If you have ever submitted your artwork to an exhibition, gallery or contest, you probably already know that beyond your artwork, you are also responsible for providing specific paperwork relating to your artistic practice. The most common paperwork requests are for an artist statement, an artist CV, and a short written biography.
If you have these three items prepared in advance, you can update them regularly and save yourself a lot of stress when trying to meet a submission deadline. In general, they are great things to have on hand even if you are not submitting your work, as collectors, curators, or writers could ask to see them at any time.
Your artist statement is meant to augment and inform others about your artistic practice. A good rule of thumb for the length of an artist statement is one page or less; any longer and you might lose your reading audience. Your artist statement should be clear, concise, and directly address your artistic endeavors. For more information and examples of artist statements, please read Suggestions for Writing your Artist Statement.
An artist’s CV is essentially a resume that focuses on your artistic career, experience, and achievements. Even if you are an artist with little or no exhibition history, there are still many things you can include on your CV. For detailed instructions, please read How to Write an Artist’s CV in 10 Steps.
A Short Written Bio
When galleries or institutions request a short written bio, they are usually looking for a one paragraph or 100-200 word summary of yourself as an artist. In many cases, the written bio should summarize the most important information in your CV. It can also include where you live and work, although should not get into any other personal details (unless you have specifically been asked to include these.) Often for a press release, the short written bio is tacked onto the end of an artist statement or statement about the show to give the audience a bit more information about the artist’s career. Below are some examples of short artist bios:
Information on the Koto Ezawa show organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery includes a short bio at the end of their write up.
Windsor Gallery artist Bill Anderson has a short bio included at the end of his artist statement.
An artist bio for Lydia Karpenko is posted on the website of Stride Gallery for her upcoming exhibition.
Weekly Project: prepare these three key pieces of paperwork for yourself.
If you need to catch up:
Week 5: Fine-tune an Artistic Target
Week 4: Take Advantage of your Resources
Week 3: Create a Structured Project
Week 2: View Art in Person
Week 1: Contact Artists you Admire
Image: by Nicole N