Writing is an important aspect of any artistic career – not only what you write about your own work, i.e. artist statements or descriptions of pieces, but also the writing that is done about your work, once you get it out into the world where people can see it and have opinions about it.
Art critics and art writers help the art world turn by guiding trends in art and promoting artists who are making really interesting work. While you may not always like what they write, writers and critics are also making a living from their art. If your work gets written about by someone other than you, consider it a gift - it's free publicity, after all!
What if writing isn’t your strong suit, but you want some solid writing on your portfolio website, or you’d like someone to write a promotional piece about your work – making sure the review is in your favour? How do you approach a writer who can do the job for you?
The first thing to remember is that just like you wont make art for free, a writer needs to be paid for their work. A written piece represents a similar period of labour that a painting does. Some writers charge by the hour, some by the word, or page, others a flat rate depending on the length of the piece you want. Do your research, ask around and find someone who is willing to do the work you need for a price you feel is fair and reasonable.
Most writers will have a portfolio, or at the very least a blog where you can read their work and get a feel for that person’s voice and whether or not their writing style fits with your artistic practice and the type of writing you need.
Once you've found a candidate, contact the writer. Have a clear idea of what you want written – how long you need it to be, a basic outline of the subject matter, any images that you want to have included in the article - and also work out the deadline (when you’ll need it by) and what medium it will be published in. If you want something published only online or on a blog, formatting it and adding images if needed will probably be simple, If you want it published in a pamphlet or tabloid form, make sure you have someone who understands formatting, or can use programs like adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
And finally, remember to give your writer enough time to execute the piece – have them send you a draft for approval at least a few days before the hard deadline. Working together with a writer is the best way to ensure you both get what you want.