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Need Tips for Writing an Artist Bio

I'm getting around to putting together a website, and I'm kind of stumped on how to approach the bio page.
I'm new to painting (2 years now) so I've never written an artist bio before which is why I guess it seems daunting. Main questions:

1) Should it be in first person or 3rd person? I've read many different opinions on this.
2) Is it o.k. if the bio is REALLY short, like a three or four sentence paragraph? 

Thanks for any other suggestions as well.

Bucky
MichaelDPaulB

Comments

  • I can show you the one I use with the gallery if you like.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited September 29
    @dencal that statement looks like it was plagiarized from a want ad for a psychologist. Just kidding. I've seen many of that genre of artists who are interested in people knowing their agenda or objective in art. I think of a bio as something more like what forum members write in their introductions. I suppose it is different for an artist transitioning to a professional level. 

    1. who I am
    2 where I came from and/or where I want to be
    3. what I paint
    4. why I paint
    5. goals
    6. education, experience, accomplishments/awards, associations
    7. Contact information.
  • @dencal, love that artybollocks generator 😅👌
    dencal
  • Bucky said:
    1) Should it be in first person or 3rd person? I've read many different opinions on this.
    2) Is it o.k. if the bio is REALLY short, like a three or four sentence paragraph? 

    3rd person, I was told, by gallery owners during a portfolio review.  I figured that supersedes other advice I've been given.  The idea is that they can copy/paste it into a brochure without having to think or reword it.

    It's fine, you can do whatever you want. Mine is also on the short side (6 short sentences), but it's like a résumé/c.v., it can change over time and improve.

    I find it difficult to write, awful in fact, and it makes me cringe when I read it, but that's just how they are. If it helps, write one for an acquaintance who has a similar style as you. Do it as though you were helping that person get into marketing themselves, but doing the difficult self-aggrandizing parts for them. It's much easier to write these things if it's not about yourself. Then when it all hangs together well, change the details so it's about you.

    You can also revisit this and keep working on it. I see the websites of others and think "that's a great way of saying something", and I think about adding that to my own.

    Or...

    Ask a few people to contribute a few sentences about your work, then cobble it together, Frankenstein-style until it lives. For example, here is something I made up, but it's very similar to a lot that I read. You may find this too dull or inaccurate for your use, but that's the point, it might motivate you to improve it for your use.
    Bucky is an artist painting mostly in oil, pursuing realism with impressionistic elements. Mostly self-taught, Bucky has spent the last few years developing an aesthetic that combines the strong structural elements with the muted palette of indoor scenes in winter light, yielding a series of intimist works with a life-at-home theme.

    Bucky has been influenced by the teachings of Mark Carder,  _____ and ______, and has drawn from each distinctive form elements. During these studies of advanced techniques and composition, Bucky has developed an eye for strong architectural elements that are used to frame scenes that include personal touches, humanizing the composition. The works of _____ and _____ are seen to influence this direction.

    Bucky's work can be found online and and in local and regional exhibitions. See the contact page to ask about works, commissions, and upcoming shows.

    I like the automatic generator that Denis suggested, and I feel I've read quite a few out there just like that. What you really need is the brain of @Boudicca, who can rattle off this stuff with ease and a straight face.

  • @tassieguy, sure, wouldn't mind seeing your bio if you don't mind. 
    Thanks @dencal and @BOB73 for the advice! Very helpful!
    And Thanks @PaulB for the advice and very interesting perspective from your point of view of what my bio could include! It's simultaneously illuminating and weird as hell to hear someone else describe my work through another lens :) There is a lot there I will certainly draw from. Thank you!!!
  • Ugh. I hate this part. My bio is 3rd person and WAY too long and also not good. Haha theres a reason I went to school for art. To avoid writing. Lol let me see if I can paste it. 
  • Whoa. This is super embarrassing, but being that is soooo long maybe there is something you can pull from it. God it's so self righteous sounding i cant stand it. Thanks for this post so I realized how badly I NEED to change this asap. Lol "laaa-teee-fricken-da!" is what goes through my head when I read it. Lol 

