Comparing an Artist’s CV with an Artist’s Biography

For our monthly online art competitions and our special “Solo Art Series” competitions, we ask artists to provide us with a biography.  A well-written biography helps to get an artist into our competition’s “Top 10” and to become part of our “Overall” winning artists category. 

A good biography is a must when presenting yourself to 1. An art gallery. 2. An art competition. 3. The press. 4. Your website.  5. Anyone you wish to interest in your art.

We will compare a CV versus a Biography in this article.  The following categories will help you to write an artists’ biography;

What should be included in an effective artist’s bio?

  • Artists, teachers or experiences that have influenced the artist’s work.
  • Education or training in the field of art.
  • Experience in the field of art.
  • A summary of the artist’s artistic philosophy.
  • Artistic insights or techniques that are employed by the artist.
  • What the artist hopes to accomplish with their art.

An artist’s biography should be written in a well ordered narrative style.  It is always written in the third person.  A well-written artist bio helps a reader to connect to the artist and their artwork.

Many artists believe a biography is written in resume or CV form.  A CV is fine for some uses, but it is not a proper biography.  A CV is used for professional art opportunities, exhibitions, and residences. 

What should be included in a professional artist’s CV?

  • Artist’s name.
  • Year born, place of birth and location of current residence.
  • Education. (Use reverse chronological order for any grouped experience).
  • Selected Solo Art Exhibitions.
  • Selected Group Art Exhibitions.
  • Selected Awards, Grants & Commissions.
  • Selected Reviews.
  • Selected Public Collections.
  • Lectures.
  • Selected Curatorial Projects.
  • Published Writing.
  • Forthcoming Exhibitions.

Keep your CV and the information you provide concise and relevant.  Your CV presents strictly factual information about yourself.

Always have a CV and a separate biography available.  Determine which document to use based on the type of opportunity for which you are presenting yourself.  The College Art Association has terrific information on this subject