http://www.kehindewiley.com/main.html (Click “bio” and it will take you to his artist statement)
An artist statement is important. It both informs the audience about your art and has the power to transform their perception of you as an artist (Is there substance behind your work? Are you intelligent and articulate? Should the audience be interested in what you have to say?) It is important, however, to make sure that your art speaks for you–you don’t want to bash anyone over the head with your artist statement–it isn’t necessarily an appropriate place to air grievances or freak out about the state of the world. Let the art do that for you.
Although I like the art of both Robert Shetterly and Kehinde Wiley, I think Wiley’s artist statement is vastly superior. Shetterly preaches at his audience, while Wiley gives some context to his art to help people think about it themselves. I appreciate Shetterly’s honesty about his own self-reflection but I think it makes you focus too much on him and his thought process as opposed to the people represented in his portraits and different ways of thinking about their messages and the way that their messages have been received by the nation. Wiley’s statement talks much less about his own feelings toward his subjects and helps the audience connect with them on a more personal level themselves. Shetterley’s statement simplifies the issues he is dealing with in his portraits and Wiley’s acknowledges their complexity.