How to write an artwork description

Collectors want to know the story behind an artwork. Why did the artist produce this work? What were his or her motivations? Did something, in particular, inspire the artist? The artwork description is your opportunity to tell the story of your artwork.

Here are some ideas and requirements to consider when crafting your description:

  • Use the 3rd person. So instead of saying "I created this work to ...", say "The artist created this work to..."
  • Tell the story. What is the inspiration or the story behind this artwork?
  • Give insights into the work. Why did you use the materials you did, or produce the work in a certain way?
  • Is this work part of a series? What are other works that relate to this and how does this work influence your portfolio?
  • Are there any technical details or special elements to the work that the customer should know about?
  • Don’t list prices or other time-sensitive information that may quickly become out of date.
  • Don’t link to your personal website.
  • If there are different sizes or editions available, add 'Please contact Rise Art for further details'. And we will then be in contact with you.

A good description is extremely important. It gives the viewer the best understanding of your work.

This might be difficult for some works, but even if you’re not comfortable telling the story behind a piece, just describe the artwork. Is it an original or a limited edition print? Has it been signed, if so where? Does the artwork come ready to hang or framed?

The artists who sell regularly are the ones who have photographed their work well, provided good secondary images, and have told a story about their pieces.

Here are some examples of effective descriptions:

  • Kristjana S Williams: The artist describes her motivations and interesting elements of each piece.
  • Kimberly Poppe: The artist describes how she produces each work and the subject matter: 
  • Tracey Emin: This piece beautifully showcases the key elements that make the work stand out, including hand-torn elements and the premium stock paper.

Please note, works submitted without a description may be disapproved.

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