    About Jessica Leonard

    Jessica Leonard is a Contemporary Realist oil painter who enjoys creating complex and highly realistic paintings. Growing up in the Saratoga Area, horse racing has always held an exciting part of Jessica’s summer heart. As she is evolving as an Artist she finds herself drawn to the strength and sprit of “The Sport of Kings”. Beyond that she is moved on a daily basis by the beauty of the things we are surrounded by: The sun shining through the windows catching the flecks of dust on the air; the beautiful juxtaposition of a dark foreboding sky against the dull late November leaves; the way her daughters’ hair falls like auburn silk across their rosy little cheeks. Much like how she notices the small beauties in everyday life, she strives to catch the small beauties in the paintings she creates. Many clients have said her work has captured a subject’s spirit just right. Maybe it’s because the spirit is represented as much by the tiniest detail in the eye as it is in the picture as a whole. Together all of those small moments in an image bring to life what our heart’s eye sees, but the camera neglects.

    Jessica works with a limited pallet and has become adept at matching and mixing her colors using solely white and the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. Taking out the numerous color variants on the market has been freeing and has given her a deep understanding of color theory that has become second nature to her. Leonard graduated in 2003 with a BA in Fine Art from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She paints everything from private commissions to being selected as the Signature Artist three years running at Saratoga Springs Charity Gala “An Unbridled Affair”. Her painting  “Horse Behind the Legend” was featured in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame as a spotlight artist in 2016.  Her work resides in the private collections of some well-known members of the racing community. Jessica has been featured in numerous local publications and she continues to expand her work base between her home and the Saratoga Springs area. She spends her summers in Saratoga Springs area and currently resides in the historic Village of Walden in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley with her Husband and two daughters.

    Summer
  • I like third person.  You can say what needs to be said without feeling guilty.  :)
  • Here’s a couple I’ve written
    First one written in 3rd person for a photographer 

    Eric Swaby

    Fine Art Photography


    “What I see, is what you get”


    Eric honed his skills as as a professional commercial photographer before the advent of digital photography. As the advancement of digital technology caught up to his exacting standards, the switch to digital coincided with a creative turn towards capturing images that resonated with his long held connection to the West Australian landscape.


    Eric eschews the hyperbolic and the oversaturated, instead, he aims to stay true to the natural grandeur that unfolds before him as he travels throughout the state. Embracing a vision that speaks honestly, he presents us with images that are evocative, authentic and mesmerising.


    With an emphasis on technical skills that enable him to place the viewer almost within the image, and a narrative style that captures the story of the landscape, Eric’s spectacular images are sought after by both civic institutions and private collectors throughout Australia.


    This one in first person for my website

    Artist Statement

    When a well executed painting tells a story it engages the viewer, when it tells a story that the viewer can relate to it captivates them.Welcome to my website. I hope my work engages you, reveals some hidden truths, and maybe even makes you laugh. Life is a bit like that; darkness, light and everything in between. The main thing is not to be afraid of the dark.

     

    About the Artist

    I formally studied drawing at the old Perth Technical College before heading off to live and travel in Europe for 4 years. Upon my return to Western Australia I attended what was then the Central Metropolitan College of Art and Design (TAFE) as a foundation for my art practice. As well as the narrative aspect of my work I am keenly interested in the technical aspects of oil painting, always working to produce pieces that are archivally sound by only using professional quality artists' materials.

     

    SERIES

    I have a number of series that I continue to develop.

    Budgie Royalty series explores relationship dynamics and personal growth with humour and a dash of pathos.

    Skull Narratives - I love the sculptural quality of bones and find they can be a powerful element in developing narrative.

    An Gorta Mor which explores events borne out of the Great Hunger in Ireland 1845-1851. I shine a light on what for many years was a hidden history.

