If you follow this blog you know I consider a properly-written Artist’s Biography to be one of the most important art marketing tools. So, I’m delighted to present this article “5 Artist’s Biography Mistakes and How to Correct Them” by John R. Math, the Gallery Director of the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery. His online gallery conducts monthly themed online art competitions and art exhibitions for new and emerging artists on a worldwide basis. It is the gallery’s intention to help today’s artists to successfully market their art to a worldwide audience. In this informative article John R. Math provides valuable advice about writing the artist’s biography along with a strong dose of encouragement for artists of all career levels.
5 Artist’s Biography Mistakes and How to Correct Them
By John R. Math
During a normal year, we review and critique thousands of artist biographies, as we require this information as part of the Light Space & Time entry process for our monthly themed art competitions. Through this process, we have been able to identify the most common biography mistakes.
Hopefully from this list you can identify, correct and improve your existing biography. Here are what we see as the most common and correctable artist’s biography mistakes:
1. Not Telling Your Story
Tell the reader of your biography your story as an artist from the beginning of your pursuit of art until now. Your creative journey has been interesting and your artist’s biography should be too. A thoughtful and well-written artist’s biography should include the following information:
A. Anyone or anything that has influenced your artwork.
B. Your education or training in the field of art.
C. Any related experience in the field of art.
D. A short description of what you would like to achieve with your art.
2. Presenting Your Biography in the First Person
Many artists write their biography in the first person (i.e., “I did this…”, “I was influenced by…”, I intended to…”). Stop! Your biography should sound like it was written by someone else about you. “She did this…”, “He was influenced by…” She intended to…”. This is also true when creating a press release. It sounds more authoritative and professional to do it in this manner.
3. Substituting an Artist’s Statement with an Artist’s Biography
Sometimes in a poorly written artist biography the artist will include their artist’s statement as part of their artist’s biography. Or, midway through their biography, it will then become an artist’s statement. I believe the reason for this is that most people find it easier to talk and write about their art than to talk or write about themselves. For artists, writing in general is difficult enough, but writing about themselves is twice as difficult.
4. Providing a CV (Curriculum Vitae) Instead
A CV is a chronological resume of an artist’s experience within the art field. A CV provides the reader with a list of the artist’s education, experience, solo and group exhibitions, teaching experience, texts and awards etc. It is not a biography, it is a resume. This is not what someone wants from you when they request an artist’s biography.
5. Additional Common Errors
A. A biography that contains spelling errors is really bad. Be sure to spell check yours before you send it in or add it to your artist’s portfolio.
B. There is no excuse for a biography to have poor sentence structure or poor grammar. Have someone edit it for you.
C. Writing a biography that is too short or does not contain enough details about the artist.
D. Having a biography that is too long. In today’s fast paced world, a reader will not spend a lot of time reading an artist’s biography. Make the biography concise and easy to read.
E. If you lack experience in the art field (See Number 1 above), no problem. Go back and tell that story about yourself and explain how you have gotten to the point of calling yourself an artist.
F. Forgetting to provide contact information. Name, address, telephone number, email address and a website should all be included.
Experience, no matter how little or how much, may be important in some areas of the arts, but for artists who want to create, show and sell their art, it is overrated. Its all about the art!
There is a whole generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out wanting to be in the arts but life came along an interrupted their dreams. They may have 40 or 50 year gaps in their biography. Embrace that gap and tell us how your artistic dream was derailed but not forgotten. Be open and be honest as all of this is part of your artistic journey.
As artists, we all had to start somewhere in our artistic quest. Some artists are just setting out. Other artists may have a great deal of education and experience in the art field.
In life, we all have different paths. This is as true in the arts as in any other endeavor. Your biography should be personal and portray the enthusiasm that has brought you to this point.
Visit John R. Math’s Light Space & Time online gallery at www.lightspacetime.art