Writing an Artist Thesis

How to Organize and Write a Thesis or Artist / Project Statement

Note: The work defines the thesis. If the work itself is lacking in conceptual and expressive substance, so will any written material relating to it – at best, and at worst, may appear nonsensical and disingenuous (a.k.a. ‘bullshit’). Having said this, it should be noted that there is a certain reiterative and circular relationship between doing and thinking/writing, one which is best characterized as being like an ongoing critique of work in progress.

Writing about your work should help organize your thoughts by:

stating what the work is about.

– formulating simple and concise statements.

– Do you make any assumptions? The thesis will require you to explain them.

Making you examine the intent and purpose of the work

Making you consider how you do the work and what the work expresses

Asking why intent matters and consequently why the work matters.

– Remember that you work from a mix of intellect, emotion and artistry/technique.

Arriving at new insights as a result of arranging your thoughts for a thesis.


– Human condition/share experiences

– Find connections and similarities in all the works

– Create new contexts

Establish a Discussion

Initiate thoughts of concept and methods

– May include and refer to older works and other artists.

Communicates work to viewers

– State what the work hopes to achieve, if relevant.

Deepen understanding


Explain how the work is doing what you want it to do.

Present Analysis of the Work

Relationship between the form and concept.

Eloquence and technique between experience and metaphor, or imagery.

Be written in 3rd person (!) and

state the conceptual outline of the project OR its motivating thesis clearly in the opening paragraph

check for grammar and spelling, then check again

write in complete sentences

avoid a chatty, conversational approach