in amongst all that’s currently going on, i’m sitting with a feeling of needing to update how i think and communicate about my practice. looking at my a-n bio it feels a little outdated now.
writing about myself doesn’t come particularly easy. i’m sure i’m not alone in this either.
when sitting down to consider my practice and my career to communicate about it – i have to confess to this triggering a sub routine in my mind orbiting around an inherited sense of disappointment, instilled in me as a child. i’m tipping my hat to it so i can acknowledge and move on from.
It is extremely important to not confuse an artist statement and an artist biography. Each contain different types and amounts of information, while serving different purposes. Although they are different, both should evolve and change with your career.
The artist biography should always be written in the “third person” (as an outsider looking in, and uses pronouns like “he”, “she”, “it”, or “they” in the biography).
However, an artist statement is different. Think of an artist statement as the artist communicating to the viewer about the art, in the artist’s absence. Therefore, an artist statement should be short, concise and well written in conversational language.
Your artist biography is a paragraph of many talents.
It weaves the story of your art career – instilling trust as it goes – allowing you to share your credentials and achievements without speaking a word. The importance and utility of this emissary cannot be stressed enough.
Who are you writing for and what is important to them? You may need a different bio for different events.
your artist’s statement should compel the viewer to want to look again at your work.
in considering the process of arriving at an updated bio and statement i have two thoughts.
- what development opportunity might be most beneficial to me in the coming year.
- am i able to be honest enough with myself about my career so far to arrive at something i inherently fear ?
i fear it because i have an issue with comparing myself to other artists. it’s some sort of weird competitive thing i hold on to.
so beginning where i am at the moment seems to be a plan.
next is how to do what i need to do. writing isn’t my strong point so by what other means can i assemble the relevant information ?
indeed what is the relevant information i need ?
Choose the Right Information
Your artist biography should be a summary of significant facts about your art career written in third person. Begin by introducing yourself with your name, medium, and some background information. This can include where you were born, where you work, and when you first became interested in art. Next, discuss any art training or schooling you had and degrees earned. If none, state you’re self-taught.
Then move on to discuss your exhibitions, awards, and any other professional achievements. You can also mention if you’re featured in any important collections or prominent art publications. But, be sure not to overwhelm the reader with too much self-promotion – choose the best nuggets.
Then segue into any recent shows or important projects you’re working on such as a public art installation. End strong with any upcoming exhibitions, residencies, or projects.(3)
State the basics
The components of a bio are quite straight forward:
- Name and medium you work in; special techniques
- Key themes; what you hope to accomplish with your art
- Showing history; any collections your work is in
- Art-related education; any well-known teachers, influences
- Awards; other professional achievements
- Other art-related work, such as being a curator or art writer
- Media coverage
- Significant projects you are working on, upcoming exhibitions, collaborations
- Where you are from; where you live and work
Of course some of these may not apply to you, and you may want to change the order if, say, the fact that you are local is important.(4)
i know that the process of arriving at a bio and statement is going to personally difficult because of what i hold in the baggage around personal self belief and importance. the basic :
- Key themes; what you hope to accomplish with your art
presents me with a very difficult to resolve concept – that there is a limited amount of scope for work.
maybe an opportunity i need to search for is one of challenging my personal and professional perceptions of myself. this leads me to think about how when working with others as a facilitator i aim to define a boundary for them to work within. therefore is something i consider within what i do connected to boundary ?
i do wonder if somewhere down the line i missed the lecture about the themes that work gets made within ?
i ask a lot of questions to try to get to a deeper understanding. those questions aren’t always answerable.
something else i’m very aware of is how easily i’m influenced by others when they very quickly dismiss what i say to them. i’m up for my ideas to challenged and questioned – i can grow through being part of that process. what i don’t get much from is the immediate cutting across what i said.
when that happens i’m left internally processing what just happened and loose the opportunity to say “hey, hang on a minute, are you saying … ?”
and this is where my disability comes into play.
i quite often am in situations where i’m thinking something and nothing is coming out of my mouth. it’s like some sort of blindness of speech. i become stuck in an internalised loop with the moment passing.
i’ll leave these notes as this for now.