August 15th, 2018

Guide To Writing A Great Artist Bio

Published in RAW Features

Brought to you by our team: Devin Laster


 

Purpose

An artist bio is extremely important as it very well may be your introduction to agencies, companies, collectors and more. Aside from this piece of literature connecting you to the art world, it’s also important because often times it’s the personality of the artist that sells the work, not the work itself.

Think about the paintings you’ve seen by Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock or any other abstract and eclectic artist. You may have heard people say “I could have done that” or “that looks like something my child painted”. But the works by the aforementioned artists sell for tens of millions of dollars every single year because we know who the artist is, we know their history.

Your bio is your history up to this very moment. A riveting bio will create value to the work you produce. It is widely known in the art community that you’re selling yourself, not the art.

 

Context

We live in a world that is oversaturated and overpopulated with information. Due to the increase in social media outlets and their formats, there has been a decrease in our attention spans.

Everything from commercialess media streaming services to movie trailers being as short as one minute long, we are exposed to direct and “straight to the point” content. It is vital to take this information into account when forming your artist bio.

The ideal length for your bio is 120 words. People will lose interest after that mark. Remember our attention spans! You also want your reader to want to learn more about you. Think of the end of a film that sets up the last scene for a sequel. You, as the viewer, are excited and you want to know what happens next. This is the feeling you want your reader to experience.
 

 

Now let's proceed to writing your bio, which consists of three parts:

 

An Opening 

Avoid an intro that states where you’re from or what school you attended. This doesn’t say much about you as an artist. Instead, start off with something unique about you as an artist. Choose something that sets you apart from other creatives alike. Your first few lines is like a first impression, you want this to be strong and memorable.

 

The Body

In the body of your bio be sure to include the answers to the following necessary questions: 

  • What are your influences?

  • What is your style of art?

  • What themes do you cover?

  • What mediums do you work in?

  • What techniques do you use?

Choose one or two pieces to speak about in great detail. These pieces should be something that distinguishes you from other artists, should be something pertaining to your unique style. You also want to make sure that you put exhibition titles in quotations and artwork titles in italics, simply a standard with artist bios.

 

In Closing 

Start your ending with information regarding your future. Answer the following questions...

  • Where do you plan on taking your artistic career?

  • What are some of your goals as an artist?

The final question you should answer is a very vague but extremely important one...

  • What makes you an artist?

The answer to this question leaves the reader with the profound and vital reason that makes you wake up every morning, that encourages you to push yourself to reach new heights, that moves and motivates you. The answer to this question will leave the reader understanding that you don’t only produce art, but you are art. Finally, double and triple check spelling and grammar then you’re ready to send your bio off to the destination of your choosing.