Wasted Talent Inc

How To Write An Artist Bio With Tips and Lots of Examples

I have summarized the more important parts of this article below. Let’s have a look at some tips for an artist bio and below it some tips for an artist bio for an emerging artist.

For a Professional Artist Biography:

  • Keep it Short : Your biography should be a brief overview of key facts about your art career.
  • Easy to Read : Start with a catchy first sentence to get the reader interested.
  • Write as an Observer : Use the third person to talk about your art and career.
  • Important Facts Only : Mention things like your birth date, nationality, job title, the art forms you use, your style and main themes, and other key career details.
  • Ideal Length : Aim for about 120 words, but keep it between 80 and 140 words.

For an Emerging Artist Biography:

  • Background Info : Mention where you were born and places you’ve lived.
  • Artistic Roots : Talk about what or who inspires your art.
  • Education in Art : If you’ve had any art training or education, include it.
  • Self-Taught Artists : If you haven’t had formal training, explain how you’ve learned and developed your art skills on your own.

Keep reading as I cover the topic in more detail, giving artist bio examples and the like.

Writing an Artist biography is probably one of the hardest things I have had to write. If you are reading this then I assume you are struggling with this as well.

Whether you are an artist making modern art , a painter or a visual artist looking for representation in an art gallery then you need to get your artist bio done right.

What’s the difference between an artist biography, artist statement, and artist profile?

Here are some bullet points to summarize each for those who do not know the key differences.

Below are some bullet points that highlight the key differences between an artist biography, artist statement, and artist profile. I will then dive into more details of each with examples you can use.:

Artist Biography:

  • Focuses on the artist’s life and career, often including personal information and significant events or achievements.
  • Written in third-person perspective.
  • Typically includes a summary of the artist’s education, influences, and creative process, as well as critical reception and awards.

Artist Statement:

  • Focuses on the artist’s creative process and artistic vision.
  • Written in first-person perspective.
  • Typically includes a description of the artist’s style, techniques, themes, and motivations, as well as any philosophical or conceptual ideas that inform the work.

Artist Profile:

  • Similar to a bio, but typically shorter and more concise.
  • Often used as a promotional tool on social media, artist directories, or other online platforms.
  • May include a brief bio, statement, and selected images of the artist’s work.
  • Generally less formal than a traditional bio or statement, and may be written in first or third person.

What is an artist biography (Artist bio)?

Before we start, you should understand the difference between an artist biography and an artist statement vs an artist profile.

Each one serves its own purpose and should be used for a specific goal in mind.

In its simplest form, an artist biography is a summary of you as an artist in a few paragraphs (some say 50 words is all you need). Artist bios should detail your qualifications and any training you undertook as an artist (if you are not qualified you can just omit this part). You then detail your influences, your achievements and contact details. It is usually followed by a brief artist statement.

What to include in an artist biography about yourself

An artist biography needs to take into account the life and work of you as an artist. It usually covers significant events and accomplishments throughout your artistic career, as well as personal information that helps to understand the context in which your art was created.

An artist biography can also include information about your artistic education, influences, creative process, and the evolution of their style over time. It may also discuss the critical reception of their work, as well as any awards or recognition they have received.

Get to the point quickly

An artist bio should get to the point quickly. This is because the reader of the bio may have limited time or attention span, and may be looking for a quick summary of your artistic career and style.

A concise and well-organized bio can help to capture the reader’s interest and convey the most important information about your work in a short amount of time.

This can be really important in situations where you are trying to promote yourself or your art, such as when applying for grants, exhibitions, or other opportunities.

In addition, a clear and focused bio can help to establish your credibility and professionalism as an artist. It shows that you have a clear sense of your artistic identity and are able to communicate it effectively to others.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice depth or detail in your bio. It’s important to strike a balance between brevity and substance, providing enough information to give the reader a sense of who you are as an artist and what makes your work unique.

Speak in your own voice

One thing to note, many artists refer to themselves in the third person which I believe can come across as a little pretentious.

Another pretentious artist is the last thing the world needs.

Here are some tips for writing an artist bio in your own voice:

  • Start by brainstorming a list of the key points you want to convey about yourself and your work.
  • Write in the first person (“I” instead of “the artist”).
  • Use a conversational tone and avoid jargon or overly technical language.
  • Highlight your unique qualities, experiences, and perspective.
  • Include personal anecdotes or stories that illustrate your artistic journey.
  • Focus on what motivates and inspires you as an artist.
  • Be concise and to the point, keeping the reader’s attention in mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to show some personality and express yourself creatively in the bio.
  • Read your bio aloud to make sure it flows well and sounds natural.
  • Have someone else read your bio and provide feedback on clarity and tone.

Here are some things not to include in your artist bio:

  • Personal information that is not relevant to your art, such as your marital status or political beliefs.
  • Negative or overly critical comments about other artists or art forms.
  • A list of every single exhibition or show you have ever participated in. Instead, focus on the most significant or noteworthy ones. This is a big one ok!
  • Unsubstantiated claims or exaggerations about your accomplishments or abilities.
  • Vague or clichéd language that doesn’t really say anything about your work or style.
  • Rambling or overly long paragraphs that make it difficult for the reader to follow.
  • Too much technical jargon or insider terminology that may not be easily understood by a general audience.
  • Personal opinions that may be divisive or controversial, unless they are integral to your artistic vision or message.
  • Information that may compromise your privacy or security, such as your home address or phone number.

Using your own voice makes you more relatable.

Click here if you wish to skip to the section on How to write an artist bio with steps and examples.

Can a non-artist write an artist bio for you?

Artist biographies can also be written by art historians, curators or other experts in the field. This is because artist bios can also be found in exhibition catalogs, art books , and online resources.

A great artist bio can provide valuable insights into your artistic life and work and can help to deepen our understanding and appreciation of your art, especially if art lovers find something in your back story that they can relate to.

What is an Artist Statement

An artist’s statement is a brief description of your work as a whole. The purpose of an artist statement is to give anyone looking at your work some context around why you work a certain way so that they can either connect with you or the subject matter. The artist statement should cover the “why” you do things and not the “who you are”.

You would usually include an artist statement as part of the artist biography.

For more information on Artist’s Statements, wikipedia has some further reading.

What is an Artist Profile

The Artist Profile is quite interesting, it is a mix of both the artist bio and artist statement. The difference is the artist profile packages both pieces of information into an interesting page designed to ‘hook’ the reader into wanting to learn more about you as the artist as well as your art and your interests.

Think of the artist profile as the first page of a really interesting novel, designed to make the reader want to keep reading and learn more.

Use good story-telling techniques when planning your artist profile.

If you are struggling to write an Artist Biography and Artist Statement, try writing an Artist Profile instead as it lets you channel your creative energy rather than following a boring format.

Here is an example of an Artist Bio with an Artist Statement

Here are some real examples of artist profiles (some famous artists some not)

Anselm Kiefer

Someone like Anselm who has a long and distinguished career, his artist bio can start to look like a long laundry list of accomplishments and doesn’t actually tell us anything new. My tip is to not follow this example (see below for an image or click on the link above to view his page)

Anselm Kiefer artist biography. Your typical laundry list of accomplishments. Boring.

Do not write a laundry list of accomplishments and facts!

Rhian Malin (though it is written in the 3rd person..)

I quite like Rhian’s artist bio even though it is written in the 3rd person. But if you take a look at their artist biography you will notice that the first line makes her personable. She was inspired by her grandmother’s collection. We can all relate to seeing something at a grandparent’s home that would have awed us as children and then went on to influence us. Be personable.

Rhian then describes their approach and where they work. The list of accomplishments are not a laundry list and they appear at the bottom making you believe that accomplishments are a by product of inspiration and making art.

I quite like Rhian’s approach.

I like this version of an artist biography as it is more personable and not a laundry list of accomplishments

Larry Poons

Larry Poons also follows the more traditional approach to writing an artist biography. It is the typical laundry list of accomplishments and facts but what I do like is the photo. It is not a pretentious professional photo of the artist in a black turtleneck trying to look cool. The photo looks more natural.

Larry Poons artist bio falls into the boring list of artist accomplishments but what separates it from boring is the natural photo.

Jeff Koons – As he has so many achievements, Jeff’s website also has formatted his bio into sections covering Awards and Honors , Talks and Lectures and Collections .

Another list of accomplishments and an unnaturally posed photo. Please do not go down this path of a boring artist bio, be original and be likeable. Make yourself relatable.

image 13

Be original, personable and likeable. Stay true to character and do not appear fake.

Why write an artist biography (bio). What is the purpose of an artist bio?

writing an artist bio

What is the purpose of writing an artist bio? Is it for vanity, was it requested by art galleries or was it just so that you could be found in search engines?

Most artists write an artist bio because other artists have written one. Pretty simple.

Personally I don’t have a formal artist bio written and the only time I pull one together is when I am entering an art competition and it is part of the entry form.

When we write our artist biography we need to ask ourselves “Who is it for?” You should write to your audience and not to yourself.

An artist bio Is like an informal Resume

Writing an artist bio is a bit like a resume. It can feel cold, impersonal and detached.

When we write a resume we are writing for a specific audience such as a recruiter but the goal is the same.

When we write an Artist Bio:

  • We are writing to a curator or collector.
  • We want them to know our skills
  • We want them to know our qualifications
  • We want them to know what we are good at
  • We want them to know what makes us so much better than the next person that the reader will want to invest in us, our art
  • and finally we want them to know WHY we became an artist and why we are pursuing the arts.
Give people your “why” when creating an artist bio

When you write an artist biography I have found it to be actually quite harder than a resume.

When we write a resume we tend to be able to be more objective about our skills, work and achievements but with art, we are emotionally invested and being an artist is core to our self identity.

Types of artist biographies

Artist biography for self taught artists.

Self taught artists may believe the lack of a formal qualification or training in the arts may preclude them from needing an artist biography.

I suffered from an inferiority complex for many years as I too am a self taught artist.

Self taught artists can usually do well with an artist profile instead of an artist bio as it can gloss over or skip over any need to highlight their qualifications.

So if you are a self taught artist, write your artist biography listing all your achievements, influences, showings, sales and include an artist statement.

Then when it comes to qualifications, highlight that you have been an artist for X amount of years, highlight your experience over any qualifications.

Experience can be better than education

Now I’ll get on my high horse.. Not being formally trained is not a hindrance. In fact, an art degree or tertiary qualification is actually only a recent thing for artists. Most artists until the 20th century were trained as artist apprentices or self taught. None had a piece of paper proclaiming that they were now part of the creative elite!

As we no longer have artists guilds to confirm our skills as an artist, then some use a degree or diploma as a proxy. Though this does not guarantee that you are as good an artist as any other.

Artist Biography for Qualified Artists

Many contemporary artists have some form of qualification they will include in their artist biography. If you have a certification in a specific field, or use of a specific tool then note that down.

Otherwise your artist biography and artist statement should read like any other.

Artist Biography for Beginner artist biography

When you are a beginner artist your experience will be little, you may not have even had a showing yet and you may not have any qualifications.

When I was 17 I entered the Doug Moran National Portrait prize (in Australia) which is a $100,000 Acquisitive portrait prize.

I had about 5 years of artist experience under my belt, 1 showing in my high school where I won first prize for a portrait of Marilyn Monroe and 2 sales of my paintings.

The prizes required I submit an artist bio and artist statement. I did not know what to do so I left it all blank.

Today I would give the same advice as I give to self taught artists, highlight your achievements to date and not add anything negative.

Remember my resume example. When we start working we have nothing to add as experience but we document all the transferable skills we have all that we can offer.

As a beginner artist, add what you have done to date and be proud of that. If you have not done anything of note yet, then note what your influences are and where you want to go with your art career.

What should an artist biography include?

What to include in an artist biography.

Images – Should I include an image of myself?

Just like in a resume, unless you are one extremely good looking person or you have a very original look that can help with your persona or help people remember you (think of Dali’s moustache) then do not include an image or photo of yourself.

Ensure you provide any links to where you have exhibited.

Ensure you provide any links to where you have sold your works. If you are unable to link to article showing a sale, then note down the item sold, when it was sold and the details of the artwork.

You do not need to note the price it sold for or who purchased the artwork.

Where possible, link to any articles about you or your works that are of note.

How to write an artist biography about yourself

The best way to write an artist biography is to start looking at the artist biography examples found on the internet.

The hardest thing I found was collating all the information I wanted to include in my bio. What I found was when I just did a brain dump without putting my thought into dates etc it was easier.

The first things you should do, using sticky notes:

  • Collect and organise any courses you have completed. Don’t worry about the years commenced or completed.
  • Write down keywords that you would use to describe your influences and put these aside. These can be art styles, people or places.
  • Write down why you do what you do as an artist, was it something you have known since you can remember? Was it a specific experience?
  • Write down any key achievements you have had so far in your art career.
  • Your name and where you live and where you typically work from
  • What styles or mediums do you work in?

Once you have these noted down, you actually have the key points required for an artist biography. All we need to do now is start writing the artist bio.

Sticky Notes - Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How do you start a biography?

Grab those sticky notes we just wrote. Put them in this order:

  • Why you do what you do as an artist, that something you have known since you can remember or that specific experience.
  • Those keywords that you used to describe your influences. The art styles, people or places.
  • The styles or mediums do you work in
  • The courses you have completed.
  • The key achievements you have had so far in your art career.

Now that you have put all the raw data into some meaningful order, you just need to pad these out into properly worded paragraphs and ensure that they have a natural flow to them.

If you find that hard to do then take a look at some real artist biography examples to draw inspiration from. Find a few you like and experiment.

Artist Biography Examples

How to write an artist biography sample.

Here are some real examples of artist biographies to draw inspiration from. Note : One take away from all the examples I researched (apart from Rita Ackermann) is that they were all badly formatted and hard to read.

So please take some time to ensure that your artist biography is formatted so that it is easy to read on a computer and also on a smartphone.

EVELYN SOSA

Cuban, born 1989.

