Being an artist means not only making your art but of course promoting your art. But some would argue that you’re really promoting yourself. Regardless, you need to have a good resume.
Edward Winkleman’s blog recently had a great post about resumes/bios with some really valuable information (be sure to read the comments, too). I’ll just add to it by telling you how I deal with my resume.
I created a Word document titled, “current resume,” that I update frequently. This resume includes everything. I probably wouldn’t show this resume to anyone, but it’s nice to have it all documented in case it’s needed someday. I can edit this all inclusive resume and create an alternate resume for any given situation – applying for a teaching position, submitting a proposal to a gallery, applying for a job, etc.
The all inclusive resume is divided into categories and formatted appropriately. The categories include:
Name and contact information (I put this in the header and footer so it shows up on each page)
Exhibitions (separated by year and then into categories - solo, juried, and group)
Publications (in which I’m mentioned or my work is reviewed)
Collections (public and private)
Related Experience (volunteer positions, committees, boards, serving as a juror, etc.)
I edit down this information to create a resume to send to a gallery. I don’t include employment, lectures, teaching, or related experience because it’s not relevant. I also don’t include collections because I’m not in any major collections (sorry Mom).
In the gallery resume, I will include:
Name and Contact Information
Forthcoming Solo Exhibitions
Venue, Location, Date
Shelbyville Community College, Shelbyville, Missouri, 2007
I edit the exhibitions and title it, “Selected Exhibitions.” I don’t usually include open shows or member shows, as they aren’t all that impressive (everybody usually gets in, so it’s not considered prestigious). There’s a local exhibition that I enter frequently, so I won’t usually list that unless there was a particularly well-known juror or I won an award in the show. And I do usually include the juror. Some are more well-known than others, but I think it’s good to be consistent (if you list one, you might as well list them all).
"Freezing," Springfield Center for the Arts, Springfield, ME
"Big Time Invitational," The Palomino Gallery, Arlington, CA
"Super Cool Art Exhibition," Johnstown University, Johnstown, TX
"Simple Things 2005," Sprightly Art Center, Baltimore, OK
(Juror: Stacy Smith, Executive Director, Eagle Mountain Art Center, Chicago, IL)
Use a consistent, standard formatting method (such as MLA or APA).
Johnson, John. "Paintings fill art center with life." The Springfield Times 15 Oct. 2005: 7.
MFA, Studio Painting - Springfield University, Springfield, TX, 2005
Minor: Art History
This gallery resume focuses on exhibitions, collections, and education. If I were to apply for a teaching job, I would probably have a much longer resume, as more and varied activity is important for that type of position.
I don’t usually include a bio unless it is requested. I do have a short bio that I wrote myself, but I’m considering having a writer friend do a more extensive one for me.
Here are a few resources for writing an artist’s bio (some music and dance-related, but still relevant):
Music Biz Academy
This Business of Dance and Music
And some resources for resumes:
The Artist's Trust
An example of a CV (curriculum vitae) for teaching jobs: