Writing your Artist’s Bio
For many artists writing their Artist’s Bio can seem a tedious and daunting task
Writing about your self surely is a little uncomfortable and intimidating. Yet, your Artist’s Bio is mandatory for a professional art career. If a career in art is what you are after you will certainly need a bio for press releases, webpage’s, exhibitions and your portfolio. Therefore, unless you can hire a professional writer to do it for you it is time to tackle it yourself. The good news is there are some excellent internet resources to help you get started. Like this one, which will outline for you a few options in the approaches you can take writing it.
The style your Bio takes will depend on whether you want to adopt a personal approach or keep it strictly business. For a personal slant, using a first person point of view is best. It invites people to get to know you and flows like a conversation between you and the reader. However, first person POV does have the tendency to sound self-important and the overuse of “I” can be problematic.
Example of first person POV:
“I was born and raised in a small town with a large artistic community. My art career began…. For me pursuing art was…”
An artists Bio written from the third person POV removes any trace of self-importance found in the first person format. However, it can feel a little odd writing about your self in the third person. The challenge with this format is in achieving a natural feel.
Example of Third person POV
“Ramona was born and raised in a small town with a large artistic community. She began her career in art…For this dedicated, passionate artist pursuing a career in art was…”
It is not a bad idea to write a Bio in both formats, as one may be more suitable than the other. Whether you choose a formal or informal style, the information you need to include remains the same
What to include
Once you have decided what format to use it is time to think about what you want and need to say, additionally the best way to say it.
The content of your Bio needs to be interesting enough to capture your reader’s full attention, be clear and easy to read and contain no grammatical errors. It also needs to be informative; I suggest you have your resume or CV handy for reference. It is going to include principal information such as your place and date of birth, education and exhibitions as well as any workshops you have taken. Giving an account of career high points as well as some career related highlights from your private life will flesh it out and give it some personality. Mentioning awards if you have them and naming galleries where your work is being shown is a good idea as long as it does not become the predominant focus. You also may want to consider some additional information such as:
· Do you have your own studio, where do you work
· Have you done any residencies
· What about Grants
· How did you first get involved in art
· Is there someone in particular who inspired you or encouraged you
How long should it be
Artist Biographies can vary in length and although there is no hard and fast rule, you do not want it to drag on indefinitely. You only need enough to inform people of who you are, what you do and how you have reached this point in your career. Anywhere between a half and a full page would be sufficient.
Grammar and Language
Recognize that your Bio may be some people’s first impression of you. It may be seen even before your work, so please watch your grammar and spelling. If this is not your strong suit, have a friend edit it for you before it goes to the printer. Equal in importance is the language you use, even if you are writing a less formal Artist’s Biography it is not a good idea to be too relaxed. Strong, positive, descriptive words and proper English are your avenue to success.
Bear in mind that someone reading your Bio is most likely interested in either showing or buying your art. So write, draft, edit and proof before it is printed, Last but not least, save it on your computer and on a CD just in case.