An Award winning photographer, Evelyn Sosa Rojas was born in 1989 in Havana, Cuba, where she still lives and work. In her practice, since 2008, Sosa specializes in amazingly soulful portraits. Sosa shows the power of femininity through photos of women in different familiar or intimate settings. In 2016, Sosa was the winner of the Herman Puig Prize, awarded yearly to the best artist of the Body Photography Salon in Havana. In her powerful series “Women’s portraits”, Sosa captures the very essence of each subject in a simple, sensual and compelling way. Sosa has an ability to capture the depth of the eyes and gaze, showing the subject soul and deep thoughts. In 2019, Uncommon Beauty published a photo-book , HAVANA INTIMATE, through the lens of Evelyn Sosa. In a scholarly essay written for the book, Grethel Morell Otero, the recipient of the 2019 Cuban National Curator Award, and a published authority in Cuban photography wrote: “her (Sosa) work represents something of a vanguard movement in contemporary artistic photography’. Website

Joseph Rolella

Born in Sydney in 1972, Rolella completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 1994 and went on to obtain a Masters in Visual Arts at the University of Western Sydney in 1998. Joseph Rolella has exhibited consistently for the past twelve years both nationally and internationally. Rolella has won several major art prizes including the Australian Cricket Art Prize in 2011 for the painting “Cricket at Kandahar”. The Oakhill Grammer School Art Prize in 2013 as well as being selected as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize. Complex and contradictory, Rolella’s recent abstract paintings seek to expose a delicate equilibrium between a sense of balance and visual calm and the tumult of painterly texture and surface tension. The play of light at the waters edge…

SOFIA AREAL  (Lisbon, 1960)

Begins her studies 1979 at the Hertfordshire College of Art and Design in St Albans, UK. In Portugal she studied etching and painting at Ar.Co. (Art and Visual Communication Center).

Her first group exhibition was in 1982 at the 1ª Mostra de Artes in Lagos, Portugal and her first solo show was in 1990 at Galeria Alda Cortez, Lisbon. Since then, Sofia has exhibited in various countries individually and collectively. She had a retrospective exhibition covering the last 10 years of her career in 2011 at the Galeria da Cordoaria Nacional the exhibition was accompanied by a book published by Babel, with texts of among others: Jorge Silva Melo and Professor Luís Campos e Cunha. In 2012 Areal illustrates the literary magazine published by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Colóquio Letras. In 2013 launches a book together with Harvard Professor, Allan Hobson – “ Creativity”. Since 2013, Areal has started an international exhibition program, in Macau – Orient Foundation 2014, Oslo – Embassy Art Space 2015 and Dublin in 2016. In the same year a film by Jorge Silva Melo, “Sofia Areal: Um Gabinete Anti-Dor” premiers. In 2017 Areal continues a series of exhibitions, started in 2016 in quARTel das Artes in Abrantes, about her own private collection in Lagos Cultural Centre, followed by MUDAS. Contemporary Art Museum of Madeira and Centro Cultural Raiano – a series, which will continue in 2019. In the same year Areal will have an exhibition in the Portuguese Cultural Centre in Luxembourg. In 2017-2018 creates a tiles panel is together with a group of artists and 3 individual ones, all with Ratton Gallery in Lisbon.

Great example of a short artist biography

A short bio is a good idea for any artist whether you want to present your skills for a solo exhibition for fine art or just for a social media platform such as for an Instagram profile.

Rita Ackermann Biography

Born : Budapest, Hungary, 1968

Education :

The New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture (Hanes Foundation), New York NY, 1992 – 1993 Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary, 1989 – 1992

Resides: Lives and works in New York NY

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019 Hauser & Wirth, ‘Rita Ackermann. Brother and Sister’, Zürich, Switzerland

2018 La Triennale di Milano, ‘Rita Ackermann. Movements as Monuments’, Milan, Italy VIEWING ROOM, Marlborough Contemporary, ‘Rita Ackermann and Carol Rama: Body Matters’, New York NY

How to write an artist biography using a template

You can follow this simple template if you want to skip the sticky note exercise from the previous steps.

As I do not like referring to myself in the third person I will move away from your typical artist biography examples and make it a little more personable.

“ My name is [Insert your name], I was born in [insert town/city/country] in [year]. My first experiences as an artist was when [insert time period in life or formative experience].

My influences were [insert influences].

It was here that I realized that I wanted to pursue my career in this field.

I went on to study [insert course and institution] where I earned my qualifications in [insert field of study].

It was here that I furthered expanded on my knowledge in [insert fields of interest], where I [insert key achievements].

I work primarily in [insert mediums] and I currently work from [insert location] and [any other locations of interest]. “

Self taught artist bio sample

For self taught artists, your artist bio will be the same as all the examples but without listing any formal qualifications. Using the template above, I have modified it to make it suitable for self taught artists.

The focus for a self taught artist is to focus on your practical experience and what you did in lieu of formal training.

I believe that being an artist is something that one is born to do an not learned at school, I went on to study through practical experience, learning through trial and error and self learning studying the works of [insert influences] as my teachers .

50 word artist bio example

Describe yourself in 50 words or less. This is much harder to do than you may think.

If you must provide an artist biography in 50 words or less then focus on the key information and remove the filler words that we tend to use when describing ourselves and our achievements.

When creating a 50 words or less artist bio, use simple headings and bullet points and stick to the point.

“ My name is [Insert your name]. Born in [insert town/city/country] in [year].

I work primarily in [insert main medium]

My influences are [insert influences].

I obtained a [insert qualification] from [institution].

(I am represented by [insert gallery]) or (I have exhibited in [insert shows]) or (I have won [insert main prizes])

I currently work from [insert location] and [any other locations of interest]. “

Still struggling to write an Artist Bio?

I found this cool site, it generates artist statements and biographies. All you need to do is click “Generate Some Bollocks” .

First Draft of an artist biography

Have someone write the outline for you.

If you find it hard to write about yourself, find someone you trust and hand over your sticky notes and ask them to write the artist biography for you using the templates as a guide.

You will find that someone who knows you well will remember to add other information about you that you may have forgotten to include or too embarrassed to include.

Once they have a draft, read through it out loud with them and see if it makes sense and look at areas for improvement.

My English is not good, what do I do?

Use Google Translate

If your english is not as good as you like, that is totally fine. If anything it is an advantage as you can now have a bilingual artist bio.

You can have your artist bio written in your native language for your native audience and then ask someone you trust to translate it to English or pay a small fee on Upwork or Freelancer to translate your artist biography for you.

If you do not want to pay someone, you can give Google Translate a try and see how that comes up. Speaking from experience when I tried to translate text from English to Italian, be careful as this does not always give the best results.

Review and review again

Again, with anything your write you should review it yourself and then ask someone you trust to review it again for you.

Check for grammar and spelling.

Common mistakes in artist biographies

Contrary to my advice about writing in the first person, some say that your artist biography should be written in the third person to give the impression that it was written by someone else and that it sounds more authoritative.

Unless your artist biography was actually written by a third person I disagree with this advice. We know you wrote this so why pretend it wasn’t.

Secondly, if you are an unknown and not professionally represented, most people in the industry will know you bring little authority with you. That’s the sad truth.

The next mistake is to fail to tell an interesting story about your journey as an artist. Note down any gaps in your career and explain why, sometimes the gaps are as interesting as the art journey itself.

Taking care of children, sick family, going to war, being in accident can all be used as part of your narrative and drawn on for inspiration.

Think of all the books you read that you could not put down, they told an interesting story you could relate to and the characters were usually likeable and not pretentious.

Which leads to the next mistake, do not big note yourself or embellish your achievements. Do not lie about your achievements. With the internet available to most people on their phones, most facts can be easily verified.

The next mistake is to write an artist statement when an artist biography was requested.

Other mistakes when writing an artist bio are spelling mistakes grammar mistakes, not proofreading your draft, and the final mistake artists make when writing their artist biography is forgetting to tell the why they became an artist.

How to write an Artist Bio – Wrap up!

As I mentioned earlier, writing an artist bio is a bit like a resume but it’s all part of the art business. It can feel cold, impersonal and detached. This is the reason why I prefer an Artist Profile instead.

I would format the artist profile to include the initial hook paragraphs to get your readers interested in knowing more.

I would then follow the lead from the examples provided and include information that you would usually see in an artist biography.

Keep it up to date

Remember, as artists we are always changing and progressing. This means whether you are using an Artist Biography, Artists Statement or Artist Profile, these should be updated to reflect where you are in life and as an artist at that point in time.

It should change as you change. Keep some of the older information in there so your reader can follow your career and influences progressions.

These tell a story about you and remember there is no such thing as a perfect artist bio or artists cv. You just want to convey enough about yourself for potential clients and for a fellow artist.

Rewrite and Review

Each time you make an update, review what you wrote and do not be afraid to re-write it all if it no longer applies to who you are today.

Get someone to proofread your artist bio and take on any constructive criticism.

Good luck! If you have any of your own artist biographies that you would like linked to this article, please send through a message on the contact-me page.

If it is suitable, I will include it in the list of Artist Biography Examples.

joseph colella bio wastedtalentinc

Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech).

While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.

While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.

His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.

He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.

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The Beginning Artist

Artist Statement & Artists Bio Examples

As an artist you normally only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your audience. If there is something slightly off and your art doesn’t captivate someone right away, people are just going to pass along.

Your artist statement and artist bio are the same. You want them to quickly hit on all the important point without losing someone’s attention, similar to an elevator pitch.

Artist Statement Vs. Artists Bio

The artist statement and artist bio are very different. The most important difference is that the artist statement should be about your art, and the artist bio should be about you as a person and artist. The artist statement is written in the first person and the artist bio in the third person.

Things that you can include in your artist statement:

  • The current direction of your work
  • Why people should look at your art
  • How people can interpret your art

Things that you can include in your artist bio:

  • Your art style
  • The driving force behind your art
  • Main achievements
  • Teachers you studied with
  • Artists and artworks that inspire you

Let’s first go over some artist statements examples and look at the artist biographies afterwards.

Writing an artist statement on a computer

Examples of great artist statements

.ugb-e273d12 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-e273d12.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} My subject matter is nature, whether it is a traditional landscape or a bird and flower painting. I use traditional materials, ink and brush on rice paper, to capture movement and life – making the brush dance and the ink sing. Everything is captured in the spontaneous dance and movement of the brush as it meets the rice paper. There is no going back and correcting when painting with ink and rice paper. By Charlene Fuhrman-Schultz
.ugb-6cfd880 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-6cfd880.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} My work investigates technology as a meeting point of concurrent, overlapping systems; a nexus of cultural, computational, biological, and economic forces. In uncovering, augmenting, and creating systems of intertwinement, I am trying to touch a sense of “liveness” or a nearly-living quality, the dynamism resulting from the unpredictable performances of various actants pulling independently in collective balance. Through a variety of media – installation, kinetic sculpture, sound, computational image-making – I employ the visual culture of commercial technologies as a core vocabulary, displacing them into an artistic context. Placing technologies in unconventional and absurd relationships to one another, I aim to create a fissure in their conventional functions, reflecting on their roles as contemporary prosthetics with which we co-exist in a hybrid ecology. My research and creation processes involve a balance of qualitative and quantitative approaches. I am particularly interested in the interplay between the two seemingly polar-opposite, binary viewpoints, and strive towards a cross-pollination in which one feeds and complicates the other, and vice versa. By Adam Basanta
.ugb-b48ad63 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-b48ad63.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} Inflatables have had an important place in my work since 1989. In most of these sculptures and installations I have used industrial fans and simple valve mechanisms to animate sewn forms with lifelike gestures. Most of these works have been made of lightweight and papery fabrics such as Tyvek or nylon spinnaker. The weightlessness of these materials allows them to respond with surprising subtlety to the action of air within and around them. Generally inflatables are an expression of naive optimism. In an art context they signal popular culture, anti-art and irony. I play with and against these expectations. The movement of air within my forms recalls our own sensation of breath—of breathlessness, of holding our breath, etc. My work exists in moments of kinesthesia, when the movement of air within a form causes something to stir within the physical being of the viewer. This response is to more than just the obvious action of inflation and the robust occupation of space. What I feel is even more moving is the recognition of deflation, shrinking, vulnerability, silence and dying. My choice of extremely light and papery materials enhances this sense of absence and transience, of the nearly not there at all. Thus, the awakening comes more in our awareness of the tenuousness and fleeting nature of our existence. My work with the inflatable medium is about moving the viewer from a playful and ironic headspace toward a physical connection to his or her most vital forces. By Max Streicher
.ugb-a6eb3a6 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-a6eb3a6.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} I make art because I want to create life. My sculptures are oil-filled kinetic glass cylinders I call Sea Cores. The name and shape are loosely based on core samples scientist take to study the ocean, but I make no attempt to represent any known sea life. Instead, I invent my own inhabitants for these magical worlds. I choose glass as my medium because it allows me to manipulate the color and transparency of each individual creature. Since Sea Cores are designed to be looked through, rather than simply looked at, the transparent colors blend and form new colors from every vantage point. I focus on the movement of the air bubbles, and the patterns created by the bubbles as they weave through the glass and travel up the core. I plan the placement of each suspended creature in the bubble path to get subtle lifelike movement throughout the sculpture. This allows me to create living environments that generate the same excitement I felt as a child. By Alison Sigethy

Writing an artist bio using pencil and paper.

How to write an artist statement

An artist statement is normally only a few sentences long. So you will have to convey your art and the intention behind it in a clear and concise way.

Following these steps may help you write your artist statement:

  • Take a look at your most recent art pieces.
  • Note all the similarities and try to find a general theme.
  • Write a short description of your work without worrying about length.
  • Go over what you wrote and distil is down to the essentials.
  • Let some friends or colleagues critic your artist statement.

Keep in mind that an artist statement should not only be informative, but also interesting and intriguing. If your statement fails to rouse someone’s attention, you will have to go back to the drawing board. Make sure to sprinkle in a few action verbs and powerful adjectives to spice up your writing.

How long should an artist statement be?

As a general rule of thumb for artist statements: the shorter, the better. Your artist statement should be roughly 200 to 300 words long.

