+ Create an artist statement, bio & resume by Alexandra Copley
what is an ARTIST STATEMENT? An artist's statement is a short document written by the artist which provides a window into the artist's world. It offers insight into a single piece or an entire body of work and by describing the artist's creative process, philosophy, vision, and passion. It enlightens and engages while at the same time giving the audience - potential buyers, exhibition curators, critics, fellow artists, or casual browsers - the freedom to draw their own conclusions. An artist's statement reads easily, is informative, and adds to the understanding of the artist.
what isn't an Artist's Statement? An artist's statement is not a resume, a biography, a list of accomplishments and awards, a summary of exhibitions, or a catalogue of works. It is not insignificant and should not be hastily written. It is not difficult to understand, pretentious, irritating, or (gasp!) laughter-provoking.
why should you write an ARTIST STATEMENT? People who love an artist's work generally want to know more about the artist. Your statement will help your viewers answer questions they may have about your art. When viewers have answers, their delight in what you do increases, and they have more reasons to take your work home with them. The artist's statement is therefore an effective marketing tool, building a bridge between artist and audience. But the artist's statement isn't just for them. In putting your art into words, you might find that ideas and thoughts you once had become more concrete. Your writing may open new channels in your mind and take you in new artistic directions. You might discover more about yourself.
what information should be included? Why do you create art and what does it mean to you? How does the creation of art make you feel? What emotions do you wish to convey? If the statement refers to a specific piece, why did you choose to represent this piece in this way? What do you call the piece and why? What materials did you use? What are the dimensions of the piece? What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work? What message are you trying to convey to the viewer?
How much time is spent creating your pieces? How is your work a reflection of you? What artists (living or dead) have influenced you? What is your vision/philosophy? What are your goals for the future? What are your techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium? How do your techniques and style relate to your vision/philosophy?
how long should it be? The answer to this question depends on what kind of person you are. Are you the kind of person that gets right to the point, or do you like to tell stories and paint images for people in words? The key here is to express how you feel and create a statement that stands on its own and makes you happy. Remember that people usually don't have the patience to spend a lot of time reading, so it's better to err on the shorter side. Several sources recommend an artist's statement be around three paragraphs (total of 100 words), and others say that a statement of up to one page is acceptable.
what kind of language should I use? Keep your statement clear and concise. Avoid flowery language and "artspeak". This only lengthens and weakens your statement. From a business perspective, the more you can relate to your viewer, the better your chances are of selling your work. Some specific terms you may wish to mention in your statement are the elements of art (line, colour, shape, value, space, form, and texture), and the principles of design (balance, emphasis, movement, harmony/unity, pattern, rhythm, proportion, and variety). These terms have the advantage of being art-related without being esoteric and pretentious. Use language that is comfortable to you, and let your words flow.
AGAIN… Some specific terms you may wish to mention in your statement are the elements of art (line, colour, shape, value, space, form, and texture), and the principles of design (balance, emphasis, movement, harmony/unity, pattern, rhythm, proportion, and variety).
start with the basics… Jot down some basic information about the photos included in this collection. Are they color? Do they have a common theme? Were they all taken in a similar location? Having a short list of details will help later when you are trying to tie everything together.
try not to get too technical… Nobody reading the statement will care if you shot with a Canon 5D or if Photoshop is your post-processing software of choice. If there are some truly unique elements involved in the work (printed on a special material or you shot through a hand-crafted lens, for example), feel free to include that information. Otherwise, leave out the details about your gear.
what would you like someone else to say of this work? This is possibly the best way to get to the heart of why you took these photos. If you would love for someone to say “these photos bring sunshine to my home”, then you already have a pretty good starting point for your statement. Lead off with something like “I have done my job as an artist if these photos bring happiness and warmth to your home”.
try not to pat yourself on the back too much… It is fine to say you are proud of this body of work, but try not to go overboard with the self praise. I have seen statements that say things like “an expert of her craft, this photographer captures beauty in a way that nobody else has”. I understand the value of confidence and selling yourself, but these kinds of descriptions will be a turnoff to a lot of people.
