Tell Me About Yourself
Nearly every time you participate in a show, you will be asked to provide a Bio or Artist Statement. While it can be hard for some people to write about themselves, this gives you the perfect opportunity to describe your brand in your own words and make your intentions clear. You should also include some form of a Bio or Artist Statement on your website and social media profiles.
An Artist Statement describes a specific body of work and the techniques and thought process you employed. They are often posted beside an exhibit of your work to give the audience a way to contextualize what they see. You must write your statement in first person, e.g. “I am exploring the phenomenon of signification, or the representation of ideas by way of simplified signs or icons”.
Read through my current Artist Statement for an example:
I am exploring the phenomenon of signification, or the representation of ideas by way of simplified signs or icons. Using cutout and collage techniques, I examine sacred and secular iconography, calling attention to their archetypal underpinnings. I continue to feel the pull of a childhood devoted in equal parts to the Bible and Marvel Comics.
A Bio describes the story of your career, including exhibits, commissions, and creative roles you filled. Was one of your exhibits a clunker? Include it anyway! Readers don’t need to know the details behind the event — they will simply be impressed that you had a show. Only include personal information where it is relevant to your brand. For example, your education history is not appropriate unless you attended a major art school. Finally, you must write your Bio in third person, e.g. “Dean Johnson studied fine Art at Columbia College Chicago….”
Take a look at my current Bio for an example:
Dean Johnson studied Fine Art at Columbia College Chicago, where he earned his Bachelor Degree. He serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Publishers Resource Center and is its Arts Coordinator. He was named a Top-Rated Teacher by Dabble for his art workshops. He is a co-founder of Northside Independent Artists (NIA), which produces and curates art shows. He was Lead Organizer for Art on Ashland, the East Village Art Walk. Dean’s work has appeared in the Alumni on 5 exhibit, at Catholic Charities Gala of the Arts at Navy Pier, and in a long-running show at Natural Elements Salon. Dean’s commissions include numerous portrait paintings, as well as postcard designs for theater companies TUTA and Darknight Theatrical Productions; flyer designs for rock band Arch Visceral Parlor and DJ Elle Madelyn; logo designs for Souls Journey Life Coaching and Athletic Souls; and illustrations for author John Wawrzaszek.
You may not feel like you have much of a story to tell right now, but your story will write itself as you continue to work in the art community. Stick with it, and before long you will have many accomplishments to write about!