Camille Kershner was born in Rochester, NY, but largely grew up in western North Carolina. She currently lives and works in Boston, MA. Kershner received her BFA in sculpture, with a minor in art history, from Appalachian State University. She is currently pursuing her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and is due to graduate in May 2023. She has a passion for community, collaboration, and relational performance art that drives her current body of work.
Camille Kershner presents: How to write an artist statement.
Step 1: Begin with an opening statement that not only catches the eye of the reader but also gives a general idea of the work of the artist.
Ex. Camille Kershner is a relational performance artist running away from her sculptural background headlong into conceptual work with humor as her partner in crime.
Step 2: Referring to the artist in the third person is traditional for artists’ bios more than statements but it can summon a veil of professionalism. Write for the opportunities you want.
Ex. With a passion for communication and connection, Kershner utilizes performance that mirrors the language of public speaking, lecture, standup, and improv theater to engage audiences. She would be an excellent guest speaker at almost any event.
Step 3: Select colorful, contemporary, or unique themes about the work of the artist to briefly elaborate on this work or to gain the interest of the reader. (If no such adjectives for the work can be found, exaggerate.) Provide a sort of vague mental picture.
Ex. Kershner is conceptual for people who consciously don't want to like conceptual. Out of time and therefore extremely time-relevant, Kershner's practice is situated at the intersection of fine art and daily life, performatively exploring the fringes of shifting moments and questioning limits, revealing and refusing the underlying architecture of those interactions, intersections, and transitions.
Step 4: Open a thesaurus (or open a google tab dedicated to synonyms) so that you may use the same words over and over hopefully without anyone realizing.
Ex. Currently, directly, presently, at present, forthwith, pronto, right away, right now, straight away.
Step 5: Remove your hands from the keyboard, stare off out the nearest window, and sigh deeply. Look back at your computer and write a filler sentence that feels familiar to the lexicon of artist statements that have come before.
Ex. Kershner uses humor to draw in the audience in order to open the possibility for significant interaction and moments of collaboration. This breaks the expectation of museum-goers as they suddenly begin to question what is allowed and what isn't in this newly created space.
Step 6: Take a break to write and respond to some emails.
Ex. “Dear landlord, my sink has begun leaking at an alarming rate. I have turned off my water but my house plants.........”
Step 7: Include a statement that compels the readers to invest in or care about you.
Ex. If you like performance art, humor, and curiosity, you may find this compelling.
Step 8: Question whether the content of the statement will come off as funny. Is it too funny?
Ex. Does my innate desire to create a sense of familiarity through humor diminish my art through the lens of the art world?
Step 9: Have an impromptu ego death concerning your work, your writing style, your outward presentation, and your goals. (This can happen on or off the page.)
Step 10: Spell check, convert to PDF, and submit to the necessary galleries and or publications.
Headshot by Naail Ali, BFA '23