This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Recently, I have felt the need to rewrite my artist statement and biography. With this on my mind, I felt that I would share some of my thoughts. Most of these thoughts are not mine, but ideas that I have gathered over the past couple years from a number of different sources. I cannot take the credit.
Don’t confuse an artist’s statement with a biography. Many artists often combine the two into one document that lacks the intended focus. I’ve probably been guilty of this. They should be two separate documents with different purposes.
1. Should be brief – only a couple paragraphs.
2. Should be written in first person.
3. Should be about your current art – not past periods.
4. Should evolve and grow along with your art.
5. Should compel the viewer to want to look at your work.
6. Don’t include bio info here.
7. Don’t include teachers or other’s whose work has influenced yours. This is a statement about YOUR art, not theirs.
8. I want to repeat #5. This is the most important thing to remember – your artist’s statement should compel the viewer to want to look again at your work.
Biography: Many shows and exhibits will request a bio from you. This is an important document to have.
1. Most bios are extremely boring. Mine included. Most artists’ bios read almost identical to each other. Again, mine included. That is why I am working on rewriting mine. I want mine to stand out and be different. I want it to be read and not tossed aside after the first few words of the first sentence.
2. In a nutshell, your bio is basically your resume written out in paragraphs. It includes the highlights from your resume, not necessarily everything. But remember, spice it up a bit (see #1).
3. Should be written in third person.
4. Include a description of your current work.
5. Here it is okay to include your past – including art instruction, influences, and what events or upbringing have shaped your artistic direction, etc.
6. Include important exhibits or venues.
7. Include important collections or commissions, accolades, awards, etc.
8. Include where you were born and where you currently live.
9. This document should also evolve and change along with your career. More important items will be added as your career grows and less important or less relevant things will be removed. (Where you were born should remain the same, though ;-) ).
10. It will likely be longer than your statement, but don’t make it too lengthy. Most people won’t read it if it’s too long (unless you have a very compelling or entertaining story).
What have I missed? What do you think makes a good statement or resume?