An Artist’s Statement is the artist’s written description of their work. Generally anywhere between 100 and 1000 words, the Artist’s Statement describes the artist’s intentions. It is both descriptive and reflective and shows an understanding of his or her place in the context of art history and theory. Artist’s statements are a relatively recent development and they are used for grant applications, gallery showings, promotional materials. Most art schools incorporate them into their curriculum. The days when the artist can say “My work speaks for itself” are in the past.
It’s more rare to see an musician’s artist statement. Composers seem to be more likely to have them than performing artists (pianists). Too many pianists still seem to think “their work speaks for itself.” It’s almost like they think they can throw together a program of Bach, Beethoven, Intermission, Chopin, Ravel and, voila, a piano recital!
But many pianists are thinking about what they want to say in their programming and what they want their audiences to take away.
I admire Lara Downes not only for her playing, but for her creative programming. Not surprising, she has an artist statement on her website. Doesn’t this last sentence tell you all you need to know?
From Lara Downes’s Artist Statement:
Whether I’m at home in my studio or out on the road, packing or unpacking, doing my scales or doing my laundry, day in and day out, my life is a life in music.
Ora Itkin places her artist statement front and center on her website. Then she takes you into her private world with her biography. After reading you can’t help but want to listen to her music.
Ora Itkin’s Artist Statement:
In music everything starts and ends with the Sound
On piano everything starts and ends with the Touch.
Search for that sound, that transmits feeling, thought, emotion, imagery, color…even taste.
In other words, sound that makes music “alive” is the essence of my interpretation.