how do you deal with that blank page? The more art you do, the better artist you become. The more writing you do, the better writer you become. Here are some suggestions for eliminating that blank page. Write every day if possible - it only needs to take a few minutes, and there's nothing lost. Any writing is writing practice.
exercises… Gather your favorite writing materials. Treat yourself to a new pen and a spiral-bound notebook, or pour yourself a favorite hot drink while you sit at the computer. You need to enjoy using your writing materials in order to enjoy writing. Allow yourself some uninterrupted time. Turn the ringer off, and if you're handwriting, turn off the computer. Create an environment that is conducive to writing. Remove your internal editor. With your eyes closed, visualize your internal editor, the person who censors your thoughts. With your eyes still closed, tell them that you don't need them around, and escort them out the door or lock them in a closet. Come back in the room and open your eyes. Be watchful - your editor will try to sneak back in and whisper their unwelcome commentary. Remind them to go away while you write.
Talk to yourself. Each time you start working on your art, tell yourself, "I will listen to my inner thoughts and capture them in my conscious mind". Ask yourself while you’re working, "What am I thinking at this moment?” The alien exercise. If an alien were to land in your studio, how would you explain to him/her/it what you do? The desert island. You are being sent away to live alone on a desert island. You are allowed to bring all your art supplies. They're a given. But what else will you bring for inspiration? You can only paint so many sunsets and weave so many baskets before you become cocoNUTS. Make a list of 15 things that will inspire you. Sentence sentence. Write down words that come into your head. They don't need to be in the form of sentences until the last stage of writing, when you unlock your personal editor from the closet. When you finish a piece, write down one positive thought about the creation of the piece, one negative thought about the creation of the piece, and one interesting (hmmm) thought you had while creating the piece.
can an ARTIST STATEMENT change? Yes! An artist's statement is a living document that should change because you change. Your statement could be updated at about the same rate that you might update a resume, in the least. At the most, review your statement each time you create a new piece, to see if your thoughts still have meaning for you. Review your statement when you experience profound events that alter your creative vision.
EXAMPLES…. Jonathan H. Dough - Artist StatementMy artwork takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. In my work, I deconstruct the American dream, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and lullabies that are part of our childhood and adult culture. Having engaged subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music and modernist architecture, my work reproduces familiar visual signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces. Often times these themes are combined into installations that feature mundane domestic objects painted blue, juxtaposed with whimsical objects, and often embellished with stenciled text. The color blue establishes a dream-like surreal quality, suggests notions of calmness and safety, and formally unifies the disparate objects in each installation. The texts provide clues to content and interpretation. While I use a variety of materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. Although there may not always be material similarities between the different projects they are linked by recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work. Each project often consists of multiple works, often in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings. During research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work.
LAUREN GREENFIELD From Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, 2002) Girl Culture has been my journey as a photographer, as an observer of culture, as part of the media, as a media critic, as a woman, as a girl.The photographs in this book and exhibition are both very personal and very public. They are about what is private and what is public and where the line that divides the two lies, when that line exists at all anymore. They are about the popular culture that we share and the way the culture leaves its imprint on individuals in their most public and private moments. They are about the girls I photographed. They are also about me. I cannot say exactly when I began this project. I was enmeshed in girl culture before I was a photographer, and I was photographing girl culture before I realized I was working on Girl Culture. The first part of this process was making sense of what I had been drawn to for years in my photography, the themes and subject matter I visited again and again. Unlike other projects I’ve worked on, this one was less like building with blocks and more like deciphering code. The elements were all there, almost from the beginning. I simply needed to identify them, understand their importance, find the connections, and look for the big picture. Though my nature is cerebral and controlling, the process of making these photographs was intuitive and associative. It was less narrative and intellectual than my usual journalistic approach – which somehow made it feel truer, as though it was coming froma place deeper than the mind. Of course, its truth is a subjective one, as true as one’s perception of oneself in the mirror.
