As an artist career consultant, writer and curator I visit dozens of artist’s websites every day. I notice that many artists are not paying enough attention to what they share about themselves with visitors. This bothers me, as I want you to achieve your fullest potential as an artist. In this article, I provide some of the mistakes to avoid when writing your artist’s biography.
You may also want to read samples I’ve written of artist’s biographies that appear here. They will help to guide you when you write yours. If you need further personalized assistance with either editing or writing your artist’s biography, let me know. You can check out my writing services for artists.
Sharing too much insignificant information
Keep in mind, this is a business document, not an autobiography. The emphasis should be on what you have achieved in your art career and your professional credentials. Avoid writing about your personal tales and woes, unless they have direct relationship with your art.
Using excessive art jargon or esoteric language
If you want to appeal to a broad art consumer market consider the level of art knowledge of your visitors. Speak to them in a language that is easily understood. Write in a friendly, approachable and professional manner.
Now that we’re living in The Information Age, art buyers are savvy about the difference between earned and “paid for” art credentials. And, when these items are obvious in your artist’s biography, you’ll lose credibility among art professionals, including legitimate gallery owners, who visit your website.
If you want to see which galleries are classified as “vanity” galleries, read this article.
Neglecting important achievements
Take a long look at your resume and select the best achievements to write about in your artist’s biography. This is not the time to be shy or overly modest. Your artist’s biography should bring attention to your hard-earned accomplishments including awards, special commissions, public collections, and praise from art writers.
Ignoring typographical and grammatical errors
Proofread a dozen times and have a friend who excels in writing or a professional editor also read it before you publish it. If you appear as though you aren’t thorough or don’t pay attention to important details readers might doubt if you ignore other important aspects about your artwork or your professional conduct.
Writing a weak first paragraph
Truth be told, most of your visitors will scan your written content, and may only read your first paragraph to decide if they want to remain on your website. So, deliver a strong, descriptive, impressive and memorable first paragraph. Needless to say, also apply this rule throughout your entire artist’s biography.
To read examples on how to add magic to your artist’s biography, especially the beginning of it, read this article.
Using an inferior quality artist’s photograph
Choose a photograph to accompany your artist’s biography that expresses the distinctive assets of your artistic personality. Be creative. If you paint en plein air, use a photograph of you outdoors at the easel. If you are a sculptor or photographer, show yourself in action.
Notice Bren Sibilsky’s photograph here, and how much it says about her as an artist and her art. Consider adding an interesting descriptive caption below the photograph.
Whatever image you select, make sure it is high quality and cropped properly without any visual distractions.
Writing too much or too little
When visitors visit your “About” page they want to gain insight about you as a creative person and your professional achievements. How many significant credentials you’ve acquired will determine the length. On a website, most often 3-4 paragraphs with 3-4 sentences each will suffice, or around 250 words. If you have a CV or resume (your career accomplishments in an organized listing format), provide a link to that page or present it below your artist’s biography on the same page.
Naturally, if you’re writing an artist’s biography for other purposes, such as to accompany a grant application or gallery submission, it should be longer.
Failing to Update Your Artist’s Biography
Few things are more depressing than visiting an artist’s website and seeing that they haven’t updated their artist’s biography in a year or more. If visitors read that your best achievements took place in the distant past, you can expect to lose their interest. I urge you to review your artist’s biography seasonally and update it as your career grows.
Do you need help?
I love writing artist’s biographies and I have decades of experience. If you need further personalized assistance with either editing or writing your artist’s biography let me know. Here’s a link to my services.
How to Write Your Artist’s Biography e-Book
I’ve written a comprehensive e-Book with many step-by-step guidelines and examples of artist’s statements. Whatever career status you happen to have at this time — whether you’re a beginner or advanced artist or returning to your career after a hiatus — this e-Book will provide excellent advice for you to write the best artist’s statement possible. Learn more about this e-Book and how to order it now.