Write Your Artist Statement to Your Crush

Photograph by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

How do you know who you should be writing for?

I don’t think your statement should be as inward-facing as your art.

Meaning, you make your photographs first for yourself. But when it comes time to write your statement, this is where you have to start facing more outward, towards your potential audience.

But who is your audience?

Until you’ve had some extensive engagement, this is a hard question to answer.

It doesn’t help anything that a gallerist might want to see something specific, a visitor to the gallery something else, a portfolio reviewer one thing, and your teacher still another.

You will come across many different audiences the more exposure you get. So how do you cater to all of them without starting from scratch each time?

I believe any variation you create should branch off of one main, authentic statement.

You should have one go-to statement that serves as your foundation, that represents you most completely. Then, if you need to tweak it for a specific exhibition or audience, you can simply change or add a few words and phrases to suit your needs.

So what should this main statement sound like? Who should I start with when I imagine an audience?

My suggestion: write your statement the way you would talk to your crush.

Aww, yeah. You know who I’m talking about!

Think about it, when do you ever sell yourself more than when you’re trying to impress someone who gives you butterflies? Who do you want more to see the real you than the person who’s affection you are trying to win?

Put your crush at the table across from you. Order some drinks for the both of you (whatever you drink), and welcome them. Give them a compliment.

This person can be a celebrity (local or national), a co-worker you haven’t talked to yet, or someone you saw walk past you at school.

If you’re already with someone, try to go back to your first dates and connect with those early jitters.

Now, imagine you’ve complimented your crush, you’ve shared a couple laughs, and now the conversation steers toward your photography.

CRUSH: So, tell me more about yourself. What do you do?

YOU: Oh, I’m a photographer.

CRUSH: Really? That’s so cool! What kind of photography do you like doing?

YOU: _____write out your answer_____

CRUSH: Very cool. What do you like most about making photographs like that?

YOU: _____write out your answer_____

CRUSH: Wow, I’m really impressed. So how did you get started making these?

YOU: _____write out your answer_____

See where I’m going with this?

Sit down with your computer, laptop, or notebook and continue this conversation. See what kind of questions your crush might surprise you with, then write down your responses.

Be totally honest and free about this. Don’t write what you’re supposed to say. Write what you really feel when you hear the question, no matter how startling it may be.

Remember, you’re trying to get this person to fall in love with you. Give them the real you!

If you have trouble imagining your crush asking questions, flip the script. Imagine sitting down with your crush and asking them about their photography.

What would you ask first? What would you really want to know about?

You might be surprised by what you reveal to your “crush” that you may not have even been honest enough to admit to yourself before. Run with it!

This is your real, authentic voice coming through.

~ BJ