Alexandra Copley (Fields to Factory) A cultural convergence is happening between Mexico and America. The combination of traditions and language is evident in every town from north to south. Weaving of culture and ideas is a way of visualizing the notion of transculturalism, the movement of culture over borders and over time. The origins of Mexican migrant customs in America lie in agriculture and manifest in the social and physical landscape of both nations. The resulting hybridity of cultures creates an intricate, woven layer in my mind. I live in a community where the nearest grocery store is a Mexican Super-Mart. There is a taqueria on the corner of my block and the landscapers who mow my lawn are all from Morelia, Mexico. I have become an observer and participant of this weave of people and ideas resulting in a fluidity and resilience of cultural meaning that becomes imprinted on society through migratory immigrants from Mexico. This series of work incorporates photographic and video imagery that represents social movement, exchange, migration and the subtle scenes of life weaving in and out of our consciousness. These images reveal the emerging cultural impacts of migrant workers in American and Mexican societies whileconsidering nationalism, territories, and belonging. It is a documentation of those who are changing American life influenced by the ideas of transculturalism and transnationalism that exist in the American and Mexican landscape.
what is an ARTIST BIOGRAPHY? Your professional artist bio is kind of like your résumé in paragraph form (but less boring). It highlights your top accomplishments — usually with the most recent and most important at top.
Your bio gets to the point. It’s not a place for you to share everything you’ve ever done or get into your personal life. Your bio is written in 3rd person unless it’s an autobiography, in which case you’d use the 1st person.
Your biography is the hint at the story of your life, not so much your art, but YOU. Where and when were you born, who are your parents (were they artists?), where and how did you grow up? What led you to an artistic path? Some artists do not want to share personal information with the public. How much you do is YOUR CHOICE!
So what is the purpose of the artist's BIO? It is to help the artist make a human connection to potential buyers. People connect with one another in many ways, but sometimes it is simply, "Oh, you are from St. Paul? My parents grew up there!" or "You are one of 6 kids? Me, too!" or "You grew up as a military brat? Well, I have traveled a lot, too." Your bio need not to be long; bonus points for relevancy to your art career.
try this… (Full name) is a (state)-based photographer(profession or verb+er) who specializes in (list of two adjectives/types of photography). She is currently (verb+ing) a (noun) that will be (published/exhibited/for sale) in (date). You may contact (first name) at (website or email address)
things to consider… Where you are from When you were born What you are creating Your background in this medium (schooling, past projects, shows, awards…) What you are working on currently (themes, projects, ideas…) Where you live now Written in the 3rd person Cool picture
examples… -Standard short bio Born in 1967 in Mexico City, Ortega is the leading Mexican artist of the generation that emerged in the wake of the influence of Gabriel Orozco and Francis Alÿs. Ortega studied with Orozco in the informal studio class established in the older artist’s atelier in the late 1980s. There, he absorbed the acute attention to form associated with Orozco’s sculpture and photography, subsequently refining his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerged through his focus on the points of intersection between architecture, sculpture, and spatial analysis. Ortega’s work can be found in myriad of public and private art collections both in the United States and abroad, and has been seen in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Mexico City. R.H. Quaytman is a painter living and work in New York City. She was born in 1961. Her B.A. in Painting was received from Bard College. Subsequent to that she attended the Post-Graduate program in painting at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Ireland. In 1989 she was invited to the Institut Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques, Paris, France, where she studied with Daniel Buren and Pontus Hulton. She was also a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in 1992. She was a founding member and the Director of a cooperative gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side called Orchard. Her work is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery and Vilma Gold Gallery in London. She is currently on the faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Recent group exhibitions include Painting Now and Forever Part II, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York; The Man Whose Shoes Squeaked, Richard Telles, Los Angeles; Crossing the Line, Queens Museum of Art, Queens; Lódz Biennial, Poland; Denial is a River, at the Sculpture Center, Queens; and From One O to the Other at Orchard, New York. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Miguel Abreu Gallery in Manhattan and Vilma Gold Gallery in London. Her book Allegorical Decoys was recently published by MER Press.
Example of a short Biography The Wade Brothers - photography / directing / creative support. The Wade Brothers are David Lindsey Wade and sibling Lyndon Wade who are each recognized as one of the top lifestyle, fashion and advertising photographers in the world. They have received worldwide acclaim and exposure for their work in all forms of media. Additionally their work appears in galleries around the world. Development of CONTENT is the beginning of all communication. We imagine a sense of place and sensation, and create images and videos that tell a cohesive story whether for film or print.
