Art can be objective, multi-faceted and often intentionally left for interpretation. Your story, however, should not be open to interpretation.
Your story should be clear and concise.
Crafting a great bio is an introductory handshake with your audience. It is an opportunity to make an impact right out of the gate. If you have never written an artist biography before, fear not, it’s not scary. There are no rules and nobody is going to judge you.
What IS important, is that you craft a compact summary of RELEVANT skills and experience. This is probably not a good time to talk about your cat, Game of Thrones, or your love for hot yoga. The goal is to craft something that viewers will actually want to read.
Here are my top 7 tips for crafting a perfect artist bio:
1. Mad Skills
A good place to start is to tell your audience 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.
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.
2. Experience is the best teacher
Do you have any practical experience? Did you intern for any famous artists? Do you have a particular mentor that inspires you or gives you critique? Tell your audience about it! Share with your audience the major experiential influences on your artwork that you’ve 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. Share a little about your hands-on experience as an artist to let your new fans get to know you a little better. Whether you started at an early age and have collected years of experience or if inspiration struck later in life, tell people about your experience as an artist.
3. Be Inspired
What inspires you? What motivates you? Are you driven to create by a passion for color and beauty? Perhaps you’re energized by politics or social injustice? Who is your art-idol? Are you a Picasso or a Pollock fan? Kahlo or O’Keefe? Leonardo da Vinci? Let your audience know what, or who inspires you. Referencing famous artists or real-life events will help your audience better understand what influences you. It will also reveal quite a bit about your own artistic personality, which is the entire purpose of your artist biography.
4. What is your ‘why’?
Why do you create? Perhaps you don’t know why, perhaps you are just compelled, obsessed even! That’s 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.
5. Career Highlights
What has been your proudest moment so far as an artist? Have you shown your artwork at an art gallery or exhibition? Now is the time to celebrate those professional accomplishments!
Perhaps you received a compelling critique or review, something that you could include as a quote within your bio. Or maybe you’ve won some awards or have been featured in a blog post. However big or small your crowning achievements are so far, make some noise about them! Be sure to include any accomplishments or achievements as you write your bio.
Once you’ve had the opportunity to lay out 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 a sloppy bio.
Ideally, you want to keep your bio to one page with a simplistic font (Times New Roman or Cambria usually work for me). The font size should be no bigger than 16, no smaller than 12. It is always a good idea to have a friend or family member proofread your biography to make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes. Proofreading could save you some embarrassment later. Once the bio is approved by your nearest and dearest, it’s time to put it to work!
7. Spread the word
Unless you have your biography hanging alongside a permanent collection somewhere, you need to tell people about you and your artwork. Get the bio up on your website, Facebook page and anywhere where you are talking about or promoting your artwork. Print some copies and consider laminating a few copies to bring with you to your next show!
Share a brief version in your Instagram account bio so that your followers on Instagram can see it. Share it on your blog or any website feature so that the search engines can see it. The more eyes that can see your personal bio, the better.
Artist Bio Examples
Writing a bio doesn’t have to be a large, complicated task. After all, it’s your own personal bio! You know your own professional career path better than anyone else, so be sure to answer any questions that your audience may have about it.
Need some ideas on what to include before you write your bio? Here are 5 excellent artist bio examples to help get you started:
Eileen Figueroa http://eileenartstudio135.com is a contemporary realist painter who lives and works in Houston, Texas. A native of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, her colorful paintings pay homage to her homeland. Her distinctive personal style emanates joy and peace and expresses the vibrant spirit and atmosphere of the Caribbean culture.
Picturesque landscapes, tropical birds and flowers, musical instruments, and farmers tending to their fields are all brought to life with contrasting and harmonious colors and bold compositions. As the artist explains, “I am a story teller and I welcome you to join me on this visual journey.”
As a child Figueroa received prizes for her innate talent. From a young age she has believed, “You can create anything once you see it in your mind.” She earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Florida A & M University and Master of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning from Florida State University — with honors. She is also the recipient of various Awards from the Amando Falcon Studio Gallery in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Figueroa’s artwork has been shown in exhibitions in Puerto Rico and the U.S., including “Dreams and Visions: The Artist Perspective”, and Color Show at Spring Studios Art Gallery, Houston, TX. One of her paintings was featured at the Houston Fine Arts Festival. She is a member of the invitational Manhattan Arts International Artists Showcase Gallery, a curated art program that rewards artistic excellence, in New York, N.Y. She has also served as a juror in The Many Faces of Mary Magdalene in Houston, TX.
In her decades-spanning practice, Carol Rama has explored sexuality and desire through different materials and mediums. Self-taught, Rama began painting as a means of dealing with family tragedies. In her early work in the 1930s and 1940s, she created lustful images of the female body, highlighting sexuality and pleasure as major themes. Rama later experimented with abstraction and assemblage in the vein of arte povera, using bicycle tires from her father’s factory before he declared bankruptcy and committed suicide. She returned to making paintings and watercolors in the 1980s. The recipient of the Golden Lion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Rama falls outside the confines of any particular artistic movement or period, but she remains a seminal figure and an important influence to artists such as Cindy Sherman and Kiki Smith.
Mary Pearson was born in Barnstaple in South West England in 1985. Having grown up both next to the sea and in close proximity to two National Parks her love of the outdoors grew tremendously. Throughout her life, Mary has always been fascinated by images and how the world is represented through the eyes of others. Naturally, she was drawn to photography. The interest was cultivated during her teenage years and further developed when she opted to take her Bachelors Degree in Photography.
After completing her degree, Mary delved even more into her photographic practice, which involved loss and regeneration of life. The images, that Mary takes on her walks in the landscape, are only part of the narrative. She uses the practice of burying her film negatives in the earth to allow the natural environment a voice. It is a collaboration between the artist and the land. Mary cherishes this connection with nature. She feels that the artistic exchange between the land and the artist opens up many opportunities.
Mary has also trained as a teacher, specializing in Further Education. She teaches 16-18-year-olds in order to help them foster the same enthusiasm that she has for photography. She is also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Photography at Plymouth University alongside her teaching.
Mary was selected as one of the Graduates featured in Source Magazine (2014), Ffotogallery Cardiff. In 2015, she was a finalist South West Graduate Prize. Her series called ‘Biosigna’ or Life Signals has been exhibited in London as well as in Bristol.
Mary lives and works in South Devon, surrounded by the sea and Dartmoor National Park.