Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Write a Better Artist Bio & Artist Statement - Part 1

Oh, the infamous artist bio & statement! Every artist who is considering entering a show, hanging their work in a gallery, or selling their work (both online and off) will need an artist bio and statement to promote themselves and their work.

I am a professional bio writer and my primary clientele is artists. I know that when most artists realize they have to sit down and write a bio, they start to stress out. They aren’t usually writers, they communicate everything through their work. They would rather not have to go through the painful process of writing about themselves, but they know that in order to move forward with their career, they need it. That’s when they usually e-mail me, asking if I can write their bio for them.

But if you’re a good writer and you’re feeling ready to tackle writing your artist bio and your statement, this information will be beneficial to you. Maybe you’re just not sure how long it should be or what to include or if there’s any sort of format you should stick to. If that is the case, then the rest of this blog series should really help – I’m about to share all of my bio writing secrets with you!

  • Keep it between 200-500 words. That’s about a half a page to a full page in Times New Roman, 12 pt font. When someone is reading your bio, they want to hear your story, but they probably aren’t quite ready to read a novel about you yet.
  • Your bio should be written in third person. This means rather than writing “I have been painting for 15 years…” you will want to write “Katherine has been painting for 15 years…” It should be written as if someone else is writing about you.
  • The first paragraph should grab their attention. It should be short and concise, but give an accurate description of who you are and your work. This is a good place to briefly highlight a couple of your biggest accomplishments, without getting into too much detail. It should be interesting as well as informative, and make them want to read more.
  • The next 1-3 paragraphs (depending on the length of your bio and how much you have to say) should get into your backstory. Tell them the journey from when you first started drawing to how you got to where you are now. I always recommend sharing the difficulties that you experienced along the way. People love to hear how people overcame things to chase after their dreams, because they like knowing that you are human. The more vulnerable you are willing to be in your bio, the more people will connect with your story and be more likely to connect with your work as well. You don’t need all of the details here, just the most important ones.
  • The last 1-3 paragraphs should highlight any other interesting things about you – your greatest moments, your reason for doing what you do, programs or charities you are involved in, projects you are working on, what’s unique about your style – anything that you think will help give your readers a better picture of who you are and your art. I usually try to end the bio on a high note, with a statement that ties everything together and sums up your art and why you create. The last paragraph should really leave a clear and positive image in their mind of who you are and what makes you unique.
Check back next week for more information on writing a good bio and some tips on how to write your artist statement, too!


Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing your expertise ! : ) Rebecca

Tien Frogget said...

Rebecca -- you're very welcome!