception that most people have of thinking that when she completes a project or body of work, she must feel relieved. On the contrary, she said that is her most anxious time. How could I possibly make my next body of work better than this one? Where will I even begin? She said it is in those times that it feels nearly impossible to even take another picture. But her advice was inspiring in it’s simplicity – just set up the camera and take a picture. It doesn’t matter what it’s of. It doesn’t even matter if it’s good. Just going through that process will get the mind working on how to make this photograph better than the last one.

So, when we hit those blocks, we just have to remember to set up the camera and take a picture, get out a canvas or paper and make a mark or start working that block of clay. Eventually, it will form itself into something we are excited about.

Tips for Artists: Visit Studios

Last weekend was our Tulsa Art Studio tour. Seeing how more than a dozen artists work and set up their working spaces was enlightening. The volunteer committee, artists and staff got to go around to most of the studios on Friday evening as a caravan. Many participants commented that this experience was inspiring. Even I wanted to get out some art materials and make some work (and I’m not an artists!).

Also, several artists commented about specific things they learned– ideas for shelving, places to buy certain paint, etc. Each others work spaces are great idea-generators for artists. Shan Goshorn– see image– had an inspired space with great storage and her other love of birds present. So, don’t wait for a studio tour to find this information. You could visit your friends working spaces now. You could organize with a few folks and do your own pot luck visiting of each other.

Tips for Artists: Outdoors

Oklahoma has a great influx in opportunities for artists to display outdoors. Many of these are outdoor exhibitions like the Sculpture Park at the Arts Festival of OKC (see David Phelp’s piece for the area) while others are connected to the new Art in Public Places program in Oklahoma. If you have been dreaming about having your work in public settings or increasing your scale to monumental, now is the time. You may have to produce some work speculatively to exhibit and prove you can produce it, but it could pay off with the variety of projects that will be open to artists in the coming years.

For lots of information about public art, go to the Americans for the Arts website about public art.

Opportunity: Scholarship for Ladies

The Girly Show is offering their annual $1,000 scholarship for college art majors. See their website for particulars:

They are also seeking artists for this year’s show.