HOW TO | Write an engaging artist biography and statement
For artists who wish to submit their artwork for exhibitions, or project proposals for funding, the artist biography, and the artist statement are two key pieces of information to have at hand. Once you've written the biography and statement, they can be used for self-promotion, artist calls, exhibitions, programs, etc.
Here are some useful tips for to help in this task:
- Before you even start writing, here are some important points to consider. This short reflection will help you through the writing process* :
- Your name, where you presently live and where you usually work.
- What styles or mediums do you work in?
- Write down the courses you have taken.
- Write down the key words you would use to describe your influences. These could be artistic styles, people or places.
- Write down why you do what you do as an artist, has it been a passion since you were a child? Was it a specific experience?
- Write down the major accomplishments you have had so far in your artistic career.
- When describing the length of your activity, use the year you started. Example: "since 2013" vs. "5 years ago". This way, you will not have to update it every year.
*Don't worry if any of these questions don't apply to your experience or work.
Biography: It should be written in paragraph form.
- Write in the third person (It should read as if someone else is writing the bio about you. Someone who is passionate about your work!).
- Limit your biography to approx. 500 words.
- You should limit your text to the information most relevant to your art and career.
- Here are a few suggestions for points that are worth mentioning: your name and official title; numbers - i.e. years of experience, years of study, etc.; your artistic background; your accomplishments; involvement and association - emphasize your membership in community groups or associations in your sector.
- Make sure it accurately represents who you are as an artist and your unique background.
- Should first and foremost be a personal statement, ideally written in the first person (unlike the biography).
- Write informally in order to engage your reader: approach your artistic statement as a discussion with your potential clients.
- Your statement should deal with facts, and act as an introduction to your art. It should make individuals and potential clients want to know more about you and your art.
- It must be accessible to all, so it is best to leave out obscure or overly pointed references and terminology.
- Try to answer these questions in your statement:
- Why do you practice your art?
- What are your sources of inspiration?
- What does your art mean to you?
- What makes your art unique?