Examples of great artist bios

.ugb-e8cf920 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-e8cf920.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} Julie Mehretu’s work is about layers: the physical layering of images, marks, and mediums, and the figurative layering of time, space, place, and history. Working in a large scale, Mehretu draws on the 21st-century city for inspiration, transferring its energy into her gestural sweeps of paint and built-up marks in ink and pencil—often transposed from projections—and condensing seemingly infinite urban narratives, architectural views, and street plans into single unified compositions. “The narratives come together to create this overall picture that you see from the distance,” she says. “As you come close to it […] the big picture completely shatters and there are these numerous small narratives happening.” Mehretu layers a range of influences and art historical references as well, from the dynamism espoused by the  Futurists , to the scale and physicality of  Abstract Expressionism , to the divergent markmaking of  Albrecht Dürer , Eastern calligraphy, and graffiti. Mehretu was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005. By Julie Mehretu
.ugb-abeda64 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-abeda64.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} In her decades-spanning practice, Carol Rama has explored sexuality and desire through different materials and mediums. Self-taught, Rama began painting as a means of dealing with family tragedies. In her early work in the 1930s and 1940s, she created lustful images of the female body, highlighting sexuality and pleasure as major themes. Rama later experimented with abstraction and assemblage in the vein of arte povera, using bicycle tires from her father’s factory before he declared bankruptcy and committed suicide. She returned to making paintings and watercolors in the 1980s. The recipient of the Golden Lion at the 50th Venice Biennale, Rama falls outside the confines of any particular artistic movement or period, but she remains a seminal figure and an important influence to artists such as  Cindy Sherman  and Kiki Smith. By Carol Rama
.ugb-9bd14c2 .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-9bd14c2.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} Los Angeles based photographer, Mallory Morrison, has been honing her skills in underwater photography for the past several years. Originally a dance photographer, Mallory blended her photography skills with her twenty-four years of dance experience, bringing about a perfect marriage of her two passions.   Mallory’s evolution into underwater photography allowed her to introduce another element to this union and extend the range of her talent even further. Her use of dancers in an underwater environment allows Mallory to challenge the boundaries of people photography – utilizing weightlessness to tell stories, which explore the depths of movement and composition. ​ Mallory has sold her fine artwork to collectors across the U.S. as well as Australia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, and Belgium.  She was included in Saatchi’s Art’s 100 Voices 100 Artists catalog, celebrating their Top Women Artists. By Mallory Morrison
.ugb-d877ffb .ugb-blockquote__quote{width:70px !important;height:70px !important}.ugb-d877ffb.ugb-blockquote > .ugb-inner-block{max-width:90% !important} A pioneer of the Japanese Mono-ha (School of Things) movement, Lee Ufan arranges his installations and sculptures to emphasize the equal relationship between the artwork, the viewer, and the space, a philosophy best illustrated by his “Relatum” series, a series of stretched canvases on the floor, each topped by a single stone. Ufan uses materials including glass, steel, rubber, and stones in shades that are usually subdued and often monochromatic. His paintings exhibit a similar logic, applying muted color on a light, plain background in a style reminiscent of East Asian calligraphy, whereby the brush stroke fades as it ends. By Lee Ufan

How to write an artist bio

When writing an artist bio, it can be tempting to include your entire life story. But you won’t be doing yourself any favors.

Just like the artist statement, you want your bio to be short and concise. So include all the important moments that shaped your artistic career, but don’t mention irrelevant details such as your high school.

The following tips might help you write an artist bio:

  • Include your art mediums, art style, and techniques.
  • Mention your education and teachers.
  • Highlight your awards or achievements.
  • Explain what you want to achieve with your art.
  • Keep it short (<300 words).
  • Find someone to proofread your bio.

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RENEE PHILLIPS - MENTOR FOR ARTISTS

Helping Artists Achieve Their Fullest Potential

Ask Renee to Write About Your Art

How to Write Your Artist’s Biography

By Renee Phillips 14 Comments

In “How to Write Your Artist’s Biography” I explain what it is, why you need it, and what to include, plus links to samples and quick tips.

Your Artist’s Biography is essential for viewers of your art who want to know more about you. It helps them to understand what makes you unique and tells them about the journey you took to get to where you are now as an artist.

On the practical side, your Artist’s Biography provides prospective buyers, gallery owners, curators, grant givers and writers knowledge about you. They want to know about your career accomplishments before they decide to invest in your art and promote you.

What Is The Artist’s Biography?

man with computer Photo credit: Austin Distel from Unsplash

The Artist’s Biography is text, written in the third person (she, he) .

It serves to provide the reader with a story about you as an artist and learn about your career credentials.

It contains much of the same information as a résumé, however, a résumé or CV is written in a listing format and a biography is written in an editorial style.

Your Artist’s Biography may contain a brief description of your art work however it is also not the same as an Artist’s Statement , which your write entirely to express creative inspiration, materials, style and artistic vision.

On your website limit your Artist’s Biography to approximately 250 words or less.

Create different versions of your Artist’s Biography to use for different purposes.

First, before you go further, if you don’t have many credits on your resume read this: “How to Expand Your Short Artist’s Biography – 12 Great Ideas”

Why You Need to write Your Artist’s Biography

Colorful art website. Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

You need a well-written artist’s biography to…

Promote your art on your website and blog on the “About the Artist” page.

Create your profile on your social media platforms.

Provide material in your cover letter to a gallery or other art official.

Give to a publicity outlet — art editor, feature story editor or radio or TV host.

Add to your exhibition press release.

Serve as an integral part of a brochure or catalogue.

Add to your proposal for a grant, lecture, workshop or panel discussion.

What To Include in Your Biography

What are the unique attributes of your art?

Where have you previously lived and where do you currently live?

When, where, and/or why did you begin to take interest in art?

Did you study art in school, or were you self-taught?

Did you go to college or art school? Where? What did you study?

Did you receive any press coverage?

What is the title of the magazine/newspaper or blog and the writer’s name?

Have you been interviewed on TV or radio?

What is the title of the show and person who interviewed you?

What exhibitions did you participate in?

What is the name of the exhibition location and title of exhibition?

Was it a juried or invitational exhibition? What is the name of the juror?

Is your art in any important public collections? Which ones?

What awards and honors have you earned?

Have you served in other art art related capacities,  such as: Serving on the Board of Directors or committee of an arts organization?

Have you curated any exhibitions?

Have you written articles about art that have been published?

Have any books about you and your art been published?

Do you create other art-related items in addition to original works of art?

Read some samples of the Artist’s Biography.

Avoid these mistakes i’ve seen on artists’ websites.

Avoid writing about intimate, personal experiences that are not related to your career or artistic vision.

Avoid the use of jargon, colloquialism, and esoteric language that will alienate most potential buyers.

Avoid writing long biographies about your trials and tribulations beginning with childhood, grade school art work…

Avoid grandiose over-inflated jargon about yourself.

Avoid writing excessive quotes and references to famous artists.

Remember, if someone is interested in buying your art or showing your art in their gallery they are more interested in your current career credentials, not what you did as a child.

Read “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Artist’s Biography”

Also Read “How to Expand Your Short Artist’s Biography – 12 Great Ideas”

Do You Want Me to Write Your Artist’s Biography? Go to this page to find out how I can help you.

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About Renee Phillips

Renée Phillips is a mentor and advocate for artists helping them achieve their fullest potential. She provides career advice, writing services, and promotion for artists from beginners to advanced. She organizes online exhibitions open to all artists as Director/Curator of Manhattan Arts International www.ManhattanArts.com and Founder of The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS www.healing-power-of-art.org. As an arts' advocate she has served on the advisory boards of several non-profit arts organizations. She lives in New York, NY.

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12/23 at 11:09 am

Thank you for sharing your invaluable insight into writing biographies etc.

I am in the process of entering a competition in the UK and I will certainly use your advice to help create my biography.

Accuracy of written content is clearly important to us both and I thought I would like to mention a typo you have made in your ‘Why do you need to write Your Artist’s Biography?’ section, where you have stated, ‘Add to your your exhibition press release.’ (the word ‘your’ repeated ).

I hope you won’t find offence in bringing this to your attention but obviously you want to keep an accurate page without errors.

Kind regards. Bill

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12/24 at 11:42 am

Thank you Bill for reading my article and calling my attention to the typo in it. I have fired my assistant editor/proofreader for failing to catch it. Only joking. I greatly appreciate it. 🙂

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11/03 at 11:18 am

Thank you so much for your most informative article full of guidance. I am currently assisting a homeless Indigenous artist to get off the streets and launch his art career.

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12/24 at 12:14 am

I am a Volunteer with 30 Students approximately 25 active art students. Thay range in age from 4 to 75 with a love for art. I need help with helping them .write their bio and artist statements..Need direction on how to help and how to get help to support my group..I find it hard to get people to share information that will help you grow and thrive in thie art world. I have learned that I have a lot to learn a long road ahead I’m a 62 year old retired .,.nurse.I’ve been an artist for 12 years .

12/24 at 9:34 am

Dear Shirley, Thank you for the work you do helping art students. It must be also very gratifying for you. I love offering advice to artists. Please share this article with your group and suggest that they subscribe to my blog email newsletter to see new articles when they are published. I also suggest you read and share How to Write Your Artist’s Statement. Don’t get discouraged. It can be overwhelming to navigate the business of being an artist. Here’s a good article to read: Take Small Steps to Achieve Large Art Career Goals.t a time . As far as funding for your group, I don’t know where you live, but there are nonprofit organizations that serve as an “umbrella” for groups like yours. Keep going and best wishes to you and your students!

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11/13 at 9:35 am

This site is so super amazing and super helpful! I was so happy to have my artist statement! Best Regards, Patrick !

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03/20 at 1:13 am

This article was helpful for me but I want to know how I can write organizational biography? Do you have any idea about that, if you have, please share it with me?

Regards, Sumera

03/20 at 9:13 am

Hi Sumera, I’m glad you found the article helpful to you. What do you mean by an “organizational biography”? My guess is you may be referring to a biography of an organization, which would include such information as its mission statement and objectives, often with such categories as “Who We Are”, “What We Do”, “Benefits to Sponsors”, “Benefits to Members”, etc. If so, there are articles about art organizations on The Artrepreneur Coach website. Use this link to find examples of art organizations with good examples of their missions and objectives on their websites https://renee-phillips.com/?s=art+organizations I hope this information helps you.

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05/21 at 6:33 pm

Thank you for the guideline. I found this very helpful and concise.

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05/16 at 5:31 am

Hello Renee Thanks for this information. It is helpful to me and many more who need such insights.

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07/09 at 5:45 pm

I have an artist who I think would really connect with you and benefit from your services. How do I get him connected?

Best Stephanie

07/10 at 6:56 pm

Hi Stephanie, Thank you for your interest in my services. Please direct the artist you know to this page: https://renee-phillips.com/career-coaching-for-artists/ . Information about my consulting and writing services, fees, testimonials and how to contact are all there or a click away. All the best, Renee

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09/05 at 6:28 am

Thank you very much for this service , I am having my first show of my life , and am grateful that this help and the awesome advice , i feel blessed to share my work in some capacity to the rest of the World , Aloha

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09/03 at 3:29 pm

I did not realize how important a good biography of myself needs to be. I thank you for your helpful tips. Can hardly wait for a more profitable future.

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Writing Services for Artists

My specialty is writing Art Reviews and Art Statements / "Praise Quotes" for artists to use for promotion... on their websites, social media profiles, exhibition catalogues, grant submissions, blog posts, press releases, artists’ books and more. My writing for artists has led to increasing their art sales, attracting publicity, gaining … More...

Copyright © 2014 -2024 Renee Phillips Manhattan Arts International 200 East 72 Street, New York, NY 10021 [email protected]

The Gallery’s Guide to Writing Good Artist Bios

Paco Pomet in his studio

Including artist bios on your gallery’s website is an excellent way to engage readers and collectors, and to help you frame your gallery’s artistic focus and position the artists you represent. A good artist bio will inspire collectors to want to find out more about the artists and their work and lead them to keep browsing the artist’s works on your website. See the artist bios as your artists’ business cards – you want them to stand out, to provide all the essential information, and to convince collectors to become interested and, eventually, to reach out and buy works. Read on to discover how to write a stellar artist bio thanks to our 10 tips.

1. Create a concise summary

An artist bio should concisely summarise the artist’s practice. It’s not about covering an artist’s entire CV or full biography. Focus on a few main points that you believe to best introduce the artist and their art. Always include the medium, themes, techniques, and influences the artist works with.

2. Use clean, simple language

Use clean, simple language and avoid academic jargon and exaggerated language. Readers respond to authentic, simple texts and will take you much more seriously than if you use over-embellished language.

3. Grab the attention with a creative first sentence

Try to start the bio with a first line that is not simply a standard biographical introduction. Instead, be more creative and write a first sentence that grabs your readers’ attention while also telling them what is the most important thing about this artist and their work.

4. Include the artist's date of birth and nationality

Always add the date of birth (and in the case of artists who have passed away, the date of death) and the nationality of the artist. Also mention where they are mainly based – readers are interested in knowing where an artist is living and working, as this adds to a certain understanding about the artist’s influences and way of working.

5. Keep the bio around 120 words

The bio should be between 80 and 140 words. An ideal artist bio is 120 words. Research at museums has shown that visitors lose interest in reading wall labels accompanying art works after 150 words. That’s why it’s better to limit your word count to around 120 words – your readers will get enough information and be curious to learn more on their own, without getting bored and leaving your page because they don’t want to read an unnecessarily long text.

6. Discuss medium, techniques and style

Include all the important tangible aspects of the artist’s practice including: the medium and techniques the artist uses and the artistic style. Give examples of the artist’s key works that clearly elucidate these qualities.

7. Describe the main themes

Describe the main themes which the artist depicts in the work. What are the subjects and issues that inspire the themes in the artist’s pieces?

8. Position the artist in art history

Briefly reflect on the artist’s position in art history. What makes this artist important, what impact does he or she have on the history of art, which artists have influenced this artist and in what way has the artist redefined a certain medium or artistic technique?

9. Place the artist in his/her specific context

Position the artist in his or her cultural, political, social or technological context. Consider which events and which influences from the artist’s background and everyday life influence the way they work, and the art they produce.

10. Add a relevant quote

If you can find a short, relevant quote from the artist which supports the above-mentioned points, it can be a nice touch to add this to the bio in order to make it stand out more as an engaging, original piece.

Follow our ‘Gallery’s Guide’ series for more useful tips and strategies to improve your gallery’s online presence and business.

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Writing an artist’s biography

An artist biography (or ‘artists biog’) is a paragraph or two about you and your career as a practitioner. it may also contain a line about the key themes to your practice..

Zine Workshop on Co-operative Art Education. Conway Hall, 23 Nov 2019

Biographies are often confused with other tools used for self-promotion. A biography differs from an artist’s CV in being only written in prose. An artist statement talks about the work and the thinking behind it. A biography talks about the person themselves.

What to include in your artists’ biog

The sort of key information in an artist’s biography might be:

  • The medium you work in
  • A line about the key themes, concerns of your practice.
  • Your showing history
  • Your art related education (degree level onwards)
  • Other interesting information relevant to your practice or career as an artist (e.g. collaborations or arts collectives, other areas or aspects to your career that inform your practice)
  • Where you live and work

How to Write an Effective Artist Bio

Jun 21, 2023 • knowledge, information.

