Writing an Artist Biography

Writing and Artist Biography

Your artist biography is simply your story as an artist. A biography is one of the most important pieces of information you will need for your website, for any gallery that you may find yourself in, or a large group or solo exhibition. 

Many artists confuse a biography with a resume or CV (curriculum vitae). A resume is simply a listing of the shows and galleries that you have been in. I'll cover writing a resume in another video. Unlike a resume which is written as a list, a biography is written as a story about you, typically written in the third person.

This story of you as a painter could answer several questions:

  • How did you get your start as a painter?
  • Why did you become a painter?
  • What serves as your inspiration?
  • What is your education?
  • What is your experience?
  • Where are you from/where do you live?
  • Why do you paint?
  • What is your painting process?
  • What is your life like outside of painting?

If you're like me. you may have different versions that you use for different purposes. The version I provide my galleries is the longest version. I use a shorter version, written a bit differently for my website. And a third is used for teaching venues which may be only one paragraph in length. Each is written specifically for the intended purpose, organization, format or venue that I am working with.

There are a couple of good books that I recommend you take a look at for writing your biography, and also for the great art business information contained within each. The first is "I'd Rather be in the Studio" by Alyson Stanfield and the second is "Starving to Successful" by Jason Horejs. Two really good books that every artist should have in their library.

One way to think about your biography is to consider it like you would an article written about you in an art magazine. How do you think the writer of the article would approach it? What questions would the writer ask in trying to communicate what you do to others? How would the story help others understand you and what you do? The article surely would have pictures of both you and your artwork so that readers can see the type of work you do and to connect your work and you as a person.

Pictures of you in your biography are very important, particularly on your website. You are trying to get people to connect with you and your artwork, so making it as personal as possible for them will help them make that connection. It's not that people care what you look like, they just want to see what you look like. You're the face of your business and pictures of you are important. I always recommend hiring a professional photographer to take some pictures of you in your studio with your paintings around you - or maybe you're painting or mixing paint, etc.

The artist biography is an extremely important piece of information for you to have. Get started on it and take your time writing it to make sure it effectively communicates your story as an artist to others.

If you're interested in attending a workshop with me in 2018, check out my list of upcoming workshops: (You can view a list of 2018 workshops HERE)

  • February 1-3 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. To register contact David: david@davidmkessler.com or Register Online HERE(SOLD OUT)
  • February 21-23 Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, Fort Smith, AR. To register contact Casey Seamons: casey@fsram.org
  • March 9-11 Arts and Design Society, Fort Walton Beach, FL. To register contact Hanna Joensuu: hanna222@cox.net.
  • March 21-23 Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona, Tucson, AZ. To register contact Jan Sennewald: jsennewald@comcast.net.

As always, thanks so much for your support! 


P.S. I am so excited to introduce my newest online course, Art Biz 101. It is specifically designed for creatives who want to start their own art business:

Art Biz 101 will give you the tools and information you need to create the art business of your dreams. You can learn more about the program by Clicking HERE.