A well-written biography is required for artists to present themselves and their artistic vision to their potential buyers and collectors. For our monthly and special online art competitions, as well as our “Solo Art Series” competitions, the gallery asks artists to provide 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.

While many artists believe a biography is written in resume or CV form, that is not the case. We will compare a CV versus a Biography in this article.  The following information points will help you to write an artists’ biography:

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

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

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

While a CV is fine for some uses, it is not a proper biography and should not be mistaken for one.  A CV is often 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 www.collegeart.org/guidelines/resume.

This article was updated on July 26, 2020.

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