Most of us search for the right way to write an artist bio. As an artist and a photographer, I know the importance of bio.It might also be confusing writing an artist bio and writing an artist statement, and which one to use in your portfolio. Many might be quite commercial and don’t represent the work as an art photographer. Your bio is the first introduction to your art and experience, it should be done properly. Here I’m sharing the most important things to remember when building your artist bio.
How to write an artist bio
Your bio should represent you as an artist visually but also content-wise. It should accurately describe what you do and how you’re doing it. If analog photography is essential to your work, it should be written in your bio. Any specific themes you work with can be added too. Make sure you know who is your work for?
The bio is usually about 120-150 words long introduction text which you add when applying to exhibitions or shows. This is not to be confused with your CV or an artist statement.
What to write in your bio
- Your name
- Year of birth and country is considered professional
- Your medium and methodology
- The themes you work with (and why they are important)
You can also add other information like exhibitions, collaborations, and projects – past or recent that you find relevant.
Examples of different bios
Here are some examples I found on different bios. You can choose the writing style you use, and it should emphasize your themes and overall narrative in your work. For example, if you work with sensuality and subjects of vulnerability, you might find poetic writing work better.
Jane Yudelman was born in South Africa, grew up in England, and now divides her time between Massachusetts and Maine. Having worked professionally for many years in poverty-alleviation programs around the world, she turns to photography to remind herself of the beauty that exists in a world of economic, social, and political injustice. Her photography focuses on discovering abstract expressions of this beauty in the natural world.
You can see how this bio is very straightforward and underlines the artist’s experiences and how she turned them into visual narratives in her work. She also brings up her origin, which can generally communicate why some themes are of interest to the artist. There was no mention of the methodology she uses, but once you look at her work you definitely see an abstract element.
Rita Anttila‘s photography shows a very personal insight into how to translate and process feelings and memories into an own room with a view – Her perspective reads far more like a poem than a photograph as her images capture the very thin balance between who she is, where she comes from, and where she dreams to go: Anttila aims to depict a poetic awareness whereas death defines her perception of longing – it lingers in her chest and decays a memory. In order to make sense of it, she reads poetry. Through these personal aesthetics, she searches atonement for a yearning that feels endless.
This is a great example of poetic writing style; addressing more of how the work makes the artist feel instead of what it actually presents. In poetic writing, it is essential to understand not to describe the work too abstractly, for it to be understandable for the audience. Looking at her work you can see the clear absence of something and that translates into the longing she writes about.
What to consider while writing your bio?
Make sure you know who your audience is and why are you working with the themes present in your work. Regardless if it’s difficult to narrow your themes, it is easier for your audience to immediately understand what it is you’re doing and relate to it on a personal level. The audience who can relate to your work is more likely to feel compelled to engage with it. This should also be true in your bio. Make it punctual and interesting. I was always told in art academy to remember; ‘Would your mother understand it if she’d read it?‘
In any case, your bio should have a nice flow to it and is understandable. And don’t be afraid of someone proofreading it, that is the only way to improve and find out what doesn’t work.