  • What medium/media does the artist work in?
  • What is his or her style like?
  • What significant work or series can you talk about that will give a visual description of the above qualities?
  • What are common or characteristic themes depicted in the artist’s work? What subjects drive the works or provide underlying themes?
  • Why is this artist important?
  • What impact did this artist make on history, or what precedent did this artist set in art-making? What other artists impacted the artist’s practice?
  • How did this artist redefine a medium or media?
  • Who were the artist’s peers or teachers?
  • In what political or technological climate was/is the artist working in, i.e., what historical or political events might have influenced the work?
  • What areas of the arts or popular culture did this artist incorporate into his or her work?
  • What other areas of the arts or popular culture did/does this artist engage with, e.g., creating theatrical sets, costumes, music videos, etc.?
  • Can any of these above questions be answered in a brief (1-2 sentences) and engaging quotation from the artist?

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Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

10 Examples of artist bios: How to write a super artist bio

Examples of artist bios often include key elements like the artist's name, area of expertise, career milestones, personal interests, and contact info. They're tailored to engage the audience while reflecting the artist's unique voice and journey.

Ever find yourself staring at a blank screen, wondering how to condense your artistic journey into a few paragraphs?

Trust me, you're not alone.

An artist bio isn't just a list of facts; it's a narrative that invites people into your creative world.

So, why is it so crucial?

Well, it's your handshake with the audience, a way to say, “Hey, this is me, and this is my art.”

Stick around as we go into the how-tos and examples of artist bios that make a lasting impression.

On this page

Key Takeaways

  • Define your artistic identity clearly : Your bio is your opportunity to introduce not just your art, but who you are as an artist. It should include your medium, inspiration, and artistic goals. This clarity helps in aligning your business plan with your art, ensuring your marketing strategies and portfolio resonate with your artistic vision.
  • Use your unique voice : Inject your personality into your bio to make it stand out. Whether your tone is serious, whimsical, or quirky, ensure it reflects the uniqueness of your art. This authenticity makes your bio more engaging and memorable, inviting your audience into your creative world.
  • Update regularly : As your artistic journey evolves, so should your bio. Regular updates reflecting new milestones, exhibitions, or shifts in your artistic focus keep your audience informed and engaged. This dynamic approach ensures your bio remains relevant and an accurate reflection of your current artistic identity.

Defining Yourself as an Artist in Your Bio Informs Your Business Plan

There is an interesting interplay between your artist bio and your business plan.

You see, your artist bio isn't just a narrative; it's a declaration of your artistic identity . It's where you lay out your style, your inspirations, your goals—essentially, it's where you define who you are as an artist.

And guess what?

When you're clear about your artistic identity in your bio, it becomes easier to map out a business plan that truly aligns with your art and your aspirations.

Your bio can help you identify your target audience, decide on the right marketing strategies, and even guide you in creating a portfolio that resonates with your artistic vision.

The Artist Bio vs. The Artist Statement: What's the Difference?

The artist bio and the artist statement—two essential pieces of writing, yet each serves a distinct purpose in the world of art.

Your artist bio is like the opening scene of a film; it sets the stage and introduces the characters. It's a narrative that tells the story of you—the artist. It covers your journey, your influences, your achievements, and even a bit of your personality. It's a comprehensive look at who you are, aimed at engaging the audience and making them want to know more about you and, by extension, your art.

Now, the artist statement, that's a different beast altogether.

Think of it as a spotlight that shines exclusively on a specific body of work. It's your chance to delve deep into your artistic process, the themes you explore, and the techniques you employ.

While your bio might say, “I'm a painter inspired by nature,” your artist statement would elaborate on how the colors of autumn leaves influence your palette, or how the texture of tree bark finds its way into your brush strokes. It's more focused, more immediate, and speaks directly to the art that's right in front of the viewer.

So, while your bio draws people into your world, your artist statement guides them through a specific landscape within that world.

Writing the Perfect Artist Bio

Your artistic title: what's your medium.

First things first, let's get clear on what you do.

Are you a painter, a digital artist, or maybe a sculptor?

Your title sets the stage, so make it clear and precise.

Your Home Base: Where's Your Creative Den?

Your location can say a lot about you and your art.

Whether you're soaking up the urban vibes of a bustling city or drawing inspiration from a tranquil countryside, let people know where you're coming from—literally.

Your Milestones: What's Your Artistic Journey?

Here's where you can brag a little. Got any exhibitions, awards, or significant projects under your belt? This is the time to shine a spotlight on them.

A Dash of You: What Makes You Tick?

Throw in some personal tidbits to make your bio relatable. Are you a coffee addict, a night owl, or maybe a hiking enthusiast? These little details can make you more memorable.

Stay Connected: How Can We Reach You?

Don't forget to include ways people can connect with you. Your website, social media handles, and other contact information should be easily accessible.

Tips for Improving Your Artist Bio

Crafting an artist bio is like painting a self-portrait with words. It's a small canvas, but it can make a big impact.

Here are some tips that'll help you brush up your bio and make it a masterpiece.

Understand the Audience

First off, know who you're talking to.

Are you aiming for gallery curators, potential clients, or a broader audience on social media?

Tailoring your tone and content based on your audience can make your bio resonate more effectively.

For instance, if your primary audience is other artists, you might want to delve into the nitty-gritty of your techniques.

Use Your Unique Voice

Your art is unique, and so are you.

Let your personality shine through your writing. Whether you're quirky, serious, or whimsical, your voice should be consistent with the art you create.

This adds a layer of authenticity and makes your bio more engaging.

Consider Length Requirements

How long should it be?

Well, it depends on where your bio will be published.

If it's for a gallery submission, they might have specific word limits.

On your own website, you have more freedom.

But remember, a bio is like a good sketch—detailed enough to be interesting, but not so much that it becomes a full-blown painting.

Additional Artist Bio Tips

  • Avoid Jargon : Unless your audience is well-versed in art terminology, keep it simple. You want to invite people into your world, not alienate them.
  • Be Honest, Be You : Authenticity shines brighter than any embellishment. Your bio should be a true reflection of who you are as an artist.
  • Proofreading is Your Friend : Before publishing, make sure to proofread your bio. A typo can be a small thing that takes away from the overall picture. Maybe even get a second pair of eyes to look it over.
  • Update, Update, Update : Your art evolves, and so should your bio. Every time there's a significant change in your artistic journey, take a moment to update your bio.

Examples of Artist Bios

Example 1: the landscape painter.

Sarah Green – Your Friendly Neighborhood Landscape Painter

I'm Sarah Green, and I'm carving my path as a landscape painter right here in the heart of Maplewood. I'm honing my skills at Maplewood Community College's Fine Arts program and have had the joy of showcasing my work at local art fairs.

My art is a love letter to Mother Nature, capturing her in her most tranquil moments.

When I'm not with my easel and paints, you'll find me trekking through local trails or lending a hand at our community animal shelter. Nature and critters aren't just my muse; they're my world.

Curious to see my work or just want to chat? Swing by my website or give me a follow on Instagram. Let's connect!

Example 2: The Fine Art Photographer

Tim Lee – Capturing the Urban Jungle Through My Lens

I'm Tim Lee, a budding fine art photographer rooted in the vibrant city of Chicago. I've taken some killer online courses and even had my work grace the walls of a local café.

My lens is drawn to the raw energy of city life—graffiti, faces, and all the little things that make our urban world tick.

When I'm not behind the camera, you'll catch me sipping on some artisanal coffee or cruising the streets on my skateboard. The city isn't just my canvas; it's my playground.

Want to reach out? You can find me and my work on my website or get a daily dose of my urban adventures on Twitter.

Example 3: The Abstract Painter

Emily Patel – Diving Into the Emotional Depths of Abstract Art

Hello, beautiful people! I'm Emily Patel, an up-and-coming abstract painter soaking up the sun in San Diego. I'm a self-taught artist, and I'm just beginning to dip my toes into the colorful world of abstract painting.

My art is a journey through emotions, guided by a symphony of colors and textures.

When I'm not lost in my art, I find peace in yoga and inspiration in poetry—both of which seep into my work.

Want to connect or explore my art? Feel free to visit my brand-new website or follow my artistic journey on Facebook.

Example 4: The Sculptor Finding Beauty in the Mundane

Mark Thompson – Sculpting Everyday Objects into Art

I'm Mark Thompson, a sculptor based in the artsy town of Asheville. I've studied at the Asheville School of Art and have been featured in several local exhibitions.

My sculptures turn everyday objects into something extraordinary, challenging how we view the world around us.

When I'm not sculpting, I'm usually found at flea markets hunting for my next inspiration or playing the guitar.

Interested in my work? Visit my website or follow me on Pinterest for my latest creations.

Example 5: The Digital Artist with a Social Message

Lisa Kim – Digital Art for Social Change

I'm Lisa Kim, a digital artist operating out of New York City. I've completed a digital art course from NYU and my art often appears in online social campaigns.

My digital canvases are platforms for social justice, aiming to provoke thought and inspire change.

Outside of art, I'm an avid reader and a volunteer at a local food bank.

Feel free to check out my portfolio online or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Example 6: The Watercolor Artist Inspired by Travel

Carlos Rivera – Painting the World One Brushstroke at a Time

I'm Carlos Rivera, a watercolor artist who finds inspiration from my travels. I've studied art in Spain and have exhibited my work in various European cities.

My art is a passport to different cultures, capturing the essence of places I've visited.

When I'm not painting, I'm planning my next adventure or cooking up some international cuisine.

You can find my work and travel stories on my blog or follow me on Instagram.

Example 7: The Mixed Media Artist

Angela White – Mixing Media, Mixing Messages

I'm Angela White, a mixed media artist based in San Francisco. I've taken workshops from renowned artists and have participated in group shows.

My art blends materials and messages, creating a unique narrative in each piece.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking and have a soft spot for vintage fashion.

To see my latest projects or to get in touch, visit my website or find me on Etsy.

Example 8: The Portrait Artist with a Twist

Jake O'Brien – Portraits That Tell a Story

Hey folks! I'm Jake O'Brien, a portrait artist from Boston. I've studied at the Boston School of Fine Arts and my work has been featured in several local galleries.

My portraits aren't just faces; they're stories waiting to be told.

When I'm not painting, I'm usually found at jazz clubs or writing short stories.

Curious about my work? Check out my portfolio on my website or follow me on Tumblr.

Example 9: The Environmental Artist

Fiona Chen – Art for Earth's Sake

I'm Fiona Chen, an environmental artist based in Vancouver. I've collaborated with environmental organizations and have had my installations displayed at eco-festivals.

My art is a call to action, aiming to raise awareness about environmental issues.

Outside of my art, I'm an active member of local environmental groups and a weekend gardener.

To learn more or to collaborate, visit my website or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Example 10: The Ceramic Artist

Raj Kaur – Crafting Stories in Clay

I'm Raj Kaur, a ceramic artist from London. I've trained under master potters and have my own studio where I teach pottery classes.

My ceramics are more than objects; they're vessels of stories and traditions.

When I'm not at the wheel, I enjoy cooking and exploring local art scenes.

Interested? You can find my pieces and upcoming classes on my website or follow me on Pinterest.

FAQs and Additional Tips for Your Artist Bio

Crafting an artist bio isn't just about listing facts; it's about telling a story, your story .

Here are some frequently asked questions and additional tips that can help you make your bio not just informative but also engaging and reflective of your unique artistic voice.

How Can You Infuse Your Unique Artistic Voice Into Your Bio?

Your bio should be as unique as your art.

Use descriptive language that reflects your artistic style. If your art is whimsical and colorful, let that show in your choice of words. If it's dark and moody, your bio can reflect that tone.

Your bio should feel like an extension of your art, offering a textual snapshot of what you bring to the canvas, the sculpture, or the lens.

What Aspects of Your Artistic Journey Are Most Compelling and Should Be Highlighted?

Think about the milestones and experiences that have shaped you as an artist.

Did a particular event or person inspire you to take up art?

Have you won awards or participated in exhibitions?

Maybe you've traveled to unique places for your art?

These are the stories that make you interesting and relatable. Include them to give a fuller picture of who you are.

How Can Your Bio Serve as a Tool for Audience Engagement and Even Advocacy for Causes You Care About?

Your bio isn't just a CV; it's a platform.

If you're passionate about certain causes, like environmental conservation or social justice, your bio is a space to advocate for these issues. Mention projects or artworks that reflect these causes.

It not only shows that you stand for something but also attracts like-minded individuals who may become supporters of both your art and your cause.

artist biography how to write

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Writing An Artist Bio: The Ultimate Guide for Fine Artists

SHARE ARTICLE:

As a visual artist, you may not consider yourself a writer, and that’s OK.

But your Artist Bio is an important piece of writing you do need to nail down.

artist biography how to write

You will need it for exhibition or gallery applications, artist websites, press releases, publicity materials, etc…

The good news is once you have it done and dusted, you won’t need to do it again!

At most, you will simply refine it over the years.

So read along, and let’s get your Bio done right…

Artist Statement and Artist Bio: What’s the difference?

The two powerful tools you can use to communicate the meaning and intentions behind your art to your audience are your artist statement and artist bio.

Your artist statement is a great way to share your creative process, inspiration, and philosophy with your audience. It’s like a manifesto for your art, where you can dive deep into what drives you to create and what you hope to achieve through your work.

On the other hand, your artist bio is like a snapshot of your artistic journey so far. It’s a potted history of your life as an artist, highlighting your achievements, experiences, and background. Your artist bio serves as an introduction to your work, and it helps your audience understand your perspective as an artist.

In other words, while your artist statement focuses on your art and medium, your artist bio is all about YOU as an artist.

When you introduce your art in your artist statement, it’s like saying, “Hey folks, check out my art!” But when it comes to your bio, you’re basically saying:

🙋‍♂️ “Hey folks, here’s a little bit about me!”

Important Considerations Before Crafting Your Artist Bio

We get it – talking about yourself can feel awkward, but the details about your passion, inspiration, and dreams are just as crucial as your artwork. People are naturally curious creatures, so it’s no surprise that viewers and readers want to know a bit about you. After all, your art is a reflection of who you are as a person and an artist.

There are a few things you might want to consider before you get started with your artist bio. Let’s go through them together!