     

    TECHNIQUE

    As a contemporary realist oil painter I enjoy the versatility and richness of this medium. It enables me to employ various techniques that I can leverage to meet the needs of a particular work.

     

    Alla Prima- Italian for "at once", alla prima painting technique requires keen observation and exacting colour and value judgement. This style of painting imparts a feeling of spontaneity and freshness. 

    Trompe L'oeil- French for "deceiving the eye". I use this technique in some of my work to give the viewer a frisson of delight at discovering that what looks real, may not be so. 

    PaulBJessicaArt
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Boudicca said:
    Here’s a couple I’ve written
    ...
    You are the best at this, really.
    JessicaArt
  • CJDCJD -
    edited October 10
    Here's mine from my website. I'm a professional writer. Just kidding :)
    https://www.clarkejduggan.com/about.html



    Welcome!

    I am an oil painter and I live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 

    My mission is to create art that captures the beauty of nature in a realistic style. By exploring compositions of botanicals, landscapes, and portraits, I aim to render aspects of our environment in a way that illuminates the beauty of the world in which we live.

    The work on this site is a collection of my original art. All paintings are available for purchase unless stated otherwise.

    If you would like to purchase a painting or inquire about a commission, please contact me at [email protected]

    For more images of my work you can find me on Instagram at 
    https://www.instagram.com/clarkejduggan/

    Check out my Youtube channel for narrated timelapse videos of my paintings ​https://www.youtube.com/c/clarkejduggan
    SummerArtGal
  • OMG, don't know how I missed these responses! Thanks so much @JessicaArt, @Summer, @Boudicca, and @CJD. All so very helpful!!! 
    The website and bio are still a work in progress. I have a lot of great examples to draw from here! 
    Thank you!!! 
  • "1) Should it be in first person or 3rd person? I've read many different opinions on this."

    It is normally in third person.  Third person is a verbal version of a portrait picture.  There is that distance and objectivity.  Though most of us can talk, most people do not paint, so the difference in portrait painting is it will be an artist doing the job either way.  But think of it this way: First person writing might turn out like a portrait commission to a powerful patron.  Just how angry do you want the king to be?  But third person is like when you hire a model to sit for you and the study is as honest as you can make it. Warts will be in, where present.  So what one is dealing with when one writes one's bio, is a bit like a self portrait.  It won't be all that real if I blend a little Brad Pitt into my self-portrait.  And my written bio won't seem objective if it includes statements that are argumentative like say "He specializes in realism because he believes that abstract painters are wordy hacks who can't draw".

    2) Is it o.k. if the bio is REALLY short, like a three or four sentence paragraph?

    This question starts at the end.  You need to look at why you are writing a bio; for whom; and from that will flow what is in it, and how long it is.  Keep in mind that paragraphs normally organize one idea.  So if you wanted to talk about your basic stats; art education/ emergence as an artist; products and services (books, teaching, etc...); and for artists in particular there are achievements like shows or grants...  So, a para each.  But there can be other things:  related hobbies; social media presence; travel (if relevant); etc...

    There are generally two problems people face beyond the basic challenges of any portrait: 

    One is the "who am I as a person and an artist.  This is difficult in any case, but particularly if one is a part timer (as some here may be), because there probably is a divided self to some extent.  It is rather common for people to have no central commitment in their lives (multi tasking is a favourite term of the last few decades, often proudly stated).  And in many cases amateur's paintings don't even have a focal point.  Lack of focus and direction is hard to overcome in a statement that is designed to outline focus and direction.  So it is not automatic that one is actually ready to do an artist's statement.

    The second is that a lot of people lack the convincing achievements that would outline a career in art.  But just as damaging is false modesty people are often afflicted with, or the lack of creativity in fully drawing out their actual gifts and experiences as they contribute to their current purpose.

    All this has to be put through a filter of who the audience is.  If the focus is teaching vs. selling to collectors, then process might, for instance, be more important to one group, and personal story/journey to another.

    With luck, having a plan  of what the objective of this bio is, and who you really are will make your words more easily fall into place.


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