One Page Biography: Camille Utterback, interactive media, new media Camille Utterback is a pioneering artist and programmer in the field of interactive installation. Her work has been exhibited at galleries, festivals, and museums internationally including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; The NTT InterCommunication Center, Tokyo; The Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Netherlands Institute for Media Art; The Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art; The Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev, Ukraine; and the Ars Electronica Center, Austria. Utterback's work is in private and public collections including The La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, Spain. Awards include a Transmediale International Media Art Festival Award (2005), a Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship (2002) and a commission from the Whitney Museum for the CODeDOC project on their ArtPort website (2002). Utterback holds a US patent for a video tracking system she developed while working as a research fellow at New York University (2004). She was selected as a member of the 'TR100 - the top 100 innovators of the year under 35' by MIT's Technology Review (2002) and by Res Magazine as artist pick of the year for their "Annual Res 10 - Ten people who are making a difference in their field" (2000). Her work has been featured in Art in America (October, 2004), Wired Magazine (February 2004), The New York Times (2003, 2002, 2001), ARTnews (2001) and many other publications. It is also included in Thames & Hudson's 'World of Art - Digital Art' book (2003) by Christiane Paul. In addition to creating her own artwork, Utterback develops long term and permanent installations for commercial and museum settings via her company Creative Nerve, Inc. Creative Nerve commissions include work for The American Museum of Natural History in New York, The Pittsburgh Children's Museum, The Manhattan Children's Museum, Herman Miller, Shiseido Cosmetics, and other private corporations. Her work has helped clients win industry awards including Best Showroom at Neocon, 2001 (Herman Miller), and a Communication Arts Exhibit Design award, 2002 (American Museum of Natural History). Utterback holds a BA in Art from Williams College, and a Masters degree from The Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Camille has also taught in the MFA Design of Technology department at the Parsons School of Design, and the Interactive Telecommunication Program at New York University, both in New York City.
What is an ARTIST RESUME? Think of your resumé as your art job history. This includes any education that you have, especially as it pertains to your art (or general intelligence); your art exhibits; TV, radio, or newspaper interviews; professional art jobs, commissions, or projects; membership in art organizations; or charities you have donated art to; and important (museum, corporate or private) collections your work is in.
Do not be intimidated if you do not have a long list of art-related accomplishments. Everyone starts somewhere. Most viewers just want an idea of where you are in your artistic path. And those with long lists need not list EVERY event, just highlight the important ones.
An ART resume should include the following… Name and Contact Information In this section, first you have to mention your full name at the top of page and it should be larger in font size than the remaining information presented in the resume. Then you need to write your mailing address, email address, phone number, fax number and Website (if any). Education After providing your personal information, list all the honors received and academic degrees earned. Mention schools, colleges, and universities you attended. You can also list the additional classes or workshops you attended and the notable teachers or artists you have studied with. Honors and Awards/Grants Mention all your merits, prizes won by you, grants received, exhibitions held, competitions, scholarships, fellowships and other recognitions.
Bibliography Under this category, mention all articles on your work, television and radio interviews, reviews in magazines, books, catalogues and newspapers who have published your art work. Exhibitions In the exhibition section, list the exhibitions you have made, along with their details likes name, place, space etc. Also, you can divide this section into separate categories such as; group shows, solo shows, invitational exhibitions, exhibitions etc. Collections This section can be divided into corporate collections, private collections and permanent public collections. Seek permissions before mentioning the name of the private owner of your work in the resume. Professional Affiliations Mention professional organizations, local, regional and national to which you belong. If you have served as a volunteer or held a position within the organization, then mention this information as well.
Related Work Experience / Professional Experience In this field, artists may write about the experiences that they feel are relevant to their profession and making career. This may include: teaching art technical experience related to their artistic discipline jobs held in their field workshops, lectures and presentations given by them as an artist. REFERENCES BY REQUEST
Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume? The primary differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are the length, what is included and what each is used for A CV is at least a two page summary of your skills, experience and education and more detailed synopsis While a resume is brief and concise - no more than a page or two
CV A curriculum vitae includes a summary of your educational and academic backgrounds as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations, software knowledge and other details. link