✅  It’s OK to show a glimpse of your personality.

Starting off your artist bio with a hook is crucial to grabbing your readers’ attention.

A little bit of humor can go a long way in reeling them in and warming them up to both you and your art. So why not give it a shot and inject some personality into your bio?

✅  Your artist bio should not be too corporate—it’s not a CV or a resume.

When it comes to crafting your artist bio, it can be tempting to list out every single accomplishment and accolade you’ve received throughout your career.

But most of the time, less is often more.

Instead of overwhelming your readers with a laundry list of accomplishments, it’s important to be selective and choose only the most noteworthy and relevant highlights of your career. This will not only make your bio more concise and easier to read, but it will also give your readers a better sense of who you are as an artist.

Crafting Your Artist Bio: Tips and Tricks for Fine Artists

Okay, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get started on writing that artist bio.

artist biography how to write

To help you out, we’ve gathered some handy tips and tricks that will make the process easier and more effective.

✅  Write in the third person (e.g., he, she, his, hers, they)

Have you ever considered what someone else might write about you if given the task of crafting your bio?

It may seem like a strange exercise, but putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining what they might say about you can be an incredibly helpful tool in crafting your own bio.

This exercise can help you identify the most important aspects of your career and artistry from an outsider’s perspective, as well as highlight any strengths or unique qualities that may not have been immediately apparent to you.

So, what might someone else write about you? Perhaps they would focus on your bold use of color or your ability to create intricate and detailed works of art.

Maybe they would highlight your commitment to environmentalism and the use of sustainable materials in your artwork. Or perhaps they would focus on your professional accomplishments and exhibitions.

Regardless of what they might say, the exercise of imagining someone else’s perspective can help you gain clarity and insight into your own career and artistic identity.

Use these insights to inform your own bio and make it truly stand out to potential clients and fans.

✅  Keep it concise and straight to the point.

As a fine artist, you want your artist bio to leave a lasting impression on your readers – but you don’t want to bore them with a lengthy essay. That’s why it’s important to use simple and direct sentences that will keep your readers engaged and interested in what you have to say.

By using concise language and avoiding complex sentence structures, you can make your bio easy to read and understand. This will not only help to hold your reader’s attention, but it will also give them a better understanding of who you are as an artist and what you have to offer.

So, the next time you sit down to write your artist bio, remember to keep it simple and direct. Your readers will thank you for it. 😉

✅  Be creative.

Your creativity is your greatest asset – and that should extend to your artist bio as well. While it can be tempting to stick to a standard format or template, your bio is an opportunity to showcase your unique personality and artistic style.

So, don’t be afraid to get creative with your bio!

Your bio can be a combination of

➡️ where you came from

➡️ where you went to school

➡️ your inspirations

➡️ your artistic process and philosophy

➡️ your interests

➡️ and your accomplishments as a human being.

All of these add more dimension to your narrative. You can tackle different angles, but make sure that the subject is always your artistic development.

But let’s be real, how can you make your bio stand out and tell a compelling story?

One way is to use timelines and narrative progression to organize your thoughts and show your artistic journey in a clear and coherent manner. Break down your career highlights into different time periods, so readers can see how your work has evolved over time and how you have grown as an artist.

To get started, make sure your timelines are easy to follow. Use bullet points or subheadings to separate different phases of your career and highlight your key achievements and milestones from each era.

And don’t forget about the importance of narrative progression – by framing your career journey as a progression from past to present , you can help readers understand how each phase of your career has influenced the next.

With these tips in mind, you can create a killer artist bio that showcases your artistic development and highlights the unique qualities that make you a standout in your field.

Should Previous Non-Art Related Degrees and Jobs Be Included in an Artist Bio?

artist biography how to write

The answer is simple – yes, you may include them! Your bio is the perfect place to share your unique journey as an artist.

The trick to including non-art-related experiences in your bio is to connect them with your current artistic career . How did those experiences shape your perspective and inspire your work? For instance, if you worked in the field of child welfare, how did that experience influence your artistic vision?

Including non-art-related experiences can make you a more interesting artist and give viewers a deeper understanding of who you are as a person. It’s not just about your art degree but about the experiences that make you who you are today.

When writing your bio, don’t keep your previous jobs and degrees separate from your artistic career. Integrate them into your story and tell your audience how they have impacted your artistic process.

What’s the Perfect Length for Your Artist Bio?

If you have been wondering how long your biography should be, we’ve got you covered!

Here are some pointers to help you decide on the length of your artist bio:

✅ Your biography can be as short as a few paragraphs or as long as two to three or four pages. It really depends on how much information you want to include.

✅ If you want to keep it short and sweet, a brief summary or biographical statement at the back of your portfolio or on your website is perfectly fine. This gives a quick overview of your background and accomplishments.

✅ If you want to provide more detail, an extensive biography can be very helpful and effective in making sales. This can be from three to seven pages long, written in the third person, and laid out in a magazine-style format. This type of bio is ideal for artists who want to give collectors a more in-depth look at their life and career.

✅ Your biography is a document that can evolve over time and can grow or shrink in length. Keep it up to date with your latest achievements.

✅ Sharing your background, life, and career development can help establish additional credibility for you as an artist. Potential buyers find it fascinating, and it creates a deeper connection with them.

✅ You can combine your short bio with elements of your artist statement to weave together your work and life. This can make your bio a little lengthier, but it gives readers a more holistic view of your artistic vision and process.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long your artist bio should be. Consider your goals and the level of detail you want to share, and use that as a guide when crafting your biography.

Oops! Don’t Make These Mistakes When Writing Your Artist Bio

Did you make these mistakes when writing your artist bio? Don’t worry—it’s not too late to fix them! Let’s take a look at some of the most common pitfalls to avoid when crafting your artist bio.

✅  Poor Writing

When it comes to your artist bio, it’s crucial to make sure it’s well-written and polished. You don’t want any errors or awkward sentences to distract your audience from your amazing work.

So, take the time to proofread it multiple times and make sure it’s free of any mistakes. Even small writing errors can give off an unprofessional impression to your readers.

✅  Sharing too much information

While it can be tempting to include every detail of your life, it’s best to stick to information that is relevant to your artistic identity. Avoid sharing too much information about your personal life or unrelated accomplishments and instead focus on highlighting your artistic achievements and aspirations.

✅  Lack of personality

Let your artist bio be a reflection of your one-of-a-kind personality and style. Avoid using generic terms and concepts that make you sound like a robot. Instead, infuse your bio with your unique voice and perspective on life to make it stand out.

Ready to share your Artist Bio with the world? Here are a few things you should do first

So, you’ve written your artist bio, and you’re eager to share it with the world. But before you hit that publish button, there are a few crucial steps you should take to make sure your bio is polished and ready to impress.

✅  Read, reread, and proofread

Have you read your artist bio out loud yet? This is a crucial step in making sure that your bio sounds both natural and professional while still being approachable to your audience.

Now, chances are, your first draft is going to need a lot of trimming down. That’s why it’s important to reread it multiple times and make changes to any areas that need improvement.

And don’t forget to ask a friend to proofread it for you as well. They can give you valuable feedback on how to make it look and sound even better. Trust us, it’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes review your work!

✅  Have a fellow artist review your artist bio—hear that second opinion 😉

artist biography how to write

It’s always a good idea to have someone else take a look at your artist bio before sharing it with the world. And who better to turn to than a fellow artist? They can give you honest and objective feedback that can help you refine your message and make sure that your bio truly reflects your identity as an artist and your body of work.

So, if you have an artist friend who’s willing to take a look, don’t hesitate to send them a copy of your bio and ask for their thoughts. Ask them what they loved about it and what could be improved. Their insights could help clarify your message and make your bio even more effective.

How Often Should You Update Your Artist Bio?

Well, the answer is pretty straightforward – as often as you need to!

Your artist bio is an important tool for introducing yourself to potential buyers, galleries, and employers, so it should be kept up to date as your career progresses.

Revisiting your biography every year is a great way to ensure it still accurately represents your current work and achievements. As you continue to create new pieces and gain recognition, you’ll want to make sure your biography is showcasing your latest and greatest.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using an outdated biography. You may have created a biography early on in your career, and it may not be relevant anymore. That’s okay! Take some time to review and update it, and make sure it reflects your current work and accomplishments.

Your artist bio is a BIG deal.

And the good news is that once you have it ready, you feel a BIG relief.

It’s what can set you apart from the rest and help you connect with your audience. So, when you sit down to write it, take your time and put in the effort to craft something that really reflects who you are as an artist.

Your bio can add that extra layer of interest and intrigue to your art, so make it count!

Want one on one help with your bio? If you would like to have word-by-word artist bio templates, your own bio revised and edited by a professional art writer, then consider applying to our flagship program – the  Professional Artist Accelerator .

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artist biography how to write

  • Professional Advice

How to Write an Artist Biography

The intent of your artist biography is to let people know who you are, what you do and your most important accomplishments. It can also include how your life has influenced your artwork. A biography is written in the third person and can vary in length (fr om one sentence to a half - page).

STEP 1 - Brainstorm

List information that you could include in your biography, about you, your work and your accomplishments.

  • Your origins
  • Where you live and work
  • Your inspiration or motivation (a place, material or issue)

ABOUT YOUR WORK

  • Discipline, genre and medium you work in
  • Other art - related work (curator, art writer, workshop facilitator, board member, etc.) Key themes in your work
  • Wha t makes your work unique
  • What you hope to accomplish with your work
  • Significant projects that you are working on or that are upcoming

ABOUT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Important art - related education (programs, mentorships, residencies, classes, influences, ment ors, certificates, degrees, self - taught, workshops, etc.)
  • Notable collections, events, exhibitions, performances, projects, etc.
  • Awards (prizes, grants) and professional achievements
  • Media coverage, publications, etc.

STEP 2 - Write

Before you start writing, research the biographies of artists you admire or whose practices align with your own. This will give you ideas on how to structure your biography. Summarize the information from step 1 into the following four general topics. Wri te brief sentences without worrying about proper syntax and grammar.

  • You (who you are, your identity, where you live and work) and how your experiences have influenced your work
  • Training, education, discipline(s), preferred medium(s), area of expertise
  • Pas t projects (bodies of work, exhibitions, awards, reviews, collections, contracts, etc.)
  • Current projects (Are you learning a new medium? Researching a specific subject? Participating in a program or a residency? Making new work? Preparing for an upcoming e xhibition? Employed in an art - related field?)

Now, assess what you have written. What are the most important points? What information is most interesting? Are there any sentences that could be removed or combined? Is there a sentence or topic that could n icely lead to another? Rewrite the information in paragraph format in the third person.

Finally, edit your writing to be as clear as possible. Remove repetitive sentences and use synonyms to replace words that repeat.

STEP 3 - Proofread

Have a friend or colleague read your biography, and be open to suggestions. Make sure that you do not have any misspelled words and that your verb tense is consistent throughout.

STEP 4 - Save

You will need various versions and lengths of your biography for specific au diences or purposes. Parts from a previous biography can be reused in different versions. Save your biography in a Biography folder by date and purpose for future reference, for example:

  • 2018 Solo Show Bio
  • 2020 Website Bio
  • 2022 Beading Workshop Bio

A da pted from Jenny Western’s ICC Writing Lab notes, the Guelph Arts Council’s How to Write Your Artist’s Bio (In 5 Easy Steps) b y Jane Litchfield, and notes from Shawna Dempsey and Yvette Cenerini.

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How to Write an Artist Biography? (BONUS: Artist Biography Examples)

Jewel Olivos

  • Last Updated: February 20, 2024

artist biography examples

Art Ignition is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.

Are you going blank at the thought of writing an artist bio?

It’s okay! Artist bios are actually not all that complicated to write, there’s not much for you to learn about before you can start doing it.

As for what you do need to know, continue reading below to see some artist biography examples and find out:

What Is an Artist Bio?

1. point of view, 2. keep artist bios short and concise, 3. focus on answering the key questions, step 1. state your name and background, step 2. introduce your artist journey, step 3. talk about your art style, step 4. discuss your personal influences and inspiration, step 5. list your artistic achievements, 1. professional presentation, 2. gallery or exhibition submission, 3. personal or business website, final thoughts:.

Artist bios are short pieces of writing that include the details of an artist’s life and work. It’s written to serve as the connecting bridge between the artist and the rest of the world.

You can put it on your website, social media, art portfolio, resume, etc. so that your audience and other interested parties can get to know you and your art without having to do deep research themselves.

Things You Should Know Before Writing an Artist Bio

Before we move on to the tutorial, let’s talk about some general rules for drafting a good bio agreed upon by most artists:

point of view

The point of view most accepted by most people is third-person POV. Third-person POV is best because it looks more formal and is more easily acceptable for others to read.

To say it bluntly, most people think that writing distantly like this makes it sound like others are talking about you. Rather than you bragging or selling yourself directly.

Of course, not everyone writes their artist bios so distantly. There are some artists who still prefer the more intimate first-person POV for their artist bios. Primarily because it always sounds like you’re talking to your audience directly in this way. So it seems more personal.

Although there is no strict rule when it comes to exactly how long an artist bio should be, it’s always best to keep it short and concise — lest visitors lose interest as soon as they see it.

The general rule of thumb for creating the perfect artist bio is to keep it to a single paragraph — two at most! The paragraph can be a bit longer if need be but try not to make it so long that it takes up the whole page.

Note! It makes sense for artist bios to be long on some occasions. But if you take a look at the artist bio in the image below, you can see how easy it is to lose your focus when you see a page with such a large word count. Readers call long bios that take up a whole page like this ‘wall labels’ because there are so many words that it becomes visually distracting.

artist bios

If you want to write a long artist bio like this, it’s best to preface it with a short and concise sentence or paragraph, like the one shown on Timothy Goodman’s website.

Put it in bold and make the font bigger so that it can stand out! That way, you can grab the reader’s attention at the first line and allow them to sink their teeth in first.

artist bio example

As a plus, this practice of keeping artist bios short is helpful for search engine optimization. At least, it makes it more likely for your art website to show up above other artists on search engines.

Finally, the most important thing about writing the perfect artist bio is to give the reader the information that they want. For exact details, you can take a look at the tutorial written in the next section.

The key thing is to remember that the purpose of creating an artist bio is to introduce yourself and your value as an artist. So, try not to get too side-tracked.

focus on answering the key questions

To give you some reference, have a look at Alexander Calder’s artist bio. Alexander Calder is an American sculptor best known for creating the first mobile art in history.

