The Devaluing Starving Artist Statement

“Your artist statement is the backbone of your marketing. “
~ Alyson Stanfield, author of I’d rather be in the studio! An Artist’s No-excuse Guide to Self-Promotion” and the ArtBiz blog

I was on facebook this morning and followed a link to someone’s website and this was the first thing I saw plastered across their home page:

Hello. My name is {omitted} and I am an artist. What is an artist? It is someone who instead of wearing a suit and going to an office everyday goes to a studio and produces art. Being an artist is kind of a divine calling – something one cannot ignore because the need to create is greater than the need for a 401K, proper health insurance, and reliable income. I know that I am doing what God created me to do and even though it is full of struggles, it is an incredible journey of faith and I am grateful He made me an artist.

(..rolling eyes)

Would this make you want to look at this person’s art or even the rest of their website? Would a collector? ..or would he/she have some concern that this person might not be around tomorrow (ie a poor investment)?

People like this who perpetuate the romance of ‘the starving artist’ are doing themselves (and all artists) a disservice: Artist: charity case, strain on society, dispensable, hobbyist, dreamer, etc., etc.. Hello..? However “Blessed” this person may feel, why would any working artist want to portray and devalue themselves like that?

As with any business, the most successful people I know, working artists included, put forward an image of themselves that is successful. I don’t think this should be any different for artists. Since most of us are self-representing, how we present ourselves can set the tone of and directly influence the perception of our work, possibly even before its seen.

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4 Responses to “The Devaluing Starving Artist Statement”

  • VanessaNo Gravatar Says:

    Good point indeed. It’s first impressions are lasting impressions. All of the successful artists that I have come across, present themselves and their work as a strong business like you would find in any industry.

    I find artists often want to downplay their importance or the worth of their art i n exchange for attention but then again what kind of attention are you drawing if you do that.

    Definitely see where you are coming from with this article. If you want someone to take you seriously, you have to take yourself seriously.

  • Lori WattsNo Gravatar Says:

    I wouldn’t pretend (in my artist statement, or anywhere else) that I make tons of money making pots. But I think an artist’s statement is a weird place to discuss your financial position at all.

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