This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 17,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
As mentioned in the first article of this artist resume advice series -- your artist resume will be 'broken down' by several headings that help to categorize your information. In the first post I tackled the 'Name' header. I will continue to offer advice about specific headings based on my own experience -- as well as the experience of art dealers I've spoken with over the years. The topic for today is -- Contact Information... which, in my opinion, is another deceptively simple aspect of writing an artist resume in general.
As implied above, the Contact Information heading on your artist resume is deceptively straight-forward. I suggest that because there is more involved with the contact information you provide on your artist resume than just the 'face value' of said information on paper (Yes -- I said 'paper'. Most of the art dealers I've spoken with want a physical copy of your artist resume (if requested) -- not a digital copy). Point blank -- you really need to think about how you present this information to art dealers. The 'off the paper' factors of the information you provide can send the wrong message.
I will describe some of the common Contact Information categories that you may consider providing on your artist resume before I delve into this any further. As mentioned, the Contact Information heading can involve several sub-categories -- such as Preferred Mailing Address, Phone Number(s) (with sub-categories for Work, Studio, Home, Fax and so on), Email and Personal Website. Needless to say, there is a lot of info to choose from -- assuming the art dealer has not offered a specific guideline as to what he or she is expecting. Again, these artist resume categories can be deceptively straight forward.
You need to think outside of the box when deciding on what information to provide on your artist resume. Furthermore, you need to think about the implications of that information beyond the paper. Some of you may be thinking, "Implications? What is he talking about?" -- allow me to respond to that by detailing the concerns I have for each category.
Preferred Mailing Address: This category within Contact Information appears simple enough. After all, the art dealer will want to know how to send you information by 'snail mail' if he or she offers you an exhibit OR decides to represent you. Keep in mind that trouble can arise from this category if you happen to be an artist who moves frequently. Thus, I would advise that artists obtain a post-office box -- and to use that info in the Contact Information section.
I must stress this -- you want an address that is static if, for example, you are an artist who frequently moves from one rental apartment to the next. In that scenario a post-office box is a good solution. Trust me on this -- you don't want a stranger to end up with information your art dealer has sent to you (the person living at your old address may choose to throw it aside). Furthermore, a post-office box might be a good choice for artists who have had a long-term residence simply because it will cut back on delivery mistakes in general (you don't want to find out a month from now that your neighbor, Little Old Lady McGrady, has had some of your mail -- including an important letter from your art dealer).
Phone Number(s) -- with sub-categories for Work, Studio, Home, Fax and so on: This is a group that you may want to simplify. You don't have to follow it strictly just because the information is standard on resumes in general. For example, most of the art dealers I've known don't care to know your work phone number. In fact, most desire just one number to go by -- preferably your cell phone number. If by chance you are one of those old-school individuals who have avoided having a cell phone -- you might want to consider obtaining one for situations like this.
For this section you should strive to list a phone number that only you have access to. One art dealer told me that she was a tad concerned about professionalism after calling the Studio number provided by an artist. When she called the Studio: number a young child answered -- apparently several minutes passed before the artist was on the line. The art dealer was horrified that the artist allowed his young boy to "roam unsupervised in his studio". It left a bad impression.
True, you could say that this specific art dealer is not very 'kid friendly'. That said, it only takes a few minutes for a child to alter a dozen paintings.-- I base that on how quickly my daughter was able to alter the walls in her bedroom. Point blank -- I understand why the art dealer was concerned from a professional standpoint. What if his child 'destroyed' a series of paintings that were destined to be exhibited at her gallery? The artist could have avoided establishing that concern simply by listing his cell phone number (and keeping his cell phone away from his young boy).
Another art dealer told me about how he called the land-line number listed after Home: on an artist resume only to end up speaking with an angry spouse. Apparently the artist and her husband had been having some relationship issues. Long story short -- the husband accused the art dealer of trying to "steal" his wife away from him (I feel sorry for any pizza delivery guy that knocks on their door). Again, that situation could have been avoided had the artist simply listed her cell phone number.
I've also been told amusing stories involving fax numbers listed on artists resumes. I won't go into details with this lewd bunch -- I'll just say this... if you are going to list a fax number DON'T list a shared work fax number. It can potentially be an extremely embarrassing situation. Point blank -- your co-workers may not take your art career as seriously as you do... and may be more than willing to send something back that offends the art dealer on the other end. Fair warning.
Email: This one appears simple enough -- just list your email address on your artist resume. HOWEVER -- do take some caution in deciding which email address you choose to offer. Be as professional as possible with this choice. Point blank -- IscoreWITHchicks@whateveremailservice.com is probably not the best choice. Offensive email addresses might be 'cute' in some scenarios -- but they are definitely not 'cute' in this scenario. Remember that you are interacting with a professional -- so be professional.
Personal Website: You may have to go with your gut on this one if the art dealer does not specifically request this information. I've known just as many art dealers who desire said information as I have art dealers who don't care. It is almost 50/50 based on the art dealers I've asked over the years. If you choose to list Personal Website in your artist resume make sure that the site you list is truly personal. In other words, this is not the place to list your Facebook profile address or your WordPress blog -- you will want to list your artist website... hopefully one with a unique domain name.
I'm sure some of you are thinking, "How will an art dealer use the Contact Information that I've provided on my artist resume?" -- good question. The art dealer will use the information to contact you -- BUT he or she may also use it in promotional material (and will likely get your 'OK' depending on how it is used) for exhibits involving you and the art gallery if you're chosen to be represented by the gallery.
In addition to the above, the art dealer may use some of the Contact Information on your artist resume when presenting you to a client. If the art dealer shares this information with a client he or she will most likely remove direct contact information. In other words, in most cases the art gallery will not offer your phone numbers or email address to a client -- after all, the art dealer wants the potential buyer to contact the gallery directly. Oddly enough, he or she may point to your artist website if the client is interested in learning more about you on his or her own time.
Next on the artist resume chopping-block... my suggestions for Short Biography.
Take care, Stay true,