Most people who go to his website are looking for information about this detail. As such, his accomplishments in this area are the focus of his bio. Not only does it mention the fact that his father was also a sculptor, but also that he had created his first sculptures when he was a child.

It even talked about a specific sculpture that he had worked on and emphasized his talent in that area. And it does all of this without overstating anything, which only makes the audience reading the summary more interested in his professional work and style.

How to Write an Artist Bio?

Alright, now that we’ve finished getting to know some of the more important rules, let’s start drafting artist bios ASAP! For this, we’ve prepared an in-depth tutorial:

To start writing a bio, your first sentence should include your name and your background.

As can be seen in the artist bio example below, Sophie Kahn introduced her name in the first sentence and then talked about her modern art career and background — she was born in Melbourn, Australia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

state your name and background

This part usually only takes up one sentence. The artist bio example above takes up two sentences, which is okay, but it’s still preferable to state this as briefly as possible — like in Samantha Keely Smith’s bio below.

writing an artist bio

After stating your name and background, you can spare a sentence or two to talk about your artist journey.

How did you get your start? Are you like Michelle Carlos, who slowly developed a love for art after doodling on the walls of her home? What about after? Did you also go to professional art school with your fellow artists to further your career?

introduce your artist journey

These are things that are easy for your audience to relate to. Which makes it the perfect conversation starter. Much better than tossing out academic jargon right off the bat, at least.

What makes you unique as an artist? Or rather, what makes you as an artist important? The purpose of talking about your style in artist bios is to answer these questions.

It allows other artists and art enthusiasts to get to know the real you and maybe get in touch with your artist’s practice.

talk about your art style

Next, you can talk about your influences and the source of your inspiration. Influences involve idols that act as spiritual support. Maybe you were influenced by other artist’s practices. Or maybe you’re particularly fond of a certain style used by an artist in history.

You can mention this briefly to let others know what influenced you to create your art.

As for inspiration, you can give some examples like Ashley in the artist bio example below. It’s worth noting things like this in your biography so that other artists can understand where the source of your creativity comes from as an artist.

discuss your personal influences and inspiration

Next up, it’s finally time to talk about your achievements. These don’t have to be particularly fancy or formal. Try to draft a description of your achievements in simple language. Whether it’s about awards won, exhibitions opened, illustrations sold, etc.

list your artistic achievements

Note, even if you have many achievements to talk about, it’s best to focus on one or two in your bio. You can talk about the rest in a separate artist statement.

For example, for artists who focus on architecture , having their art exhibited at the Venice Biennale is one of their biggest achievements. Making it worth noting over other awards they may have received during their career.

If you really don’t want to limit the information shared, there are many examples of artists who create separate artist statements along with their shorter artist bio so that interested parties can get a more comprehensive view of their work experience and views. Just like the example artist statement shown below, which focuses on the artist’s practice and style:

art bio

3 Unique Artist Biography Examples for Different Purposes

Although we’ve taught you how to write a bio, these are just basic standard rules. You have to be open to making some changes based on the requirements of the bio that needs to be written. To illustrate this, have a look at the following list of examples:

professional presentation

The first type of bio that we’ll be talking about is the ‘professional’ type. This is used by artists who want to create an art portfolio where fellow artists and other interested parties can view their art. For this reason, the structure of the bio is often very formal and neat.

Just like the artist bio example above. It has all the key points but focuses more on her works and uses formal language.

exhibition submission

If your purpose for writing an introduction is to submit your art to galleries and exhibitions, then the focus should be on successful exhibitions and the style of your work. That way, the reader can quickly verify whether you match the requirements of their show.

personal or business website

Most of the ‘bios’ we’ve shown thus far have been taken from the websites of artists. Different websites have different purposes. Just like Livia’s art business shop shown above.

The ‘About Me’ section is very clean and formal. Whereas Jon’s bio below, written for a personal site, is written in first-person POV — making it more engaging and personal.

artist biography

Now that you’ve learned the basic rules for writing a good bio, it’s time to start working! Best if you could get it up on your site ASAP.

(BTW! If you haven’t started looking for website builders yet, you can check out the Wix website builder or read this article for other relevant recommendations.)

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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?

  • Open with something that encapsulates you as an artist before beginning the more biographical information. “Jane Doe is known for her …”
  • Where you reside
  • Where you are from
  • Formal education and training
  • Your artistic influences
  • What inspires you as an artist
  • What techniques you use
  • Artists you've worked under/with
  • Awards you’ve won
  • Recognitions from media (newspaper, radio, television, websites)
  • Commissions and other accomplishments
  • Art shows you have curated or judged
  • 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  your biography

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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  • Museums and Galleries
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artist biography how to write

How To Write an Artist Bio

Professional Artist Biography

How To Write an Artist Bio (With Tips and Examples)

Worksheet: writing your artist biography.

An artist bio summarizes a professional’s life and career. Publishers and artists feature these pieces of writing after displaying the artist’s work to allow audiences to connect with the artist and find more of their work. If you’re an artist, it may be helpful for you to create your own short biography to share on your personal website and with publishers. In this article, we explain what an artist bio is, what they include and how to write an artist bio with examples and tips to help you with the process.

What is an artist bio?

An artist biography, or bio, is a short piece of writing that includes details about an artist’s life and work. Professionals write artist bios to feature them at the end of their work or on their website. This can help the artist gain exposure to a wider audience and allow viewers to feel more connected to the artist. Professionals may also write an artist bio for themselves at the request of a publishing agency. Here are some professionals who might write an artist biography:

  • Photographer
  • Fine artist

What does an artist bio include?

The content of an artist bio can depend on the medium or company that displays it, it’s intent and the artist who writes it. Generally, artist bios include the following information and elements:

  • Job title:  Artist biographies often introduce yourself to an audience, so it’s important to include a job title to explain what you do and the medium you use for your art.
  • Location:  Many artists share the city and state in which they live. If you were raised in another location, you might mention that area too.
  • Experience:  It’s common to include career highlights and past projects in your artist bio to establish your credibility and inform the audience where they can experience more of your work.
  • Personal information:  Some artists like to include personal information, such as their hobbies or a fun fact, to help audiences relate to them.
  • Contact information:  Including information such as your personal website or social media accounts can help the audience contact you and experience your work on different platforms.

How to write an artist bio

To write your own artist bio, follow these steps:

1. Determine the point of view

Before you begin writing your artist biography, it’s important to understand the point of view (POV) in which you want to write. This can depend on your reason for writing a bio. If you’re writing one for your own personal website or platform, it depends on your preference. Though, many artist bios on websites feature a first-person perspective. Many more traditional and formal mediums for artist bios, such as book jackets and other publications, feature third-person POV. If you’re writing your artist bio at the request of an organization or individual, be sure to clarify which point of view they prefer you to use.

2. Start with an introduction

Begin your bio by introducing yourself using your full name, location and your area of expertise. It’s efficient to include this information in one sentence, but for longer biographies, you might use two or three sentences to convey this information. Introducing yourself with specific details of your job title and name establishes a connection with the audience and explains the purpose of your writing.

3. Include your experience

Next, share details about your experience as an artist. This can include your career highlights, such as other publications you have or how many years you’ve dedicated to your craft. Depending on the length of the bio, you might use two or three sentences to provide information about your previous projects and specialties. Including your experience in your artist biography can help you share your work with the audience and establish your expertise and credibility.

4. Explain your motivations

After establishing your credibility, explain your motivations. Use one or two sentences to share your goals as an artist or your methodology. For example, you might create art to represent certain demographics or educate audiences on a topic. Sharing this information can help the readers relate to you. Depending on your motivations, it may also change their perception of you and add to your credibility.

5. Share personal details

If appropriate for the medium on which you’re publishing your artist bio, consider adding a few personal details to help readers understand and relate to you. Consider sharing a fun fact about yourself that can help establish you as a professional and offer more insight into your life. For example, you might share that you’re a parent or list some of your favorite pastimes.

6. Provide contact details

Finish your bio by providing details of where audiences can experience more of your work and contact you. This can include sharing the URL of your website, the username for your social media accounts and locations where the audience might purchase your work. This can help you gain exposure and expand your audience base, as some individuals may read your bio and become a supporter of your art.

Examples of artist biographies

When writing an artist bio, it’s often helpful to consult examples for inspiration. Artist biographies can differ in content and style, so it can depend on your job title and the reason you’re creating a biography. Here are some examples of artist biographies:

Personal website

Here’s an example of an artist bio written in first-person for an artist’s website:

Hello, my name is Georgie Green and I’m a digital artist based in Chicago. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, I began my freelancing career by creating pop culture digital art. I’ve been creating commissions for two years and have designed art for popular businesses such as Souped Up and The Chili Pepper Club. I also love creating custom artwork for pop culture fans.

I love depicting my imagination within my artwork and working with others to create one-of-a-kind artwork. In my free time, I like to take naps with my bulldog, Pickles, and binge-watch my favorite TV shows. I’m currently open for commissions. Please email me at [email protected] to share your commission request and learn more about my art process.

Literary journal

Here’s an example of a third-person artist bio that a publisher may feature in a literary journal:

Dane Gray-Rogers is an author based in Brooklyn, New York, with over 10 years of experience in short-story writing and poetry. Several media outlets offered praise for his debut poetry collection, “Family Dinner,” for its honest depiction of Gray-Rogers’ childhood and struggle with addiction. Gray-Rogers values truth and relatability in his work and dedicates his career to the representation of nontraditional families. Those who are interested can learn more about Dane Gray-Rogers on his website, www.DGRstories.com and can contact him on social media by following his account under the name “Dane Gray-Rogers Official”.

Art exhibit

Studios and organizations may also feature artist bios in the programs or explanatory plaques for an art exhibit. Here’s an example of an art exhibit bio:

Hazel Platt is a Boston-based painter who specializes in realism and self-portraits. She is a graduate of the Imperium Art Institute and has been featured in magazine publications. Platt aims to popularize the depiction of female relationships in fine art. Prints of Platt’s original work can be purchased from her website, www.HPlatt.com

New position

Some companies ask new hires to write a bio to introduce themselves to their colleagues or to display on the company website. Here’s an example of this type of artist bio:

Marilyn Rovia is a songwriter from Nelsonville, Georgia, with five years of experience writing and singing original songs. Rovia has written for superstars in the country and pop music genre and has earned two nominations for songwriting awards. In her spare time, Rovia enjoys teaching a martial arts class for kids and spending time with the chickens and donkeys on her family’s ranch. Rovia’s singing work can be found on any major music platform and plans on advancing her career here at Missing Link Records.

Tips for improving your artist bio

Review these tips to help you improve your artist bio:

Understand the audience

It’s important to understand the audience for your artist bio. This can help you pick an appropriate tone and length. Consider the context of your biography as well. If you’re writing a biography to feature with a high-end publisher, you might consider using more jargon and using a serious tone. If you’re writing for your own website, you might consider including humor and more accessible language to relate to a more general audience.

Use your unique voice

When writing your biography, try to feature your unique voice. This means allowing your personality to show through your writing style and word choice. One way to do this is by choosing specific adjectives that you relate to or that display more vivid imagery. If appropriate, you could also establish your voice as an artist through humor or figurative language.

Consider the length requirements

Know how long you want your bio to be before you start writing. This can help you use more concise language and allows you to be more conscious of your sentence structure. If you’re writing an artist biography to submit to an organization or publisher, you might consider asking for the length specifications. Often, publishers have a word limit, so it’s helpful to know this before writing.

Sometimes, professionals display artist bios as a collection, which means your bio may be near another artist’s bio, such as at the end of an anthology. For this reason, it’s important to know the length requirements, as it’s often best to match the length of the other artists.

Proofread your work

After you finish writing, proofread your work. While you reread your writing, consider editing it to be more concise or feature more precise language. You might consider asking a peer, family member or friend to read your bio too to gain an additional perspective. This can help you decide what to include in your artist bio and ensure that you write it to the best of your ability.

WHO ARE YOU?

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

ABOUT YOUR WORK

1) Crafting an artist biography is a vital point of contact for grant panelists, talent buyers, funders, gallerists, and supporters, providing insight into your persona and artistic journey. It encapsulates essential details such as your birthplace, upbringing, training, work process, career progression, and the driving forces behind your creations.

In developing this narrative, consider using language, descriptors, and key facts that resonate with the specific venue or organization you’re targeting. Maintaining a balance between professionalism and approachability, it’s recommended to have both a concise 150-word version and a more relaxed variant available.

This bio serves as a cohesive story, painting a vivid picture of you as an artist and the depth of your work. By tailoring it to suit the intended audience, you can leave a lasting impression that speaks to your unique artistic identity.

The artist biography is a crucial first impression for grant panelists, talent buyers, funders, gallerists, and supporters. It provides context about you as an individual and an artist, including your birthplace, upbringing, training, work process, career development, and the insights that inform your work.

To create a cohesive story of yourself as an artist, use language, descriptors, and key facts about yourself and your artwork that resonate with the specific venue or organization you’re targeting. It’s best to use a tone and style that are appropriate for the audience, and to have both a professional and more relaxed version of your bio available. Aim for your bio to be 150 words long, or 3-5 sentences.

Here are some specific tips for writing an artist biography:

  • Start with a strong introduction that highlights your unique artistic voice.
  • Be specific about your work and the processes you use.
  • Share your personal story and what drives you as an artist.
  • Use clear and concise language that is easy to understand.
  • Proofread your bio carefully before submitting it.

Here are some examples of language, descriptors, and key facts that you could use in your artist biography:

2) The artist biography is a crucial first impression for grant panelists, talent buyers, funders, gallerists, and supporters. It provides context about you as an individual and an artist, including your birthplace, upbringing, training, work process, career development, and the insights that inform your work.

Start with a strong introduction that highlights your unique artistic voice. Be specific about your work and the processes you use. Share your personal story and what drives you as an artist. Use clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Proofread your bio carefully before submitting it. By following these tips, you can write an artist biography that will help you connect with potential audiences and collaborators.

Language: “I am a painter who is inspired by the natural world.” Descriptors: “My work is bold, colorful, and expressive.” Key facts: “I was born in a small town in the Midwest,” “I studied art at the University of California, Berkeley,” “My work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States.”

Where were you born and raised, and how have your experiences in the past influenced your work?

BACKGROUND Could you please share information about your training, when and where you received it, and who your mentors were? Also, what is your chosen medium, and how did you discover and pursue it?

