I feel like this next sentence could get me into trouble: the reality of writing about your creative practice is that it will never end – you will probably need more than one artist’s statement and you should update all your text regularly.
I spend a lot of time helping makers feel confident about their writing skills, and I’m aware that saying ‘you’ll have to do more writing’ might make you feel uncomfortable. But I’m not here to tell you things you want to hear. The truth is that every application, every show, every new collection has its own audience and needs a relevant piece of writing. It is exactly the same deal as re-drafting a covering letter and tailoring your CV for each job you apply for – completely necessary and worth the effort.
Now, it does not have to be a completely new piece of writing. I’m not suggesting you start with a blank page every time. I am suggesting that you re-work, adapt, edit, rejuvenate text you already have with the new situation and audience in mind. However, if you have made new work or developed your practice significantly, then new writing will be needed. If you’ve managed to establish writing as part of your practice, and maintained a writing routine, then this shouldn’t be too onerous.
I know it’s easier to send off the artist’s statement you already have, or to leave the About section on your website for months without reviewing, but trust me, the investment in keeping up to date, of creating text relevant to each audience you encounter, is going to enhance your practice, strengthen your confidence communicating about your work, and deepen the relationships you are building with those people you work with and who buy from you. It’s the reality of working as a creative and sharing that work with the world, embrace it!