Artist Entrepreneur: D: Descriptions of Your Art— The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art

Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we talk about the fun, wild and scary ride of succeeding as an artist entrepreneur of all stripes and types and mediums.

Welcome back guest columnist, Aletta de Wal. She specializes in helping visual artists succeed in their fine art careers. She’s posting regularly on “The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art” and other success tips for fine artists around writing. This week it’s about descriptions of your art — a useful topic for all of us! Enjoy!


With homage to Big Bird on Sesame Street, the letter “D” brings this post to you, for “Descriptions” of Your Work.

If you do your own fine art marketing, then you already know you need a variety of descriptions of your work for your artist statement, bio, Blog, certificates of authenticity, cover letters, e-mail, grants, exhibits, submissions to juried shows and residencies, magazine articles, press interviews, promotional materials, your marketing portfolio, social media, titles and your web site. Phew!!!!

Don’t worry – you don’t have to do it all at once, and you can reuse, repurpose or modify some of what you write.

Once you have described the key elements about your work and your accomplishments, you can use the same basic descriptions and adjust them for the different audiences and purposes of each of the items I listed above. Often the hardest part is getting started and figuring out what to say.

Before you start writing any of these marketing pieces, sit down and do a “brain dump” about your art and your accomplishments.

Don’t worry about grammar, syntax or spelling. You don’t even have to write whole sentences at this stage — words and phrases are a great start. Just get it down for now. You can get it good later.

This will give you all the raw material you need for just about any marketing purpose:

  • Why and how did you start making art?
  • When did you start?
  • Did you take any breaks? If so, why and how did you get started again?
  • Did you go to art school, take workshops or are you self-taught?
  • If you have taken training, how did you make what you learned your own instead of a copy of the instructor’s art?
  • Why do you create the kind of art you make?
  • What do you like most about making art?
  • What don’t you like so much?
  • How long did it take you to get good at what you do?
  • How do you come up with your ideas?
  • What materials and media do you use? Which are your favorites?
  • How do you actually make the art?
  • How do you know when it’s done?
  • How do you decide what frames or pedestals to use? Do you make or buy them?
  • Who buys and/ or shows your work? What do they say about it?
  • Who are your role models and mentors? What lessons have you learned from them?
  • What and who inspires your work?
  • What inspires you to keep going when you get stuck?
  • Where have you/ do you exhibit your art?
  • Do you teach art to others?

Remember that writing is a four-part process. Think, Write, Edit and Check.

By answering these questions, you have done a lot of the thinking so you are already part way there. The rest is much easier. If you need a hand with this, you can always count on Beth!

Next time: E-Mail

Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training

Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time visual artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

More information at:

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