I have recently been asked to complete an Artist’s Bio,
for a gallery exhibition.
If you ever intend exhibiting anywhere, it is likely that you will be asked for either a Bio, a Statement or a CV.
Whichever you are asked to do, be assured it will cause great angst and sweating!
Every artist finds composing one of these a nightmare, so I thought it might be helpful to explain what the difference is, and what is expected for each. Obviously, these are only guides, and yours should reflect your individuality and your own practice.
An Artist's Bio.
This is more informal and friendly than a CV.
It should be between 50 and 150 words long, depending on where it is to be shown, and
written in the 3rd person, as if it was written by someone who loves your work. Don’t make it long winded or boring.
It should include:
Where you currently live. Only mention where you originally come from if it is important for understanding your work.
The medium(s) you are known for and any special techniques you like to use.
What sets you apart from other artists and makes you unique.
Preferred subjects - what inspires you, and what you are passionate about.
Your biggest achievements. - this can be awards, high profile clients, or gallery shows, or anything else you are proud of.
An Artist's Statement.
This should be friendly and written in the 1st person, between 100-150 words long. The idea is to make the reader want to go back and have a good look at your work.
It should be about your current art only, so you might want to rewrite it regularly.
Answer these questions:
What am I doing?
How am I doing it?
Why am I doing it?
What influences/inspires me most?
What do I want to communicate with my art?
This is not the place where you mention education, awards, exhibitions etc.
“CV” stands for “curriculum vitae” which roughly translates as “course of life.”
It is an overview of your artistic history and achievements. It is written formally, as a list, and should contain some or all of the following:
Education. Just your artistic education. If you don’t have one, miss it out.
Exhibitions. Beginning with the most recent, set out as Date; Title of show; Place.
Eg: Annual Summer Show. Ongar Art Society. July 2019.
Bibliography. If you have been lucky enough to have been mentioned, or had your work shown in any magazines or articles, list them here.
Publication; article title; author; date.
Collections. Any public institutions that hold your artwork. Any private collections – that is, who has bought some? You shouldn’t name your private collectors without permission, but you might say – Paintings held in private collection in Essex. Text. If there are any published comments or recommendations relating to your work you could quote them here. Teaching. If you have taught in the art field, or given a demonstration or talk, mention it here.
Awards and Grants. Lucky you!
Affiliations & Memberships. Any art related organisation you belong to. Eg. Ongar Art Society. It will show your commitment to art.
You can put in or leave out whatever is relevant for you. If you are a beginner there won’t be much, but remember everyone is a beginner at some time, there’s nothing wrong with that!