An artist biography and statement are a couple of the most important tools to have in your arsenal.
Both are very important and effective tools of communication to bridge you, the artist’s, private thoughts and story to the public. An artist bio helps a reader to understand you better and the motivations behind creating your work. Contrastingly, an artist statement acts as a way for a reader to understand your work better through the expression of what compelled you to create such works. Although these both may seem daunting, they are actually quite simple to write and put together. Here are some tips to help with the process of writing them.
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Keep it Concise
An artist biography shouldn’t be a total retelling of an entire career spanning pages. Rather, it should be between 80 and 140 words in length.
What to Include
When writing an artist biography, include important life milestones, people, and influences. This is especially relevant for the first sentence of biography which should provide an overview of what makes the artist and their work significant. Additionally, try to keep the story relatable and engaging. Readers want to connect with an artist and understand them more so that they want to buy your work!
Important Questions to Answer When Writing
- What medium/media do you work with?
- What is your artistic style?
- Are their pieces that can be described which encapsulate your particular style?
- What themes do you address or depict in your work?
- What are your core motivations?
Keep it Third-Person
An artist biography should be written in the third person voice. Typically, your biography should appear to be like a standalone article.
Jargon Not Welcome
Although an artist biography may appear in a professional art setting like a gallery, avoiding nuanced art terms is important. Relatability is key here, so try to use simple language that anyone could understand.
Proofreading and Drafting
It’s important to try to write multiple drafts of an artist biography. This allows ample room for necessary proofreading in order to catch grammatical errors that may hinder readability.
Lure Readers In
Besides informing a reader, an artist biography’s main goal should be to peak a reader’s curiosity. It should lead them to want to check out and engage with the artist’s works.
Know Your Audience
An artist statement should cater to who’s going to see it. Is it being used for a gallery, an exhibition, or a grant? Make sure to adjust the language depending on the context so audiences can understand the meaning behind artworks.
What Content to Include
An artist statement should range from 100 to 200 words or about two paragraphs. The main goal of the statement is it provides answers to three questions.
- How was the work created?
- Why was the work created and who/what was the inspiration?
- What is the medium of work that was created?
Use First Person
Contrasting to an artist biography, an artist statement should use only first-person language.
Seek an Expert
After drafting and proofreading an artist statement, try to find an experienced artist to take a look at it. They might be able to provide important insights on how the statement could be more effective and impactful to its intended audience.
Although they take a little time, it’s important to have an artist biography and statement for many different situations. Each one provides information not only about the artist, but the artworks as well. Then, armed with that information, readers will be able to relate to the artist and navigate their work in meaningful and engaging ways.