ACCOMPLISHMENTS I’m interested in learning about the significant milestones and awards that have played a role in shaping your career. How have these personal and professional achievements impacted your journey?

ABOUT YOUR WORK What inspires and influences your creative process? If someone were to observe your work, how would they describe your artistic style, process, and the essence of your creations?

Free Professional Bio Templates | Adobe Express

With Adobe Express, choose from dozens of online professional bio template ideas to help you easily create your own free professional bio.

https://www.adobe.com/express/templates/professional-bio

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How to Make the Most of Your Artist Bios: The Essential Guide for Galleries

How to Make the Most of Your Artist Bios: The Essential Guide for Galleries

It’s important to make the most of your artist bios. If they’re both well-written and used effectively they can also be a great tool for your digital marketing strategy.

An effective artist bio is a great way to introduce and engage collectors in an artist’s work. Unlike an artist statement or CV, it is usually a concise summary about the artist and their work. A good artist bio will provide the collector with enough information to make them want to learn more, without overwhelming them with too much detail. It’s important to make the most of your artist bios. If they’re both well-written and used effectively they can also be a great tool for your digital marketing strategy.

Read our guide below for all you need to know about writing the perfect artist bio and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

Artist bio - African American woman looking at paintings in studio ·

What Things Should You Consider to Write an Effective Artist Bio? 

Use this list below as a helpful guide when writing your artist bios. Don’t worry about including every item on the list, in some cases, some criteria may not work depending on the artist. Use this as a guide to figure out what works best for your gallery and artists.

The Length of the Artists Bio

The length of your bios should be no more than 150 words. As mentioned before, the artist’s bio is a concise summary, not a detailed list of the artist’s exhibition history and achievements. Why should you stick to a 150 word cut off? An article by  Artsy  notes that museum studies on audience engagement have shown that anything longer than 150 words does not keep the reader’s attention. Note that is the recommended maximum length so if you keep your bios shorter, 80-100 words, that works too. It’s best to keep them succinct and to the point, rather than adding too many embellishments.

Craft an Engaging First Sentence   

The first sentence is the most important part of the bio. It’s where you grab the reader’s attention and make them want to learn more. Spend time crafting an engaging first sentence. Try to open with a sentence that summarizes the artist’s work and states what is most important about them, rather than opening with biographical information.  

Readability

The user experience is important to keep in mind. It seems simple, but there are plenty of published artists’ bios that are unpleasant to read. 

Confusing layouts, ugly font, hyperbolic praise, artspeak, too much information in one place: they all add up to a cluttered and irritating experience for readers. 

Keep it clean and simple. You may want to try to fit a lot of information in, but don’t get too bogged down in details or flowery language. Keeping it short and to the point will make sure it’s readable and friendly for your audience.

Educate First Vs the Hard-sell

Describe the artist’s work. To do this, focus on their medium technique and style. As well as the subject matter or main themes of their work. You can also include information that may not be too obvious from images of their work, like further insight into their method or process. Try to highlight what sets them apart and what is significant about their work. You can also include where they draw their inspiration from.

If possible, position the artist and their work in the context of art history, by time period, or art movement. Or you can place the artist in a wider cultural context. This could be specific to the political, social, or technological climate that they work in.

Engage the Audience With Artist Quotes  

Include a quote by the artist, if it’s relevant and it adds substance to any of the topics listed above. However, don’t include it as filler content just to add length to the bio.

Stay up to date on the latest from ARTERNAL

Most common artist bio mistakes to avoid, lengthy artists bios .

Avoid writing bios that are too long and have too much information about the artist’s CV, awards, and exhibition history. However impressive the information may be, long lists are a good way to lose your reader’s attention, it’s best to keep it short and to the point. You could always highlight a single notable award or exhibition, but careful not to go overboard. 

Spelling and Punctuation 

Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Proofreading is important. We recommend having at least one or two other eyes review your bios. Mistakes are easy to make, especially when you’re close to the material.  But missing these simple errors can diminish your gallery’s reputation and authority. Don’t underestimate the value of a good proofreader. 

Out of Date Artists Bios 

Make sure to keep your bios up to date. Avoid outdated bios by regularly checking them, once a year or so, to be sure they have the most up to date information. This is also an easy mistake that can damage your gallery’s credibility. This is especially important if you work with talented emerging artists. 

How Can Artist Bios Help Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

Now that you know the foundation of how to write a great artist bio, it’s time to make the most of them and incorporate them in your larger digital marketing strategy.

SEO and Artists Bios

One important factor to consider is SEO or search engine optimization. SEO is defined by  Moz  as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” In other words, producing quality content in a way that search engines recognize as valuable to your audience so you rank higher in searches. A well-written bio with SEO in mind can help your gallery website continue to rank for keywords and search terms over time. So when writing your artist bios, think about what terms your audience will be searching for and incorporate those keywords into your bios. Keywords could include the artist’s name, subject matter, medium, or style of work.

Backlinks from Artists Bios

Along with using relevant keywords in your artist bios, another SEO factor to consider is link building. Search engines recognize your website as more important when reputable websites link to your website (also called backlinks). This, in turn, will also help you rank higher and get more organic traffic. To accomplish this start building relationships with organizations that you want links from. When it comes to backlinks, quality is more important than quantity. 

You can also use internal links to help with your SEO strategy. Link keywords or phrases in your artists’ bios to other pages on your website, again only if relevant.  Moz  offers a detailed beginners guide if you’d like to learn more about link building.

Use Social Media and Digital Tools to Share Your Artist Bios and Track Engagement 

Social media strategy and artists bios  .

Work with your artists and make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to posting on social media. This way your social media initiatives will be mutually beneficial. When artists post about their work, it’s important they tag your gallery in the body of the post as well in the image they post. This will help drive traffic to your gallery website where you can engage with clients and continue conversations.

After your artist bios have been published make sure you’re set up with  Google Analytics  to track website engagement. Google Analytics collects and records user data so you can see what’s working and what areas might need improvement on your website. With Google Analytics you can find out which content or artists are performing best, how your visitors are finding your content, and information about your visitors. Check out expert digital marketer,  Neil Patel’s blog  to learn more about Google Analytics and how you can make the most of this free service.

Advanced Social Marketing Strategies with Artists Bios

The new battleground for galleries working with artists is the artist’s social media profile bio page. It’s now some of the most valuable real estates in the digital world. 

Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy for galleries to use with their artist bios. Andrew Chen, a startup growth expert, mentioned that “Whoever controls the link controls the business model for the new economy that’s being built.” Once a gallery has established a mutually beneficial relationship on social media with the artists, they can create a pseudo influencer marketing program that can treat artists as influencers and give galleries how to measure each artist’s Social Media ROI. 

Let’s dive into this in more detail. Here’s a screenshot of Andrew Cranston social media profile.

artists bio - andrew cranston

If we look at the link on his profile we can see it’s from INGLEBY Gallery. Upon clicking on the link it goes into Andre Carnston’s artist bio on their gallery webpage. 

artists bio - INGLEBY Andrew Cranston artist bio

Andrew has linked his social media profile to his artist bio from INGLEBY. Every time Andrew makes a post and viewers click on his profile link, the gallery is getting more exposure. This is an actionable strategy most galleries can put into action. Establishing an influencer marketing program with your artists is a great way to grow your following.

You can take your Google Analytics to the next level by using UTM Parameters to see which individual artist brings the most traffic from social media. Check out Neil Patel’s blog article on  UTM Parameters  to learn more.

Examples of Artist Bios

If you need more inspiration, before you start writing your artist bios, check out a few examples of our favorites on Artsy:

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Yayoi Kusama

Kehinde Wiley

Sophie Calle

You might also like these articles:

  • How to Make Smart Investment that Increases Art Sales
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  • The Art Gallery Business Model Needs to Change – Let’s Discuss

Interested in taking your gallery to the next level?  Contact us  today to learn more.

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artist biography how to write

How to Write a Music Artist Biography: Crafting Your Story with Precision and Appeal

artist biography how to write

Crafting a compelling music artist biography requires a thoughtful approach that balances personal storytelling with professionalism. An artist bio serves as an essential tool to introduce musicians to their audience, industry professionals, and the media.

It encapsulates the essence of the artist’s journey, showcasing their background, personality, and musical evolution .

This narrative must strike the right chord, offering a concise yet engaging summary of the artist’s career, including their early life, rise to stardom, and notable achievements.

The biography needs to provide more than just a list of facts—it should capture the reader’s imagination. The narrative should reflect the artist’s unique style and brand, weaving in key aspects of their public image and the connection they share with their fans.

Crucially, the bio must tailor its content to the intended audience, highlighting elements like the artist’s influence within their genre, the evolution of their sound, and their vision for future projects.

By combining these components effectively, the biography positions the artist within the larger music ecosystem, inviting readers to explore their work more deeply and solidifying their professional identity.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • An artist bio is a professional narrative that highlights an artist’s background, journey, and style.
  • The bio should balance personal anecdotes with career accomplishments to engage and inform readers.
  • Tailoring the bio to the intended audience helps position the artist in the music industry and fosters connections.

Early Life and Musical Beginnings

early life of music artist

The early life of a music artist often sets the stage for their future endeavors. Key elements such as family background, education, and initial exposure to music are pivotal in shaping an artist’s career. This section uncovers how artists’ beginnings and educational experiences contribute to their artistic development.

Influences and Inspirations

The family environment and cultural setting are critical in nurturing an artist’s early appreciation for music. Many artists attribute their passion for music to the influence of parents or relatives who either played instruments or had a profound love for music .

Education often plays a role, whether through formal musical training or self-taught practices. Exposure to iconic musicians and diverse genres forms a solid foundation for their musical identity and can spark the desire to pursue a career in music .

First Steps in Music

The first foray into music typically begins with the artist experimenting with various instruments or vocal styles, often during childhood or teenage years.

School programs, church choirs, and local music groups offer opportunities for the artist to perform and hone their skills . This phase is also characterized by the formation of early bands or collaborations with fellow aspiring musicians.

These initial experiences are invaluable, providing not only technical skills but also introducing the challenges and exhilarations of live performance.

Rise to Fame

rise to fame music artist

The path to fame for a music artist often hinges on two pivotal aspects: a breakout moment with a single or album, and the subsequent recognition by peers and critics.

Breakthrough Single/Album

The breakthrough single or album represents a defining moment in an artist’s career. It is often the result of a compelling mix of musical innovation and engaging content that resonates with the public.

For example, an artist might release an album that features a fusion of genres, demonstrating not only versatility but also a distinct style that captures the audience’s imagination.

Critical Acclaim and Achievements

Recognition comes in various forms, such as critical acclaim and accumulated awards which serve as milestones in an artist’s journey.

Achievements may include Grammy Awards , chart-topping sales , and glowing reviews from respected music critics. These accolades not only validate their music but also often act as a springboard to further opportunities and collaborations within the industry.

Musical Style and Genre

When crafting a music artist biography, articulating the musical style and genre is crucial as these define an artist’s core identity within the music landscape. This section distills the essence of the artist’s sound and the narrative behind any stylistic shifts they have experienced.

Defining Sound

An artist’s sound is a distinctive blend of vocal traits, instrumentation, rhythm, and other musical elements that collectively present their unique audio identity.

Describing one’s music involves pinpointing specific genres and stylistic influences that can resonate with the target audience. For instance, an artist might fuse jazz rhythms with folk instrumentation, creating a unique sound that features complex time signatures and acoustic storytelling.

Evolution of Style

Over time, artists often experience an evolution of style , shaped by personal growth, changes in musical trends, or technological advancements. Documenting this progression gives context to their current work and paints a picture of a dynamic career.

It’s not uncommon for a musician to start with a raw, gritty blues tone and gradually transition into a more polished pop-rock sound with sophisticated production values.

Career Highlights and Discography

music artist career highlight

In a music artist biography, detailing an artist’s key releases and notable collaborations underscores their success and artistic breadth.

This section maps out an artist’s journey, reflecting major milestones and the evolution of their sound through different works and partnerships.

Key Albums and Singles

Discography is the backbone of a music artist’s career. It generally begins with the artist’s debut album , which often sets the stage for their future work, featuring singles that may have charted on platforms like Billboard or gained significant airplay.

Following albums often showcase the artist’s growth, including their most acclaimed work —these may have received awards or critical praise, cementing the artist’s position in the industry.

  • Hit Single: “ Breakthrough Song ” (Chart Position)
  • Lead Single: “Sophomore Hit” (Awards/Accolades)

Notable Collaborations

Collaborations can play a significant role in an artist’s career by expanding their reach and showcasing versatility. They often include team-ups with other notable artists or producers, which can lead to groundbreaking tracks that combine different genres or styles.

These projects may also result in performances at high-profile events or contribute to the artist’s influence across different audiences.

  • Hit Collaboration: “Summer Anthem” feat. Famous Artist (Year)
  • Award-Winning Track: “Best Collaboration” with Renowned Producer (Year, Award Info)

Public Image and Branding

The public image and branding of an artist are critical elements in building a connection with their audience and standing out in the music industry. Both must be crafted thoughtfully to reflect the artist’s unique identity and music style, ensuring consistency across all platforms.

Media Appearances

Artists should carefully manage their media appearances to align with their brand identity . Whether it is interviews, live performances on television, or features in magazines, each appearance contributes to the public’s perception of the artist.

An artist’s profile should consistently communicate their image, using tailored messaging for different types of media to maintain a coherent narrative.

Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is a powerful tool for artists to forge a personal bond with their followers. Regular, authentic interactions on platforms like Instagram or Twitter can reinforce an artist’s image and brand.

They should share their journey, celebrate milestones, and respond to fans to create a loyal community. Strategic content such as behind-the-scenes looks, teasers for new music, or personal stories can translate to increased visibility and resonance with their social media audience.

Live Performances and Touring

Crafting a music artist biography goes beyond studio achievements; live performances and touring are pivotal aspects that showcase an artist’s connection with fans and their on-stage charisma. These experiences often define their musical journey and solidify their place in the hearts of listeners.

Memorable Shows

Artists often have breakthrough performances that mark a significant turn in their careers. Detailing such memorable shows can illustrate their live appeal and audience impact.

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre concert or The Hollywood Bowl debut is the kind of notable event to feature, outlining the crowd’s energy and the artist’s electrifying presence.

Touring Stories

Touring stories carry the essence of an artist’s road experiences, from the tour bus camaraderie to the encore chants of fans in a packed arena. This section should cover highlight reel moments from tours, such as a sold-out international tour or a charity concert series . It should depict how touring shapes their musicianship and forges deeper connections with their audience.

