The successful artists in this world are brands. Like it or not, Jeff Koons is a brand, Elizabeth Gilbert is a brand, U2 is a brand.
Brands are an expression of belief systems. We are drawn to a particular brand when its values aligns with ours. Our purchases are mostly to remind ourselves and the world around us of who we are.
Art also communicates a belief system. First and foremost, it communicates the belief system of the artist. If the artist is successful in the creation of the work, the message is clear.
The artist statement is a written expression of the artist’s belief system, an articulation of the artist’s brand. This is why the artist statement is always requested, yet it is often the most ineffective piece of sales material produced. Yes, your artist statement is a piece of sales material.
Artists often mistake the “sell” to be about them, most often it is not. A fine distinction to make here is the difference between someone buying you vs. buying your brand.
A collector is buying a piece of your work because it confirms, validates, reminds the collector of something about themselves. The work looks the collector in the eye, and says, “I echo something important within you. I am an extension of you.” Art is about the person who buys it.
The artist statement is an opportunity for the artist to clarify their belief system and why the particular work in question matters and has value.
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