Art is objective, multi-faceted and often intentionally left for interpretation, but your artist story, however, should not be left open to interpretation. Your story should be clear and concise.
Penning an engaging artist bio is your window to the world. Let them see and know what your about. Greet your prospective viewers, or collectors with open arms. It is an opportunity to make a dynamic, unforgettable impact right out of the gate. If you have never written an artist biography before, fear not, it is not scary.
Important to note, that your artist bio goes together with your well-written artist statement as an artist marketing package. These two documents are often ignored by novice artists because of fear of the unknown, or lack of knowledge, but I must stress how vital they are in the success of your artist career. Professionals in the art world will request these two documents every time you want to enter a gallery exhibition, or perhaps obtain a grant.
Here are my top 7 savvy tips for penning a perfect artist bio:
1. What Is Your Art Niche?
You really need to decipher who you are and what you do.
A solid place to start is to tell your viewers and perhaps future collectors about your specific area of expertise. Do you have a formal education in the arts, or art history? Great! Tell your audience where and when you studied, perhaps emphasizing particularly inspiring classes that you took and why?
No formal education? No problem! Some of the most prolific artists of all time were self-taught! Take this opportunity to talk a little more about what lead you to this field.
My focus in painting is in a contemporary abstract style known as "Spontaneous Realism." What is "Spontaneous Realism?" – In the simplest of definitions, "Spontaneous Realism" is a form of art that uses bold color schemes and abstract art to give an unrealistic and bright-colored feel to a realistic photo. With the help of acrylic paints, dynamic brushstrokes and random palettes, the portrait, or subject is recreated – adding more life, more colors, and a whole lot of meaning to it.
2. Be Inspired.
Stop and ponder. Take some time out of the hustle of everyday grind and figure out what motivates you? Who inspires you as an artist? Perhaps you are energized by politics, or social injustice? Obviously two subjects very topical now.
Who is your art-idol? Mine growing up was Walt Disney. I aspired to be a Disney animator all through my youth but decided to change paths to more traditional art when computer animation took over. Today, I like Vodka’s work. He is the Australian artist that created the art style and now movement known as "Spontaneous Realism." back in 2012. I also like Kansas City fine artist Jennifer Janesko for her figurative paintings.
By referencing famous artists, or real-life events will help your audience better understand what influences your creative venture and It will also reveal quite a bit about your artistic personality, which is the entire purpose of your artist biography.
3. Experience Is the Best Teacher.
Do you have any practical hands-on experience? Maybe you interned with a famous artist? Do you have a mentor that inspires you, or gives you critique?
Tell your viewers about it! Share with your audience the major influences on your artwork that you have had throughout the years. Perhaps you are more of a lone wolf and prefer to create in the solitude of your quiet studio, inspired by the nighttime hours like many an artisan of days gone by. Either way, share your story, art collectors interested in your work will want to know more about you as an artist and what makes you tick.
4. Why Are You an Artist?
Why do you create? Perhaps you do not know why, perhaps you are just compelled, obsessed even! That is great; tell your audience! Passion is infectious! This is your opportunity to connect with your audience on a human level.
Did you experience hardship at an early age and find comfort, or solace in art? If you feel comfortable doing so, I encourage you to share this with your audience. Not only is it a great way to connect with them, but it may also inspire someone to share a personal story, or struggle of their own. Humanity unites us.
For me personally, art has been the driving force and it has saved my life more than once. Being an artist is who I am at my core. Like so many these days, I struggle with severe anxiety and depression and painting defiantly plays a role for me finding peace in my life. It has been a difficult journey for many years, but I can now say I am place that feels right.
5. Be Proud. Jot Down Your Career Highlights.
What has been your proudest moment so far as an artist? Perhaps you received a compelling critique, or review, something that you could include as a quote within your bio.
My biggest moment without a doubt would be when a painting I did in my senior year of high school, "Victory Touchdown" took first place in the state of Oregon in 1997 and went on to be displayed in the Nation’s Capital for a year.
6. Rough-draft to Final-draft - Presentation Matters.
Once you have had the opportunity to write down your experience, now is the time to piece it all together. Though your artistic skills may be best demonstrated in a drawing, or painting, that is no excuse for an unorganized and messy bio.
If you’re not a strong writer, you may want to hire a freelance writer. A good place to find such a person is on the website known as Fiverr.
What is Fiverr? Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services. The company provides a platform for freelancers to offer services to customers worldwide at affordable rates. Be vigilant though if you go this route and take your time finding a freelancer who has decent ratings and quality of work that matches what you are currently looking for.
Ideally, you want to keep your bio to one page with a simple font. Shorter is always better. Grab and keep your viewers’ attention. As most know attention spans are quite short these days. So, don't add to your viewer's short attention by writing overly long and boring material.
Also be sure to proofread your bio. I suggest having at least three different people go over your bio for any errors you might not notice. Doing this could save you some embarrassment later. Once the bio is approved by your nearest and dearest, it is time to put it to work!
7. Broadcast and Spread the Word
You need to tell people about you and your artwork. Get that bio up on your website, Facebook page, or blog. Basically anywhere where you are talking about, or promoting your artwork and artist career. The more eyes, the better.
You should also know and be willing to update your artist bio every three to four months. This will really depend on how active you are as an artist and what you have going on in your career. it's vital to keep your bio current.
I've been to many artist websites and come across artist bios that haven't been updated in more than six months. So goes for your artist website. Be sure to update every few months. Keep your material fresh. Gallery curators will be discouraged to give you a show if your material because dated. If this is not in your forte, hire freelance like I mentioned above for nominal fee to do it for you.
As always, be savvy. Be aware and self-driven in your art career.