How to Write an Artist Biography

What Is The Artist’s Biography?

While an artist resume and artist CV may seem similar to many artists, the artist bio is quite a bit different.  The biography serves more as a story rather than the credentials.  Typically the biography is written in editorial style, rather than the listing format of a CV or resume.  

Your bio will be used in various places and many applications and calls for art require differing lengths of artist bios.  It’s a good idea to create a short and long version of your biography that you can have on hand for varying submission requirements.

Often times artist biographies are used on “About the Artist” pages on personal websites, social media platforms, cover letters for galleries, press releases and editorials, and call for entry adjudication.

What information should you include in your artist bio?

  1. Open with something that encapsulates you as an artist before beginning the more biographical information. “Jane Doe is known for her …”
  2. Basic personal information such as: 
    • Where you reside
    • Where you are from
    • Formal education and training
  3. Your story as an artist:
    • Your artistic influences
    • What inspires you as an artist
    • What techniques you use
    • Artists you've worked under/with
  4. Professional Work & Recognitions
    • Awards you’ve won
    • Recognitions from media (newspaper, radio, television, websites)
    • Commissions and other accomplishments
    • Art shows you have curated or judged
  5. Wrap up / Conclusion
    • Brief overview
    • Links to any websites or recent publications
    • Note: try to keep the length down 

When writing your artist biography keep your audience in mind

It’s typically a good idea to write you bio in ‘Third Person’, where you refer to yourself as ‘he or she’ instead of ‘me, I, or my’.  Know who will be reading your biography and tailor your writing for them.  Will they be interested in your upcoming projects or more interested in your historical work?  Basic demographics about your reading audience are also helpful such as age, gender, ethnicity, culture, etc.

Show your bio to another well-established artist 

Get another pair of eyes on your writing.  Have a fellow artist review your artist bio and give tips on items that can be excluded or items that should be included based on your artist style and portfolio. Think of this like a portfolio review for a student! It also helps to have a non-artist review the bio for editing mistakes or typos.

Don’t write just one

You’ll want to write at least two versions of your artist bio (a short form and longer form) as well as revise and add/remove information as your art portfolio and career evolve. For example, on a website artist biography, you have a bit more freedom with length, but for social media platforms and other online systems you may be limited to the amount of data accepted.

What to avoid

We’ve given several tips on items that should be included in your artist bio, but here are a few things you want to avoid in your biography:

  • Field jargon or flowery language
  • Self-praise – don’t get carried away with self-praise.  Keep facts simple and concise
  • Repetition or lengthy wording
  • Grammar and language mistakes
  • Life situation or personal details (illness, addiction, overcoming obstacles, etc.)
  • Quotes from other famous artists or authors.  This is yourbiography

ArtCall.org Portfolio sites make publishing your artist bio incredibly easy, as we have a built in “About the Artist” page that has an editable field for Artist Bio and Artist Statement, as well as CV!  If you don’t already have your artist portfolio website setup, Setup Your Artist Website!

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