Connection with Fans

Crafting a music artist biography with a strong focus on the connection with fans is an essential strategy for building a dedicated fan base. It’s not only about listing achievements but also about establishing a rapport and demonstrating social proof to show that the artist is both relatable and validated by their audience.

Fan Engagement

Effective fan engagement is the backbone of any artist’s relationship with their audience. Artists should update their biographies with anecdotes or quotes that show their appreciation for fans, creating a narrative that includes the fan’s role in their journey. Engaging content helps fans feel included and important to the artist’s story. Bullet points can be a great way to organize key engagement strategies:

  • Respond to fan comments on social media.
  • Share stories or content that gives insight into the artist’s life and values.
  • Post updates about upcoming projects or behind-the-scenes content to create anticipation.

Social Proof and Fan Base

The inclusion of social proof in an artist’s biography validates their success and impact in the industry. An artist’s fan base serves as a testament to their popularity and appeal. Here are concise methods to highlight social proof:

  • Mention notable collaborations, endorsements, or mentions from industry influencers.
  • Include statistics such as the number of followers, concert attendance, and music streaming numbers.
  • Showcase awards and recognitions received in recognition of their work.

Building a biography that emphasizes connection with fans ultimately solidifies an artist’s reputation and fosters a sense of community around their music.

The Artist’s Professional Bio

A music artist’s professional biography is a concise narrative that showcases their career achievements and musical identity. It often serves as a key component in an electronic press kit (EPK) and is beneficial for media, promoters, and fans.

Crafting a Compelling Bio

When writing a musician bio , it’s important to be concise yet informative. This bio should introduce the artist, detailing notable milestones, influences, and their unique attributes. It must reflect the musician’s personality, but also maintain a professional tone suitable for a press kit. The following structure can be considered:

  • Introduction : Begin with the artist’s name, genre, and a powerful statement about their music.
  • Background : Include information on how they started, their musical journey , and education.
  • Accomplishments : Highlight awards, notable performances , collaborations, and releases.
  • Musical Style : Describe the sound, influences, and any signature techniques or themes.
  • Current Work : Mention recent projects or upcoming plans.

Keep the bio up-to-date, and aim for around 200-300 words to ensure it’s comprehensive yet digestible.

Press Kit Essentials

The professional bio is often the centerpiece of a musician’s EPK (electronic press kit) or musician press kit . Alongside the bio, an EPK should include:

  • High-Resolution Photos : Professional images that portray the artist’s image.
  • Music Samples : Links to streaming platforms or files for listening to the artist’s work.
  • Contact Information : Clear details on how to get in touch for bookings or inquiries.
  • Press Coverage : Any articles, interviews, or reviews that have featured the artist.
  • Press Release : If available, a recent press release can be added to provide the latest news.

Remember, an EPK is an extension of the musician’s bio, providing a more in-depth look at their career — a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in their music.

Industry Relations and Future Endeavors

music artist future

A music artist biography not only reflects on past achievements but also casts a vision for future aspirations and potential collaborations. It’s an invaluable tool in fostering industry connections and communicating upcoming endeavors to fans and professionals alike.

Collaborations with Industry Professionals

Artists often enhance their industry presence through collaborations with established producers, songwriters, and fellow musicians . In their biographies, artists should detail notable partnerships and how these relationships have contributed to their growth.

Mentioning a cooperation with a renowned music producer can underscore an artist’s credibility, while collaborations on upcoming releases signal to the industry active involvement and relevance.

Upcoming Projects and Goals

Regarding plans, clearly articulated goals demonstrate drive and direction. Artists should outline anticipated releases such as singles, albums, or EPs, including relevant details like release dates or thematic concepts.

An effective biography will also touch on the artist’s promotion plan , highlighting how they intend to engage with their audience and expand their reach. Listing related upcoming projects not only generates excitement but also portrays a forward-thinking mindset, keen on continuous development and artistic ventures.

Contact Information and Further Reading

artist contact information

When crafting a music artist biography, it’s essential to include contact information to ensure journalists, bloggers, and media outlets have a clear path for follow-up inquiries. They may want to feature the artist in interviews, TV segments, or magazine articles. Here’s how the contact information should be presented:

  • Email Address : List a professional email address dedicated to the artist’s business inquiries.
  • Phone Number : Provide a business number if available, primarily for urgent contact.
  • Press Contact : If the artist has a publicist, include their contact details.
  • Social Media Profiles : Bullet a list of official social media accounts where the artist can be followed.
  • Official Website : Include the URL to the artist’s official website for comprehensive information.

For Further Reading , the biography should guide readers to additional resources that delve deeper into the artist’s work and background:

  • Press Kit : Offer a link to an electronic press kit if available.
  • Recent Interviews : Provide a list of recent interviews with anchor texts that give context, such as “Discussing the latest album on Music Magazine”.
  • Feature Articles : Link to feature articles or reviews of the artist’s work.
  • Upcoming Performances : If relevant, list information about future shows or appearances.

Remember to format this information clearly and keep it up to date to facilitate seamless communication with the press and ensure opportunities for publicity are not missed.

Frequently Asked Questions

artist bio faqs

Crafting an effective music artist biography requires attention to detail. These answers to common questions guide creating a bio that resonates.

What are the key components to include in a music artist’s biography?

A music artist’s biography should encompass their background, musical influences, notable achievements, and unique value proposition. It’s essential to communicate the artist’s story, musical style, and any milestones such as album releases or awards.

How can an emerging artist compose an engaging bio without professional experience?

Emerging artists should focus on their musical journey, passion, and aspirations. They can discuss their education in music, their inspirations, and any informal experiences that demonstrate their dedication and potential.

What is the appropriate length for a music artist’s bio?

The ideal length varies depending on the platform, but a general guide is a short bio of 100-150 words for social media and a more detailed one of up to 500 words for official websites or press kits.

Can you provide tips for translating a musician’s unique style into a written bio?

Translating a musician’s unique style into a bio involves descriptive language that reflects their sound and personality. Use vivid adjectives and metaphors that relate to their music and persona, painting a picture of their artistic identity.

How should musicians structure their biography for social media platforms?

For social media platforms, musicians should craft a concise bio highlighting the most compelling aspects of their artistry. This might include the genre, what sets them apart, and recent accomplishments.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a biography for a music artist?

Common mistakes include overusing clichés, providing irrelevant details, making unsubstantiated claims, and neglecting to update the bio regularly. Artists should also avoid writing in a promotional tone and instead focus on authenticity.

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Where Has Tracy Chapman Been?

Her triumphant performance at the Grammy Awards left fans wondering what she has been doing since she left the music world, and whether she might return.

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Tracy Chapman, in a black button-up shirt and jeans, plays an acoustic guitar on a stage with a microphone and lights on it.

By Ben Sisario and Heather Knight

Ben Sisario reported from New York and Heather Knight from San Francisco

Tracy Chapman’s rare public appearance at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night — where she practically stole the show performing her 1988 song “Fast Car” with the country singer Luke Combs — left many fans wondering why she had largely stepped away from music for more than a decade.

Despite some scattered performances on television and at awards shows, Chapman, 59, has remained almost entirely absent from the music world in recent years, having released her last studio album in 2008 and done her last tour in 2009. Since she first emerged in the late 1980s, she has always been known as a reclusive and private figure.

“Being in the public eye and under the glare of the spotlight was, and it still is, to some extent, uncomfortable for me,” she told The Irish Times in 2015 . “There are some ways by which everything that has happened in my life has prepared me for this career. But I am bit shy.”

The acclaim for her Grammys performance — Taylor Swift could be seen singing along in the crowd — was a sign of how beloved Chapman remains. Combs’s note-for-note cover of “Fast Car” went to No. 2 on Billboard’s pop singles chart last year, and after the Grammys, Chapman’s original began shooting up iTunes’s download chart.

After her debut LP, “Tracy Chapman,” was released in 1988 — and went to No. 1 on the Billboard chart — she released seven more studio albums. Her last, “Our Bright Future,” came out in 2008. Jon Pareles of The New York Times described it as a collection of “morose love songs” as well as “her latest utopian vision of a world without war or greed.”

What has she been up to?

Since then her appearances have been few and far between. She performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012 , playing for the blues guitarist Buddy Guy, who was one of the honorees that year. She turned up at David Letterman’s final shows in 2015, doing “Stand by Me.” And on the eve of the presidential election in 2020, she appeared on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” performing “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” from her debut album; after the last notes, she moved aside to reveal a sign behind her saying “vote.”

Last year, as Combs’s version of “Fast Car” became a surprise hit, the tune won song of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, making Chapman the first Black songwriter to win that prize. (She did not appear to accept it.)

A quiet life in San Francisco

Chapman is so private that many San Franciscans were surprised to learn after the Grammys that she lives in their city. She’s not part of the socialite scene or involved in politics, and she seems to mostly avoid major events.

But she can still be seen around town. The owner of a bookstore where she sometimes shops posted on X after her Grammys performance that she was “so down to earth in real life” when spotted buying food for her dog at a local pet store. (The post was later deleted.) Others have observed her standing in line at a popular bakery. Before the pandemic, she served as a judge for a high school scholarship program run by the founders of “Beach Blanket Babylon,” a now-defunct cabaret.

Lee Houskeeper, a public relations executive and music promoter in San Francisco, said he had met Chapman a few times at her studio and rehearsal space. He said she was very nice and that they had chatted about performing artists they both know.

A state assemblyman, Matt Haney, said he’s only seen her once, at a school board meeting in 2018 when he served on that board. She was there to support the school district naming a theater on its property after her friend Sydney Goldstein. It now houses San Francisco’s popular City Arts & Lectures program.

“She didn’t make a big deal of being there,” Haney recalled in an interview. “I don’t think she even came to the mic.”

Could she return?

The Grammys performance instantly became a career highlight for Chapman, and it could well stoke demand for her return to recording and touring. This year she is also nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame . If she is inducted — a good bet — that could provide another opportunity for a public appearance.

“There’s always been demand for Tracy Chapman to return to performing,” Rich McLaughlin, the program director at WFUV, a radio station in New York that celebrates songwriters, said in an email. “Whether or not it will increase the chances of her doing so, however, is difficult to predict.”

Chapman’s longtime fans may have their fingers crossed, but they have also learned patience.

“Tracy Chapman is an artist who follows her muse, not market demand,” McLaughlin added. “If she based her decision solely on demand, she’d have returned to touring years ago.”

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a public relations executive and music promoter. He is Lee Houskeeper, not Housekeeper.

An earlier version of this article described incorrectly Tracy Chapman’s Kennedy Center Honors performance in 2012. She performed in tribute to Buddy Guy, not with him.

How we handle corrections

Ben Sisario covers the music industry. He has been writing for The Times since 1998. More about Ben Sisario

Heather Knight is a reporter in San Francisco, leading The Times’s coverage of the Bay Area and Northern California. More about Heather Knight

Highlights From the 66th Grammy Awards

This year’s awards ceremony notched 16.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched edition since 2020..

Taylor Swift’s Big Night: The artist   won her fourth Grammy for album of the year , more than any other artist in the 66-year history of the prize. During her win for best pop vocal album, Swift announced that she would release a new album , “The Tortured Poets Department,” on April 19.

Tracy Chapman Returns: In a major coup for the Grammys , the influential artist who walked away from the spotlight made a grand return , duetting with the country star Luke Combs. Where has she been all this time ?

Joni Mitchell’s First Time: At her first Grammys performance , Mitchell, who largely vanished from the public eye after having an aneurysm nine years ago, performed “Both Sides Now.”

Billy Joel Is Back:  The singer-songwriter debuted “Turn the Lights Back On,”  his first new song in nearly 20 years, at the Grammys.

Sinead O’Connor’s Spirit: In an emotional ode, Annie Lennox performed “Nothing Compares 2 U,” the Irish singer-songwriter’s cover of Prince’s original. At the end of the tribute to the outspoken artist , Lennox proclaimed: “Artists for cease-fire.”

Jay-Z’s Speech:  While accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z criticized the Grammys  for what he described as its snubs and inconsistencies in giving out honors to Black artists.

LAist is part of Southern California Public Radio, a member-supported public media network. For the latest national news from NPR and our live radio broadcast, visit LAist.com/radio

LAist

Uncovering The History And Impact Of Graffiti Writing In Los Angeles

A colorful graffiti art mural on a wall. Large, white letters across the top spell DTLA for Downtown Los Angeles.

  • 'Hobo graffiti' and early examples

L.A. graffiti writing as a form of protest

Increase name recognition, how graffiti writers are making money, listen to the conversation.

G raffiti writing as a common form of street art makes a lot of sense in a place like Los Angeles.

Long, frequent commutes make boulevards and freeways the ideal canvas for artists to get eyes on a statement they're trying to make or a conversation they're trying to start.

Like many forms of art, graffiti writing is not without controversy — it is often used in acts of vandalism and has been associated with gang activity because of its use by those groups to mark territory. But graffiti writers will tell you their art form is not only about communicating with each other as artists, it's about starting conversations about things like identity, politics or movements the artist feels aren't being had.

LAist talked with local experts on street art and graffiti writing, as well as graffiti writers and artists themselves, about the earliest iterations of this type of street art in Los Angeles, how it morphed into the graffiti writing we see today and its significance as a form of artistic expression in the Southern California art scene.

'Hobo graffiti' and early examples

Some of the earliest graffiti you'll still find in Los Angeles today dates back to the 1870s, from a Civil War-era building in the neighborhood of Wilmington.

Graffiti from around this era was part of so-called "hobo times" according to Susan Phillips , a professor of environmental analysis at Pitzer College and author of The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti .

A close look at a bridge underpass, with specific focus on a set of old marking, writings that trace back to the 1900s.

"As the country transferred from an agrarian society to more of an industrialized society post-Civil War, you just get massive numbers of people who are displaced and travel all over the country," said Phillips. "And then [they] eventually create these incredible written traditions with their own history."

So for the decades following, you'd see the "hobo graffiti" era take shape in these small-scale hieroglyphs made for writers as a means of communicating with one another.

As graffiti writing evolved over the years, it also became a way for artists to tell a political message, or call attention to an issue they feel isn't being represented in other forms of media.

"The wall is almost both a first and last resort for telling an alternative story and history ... and it's meant to get people maybe a bit angry, maybe a bit annoyed," said Stefano Bloch , professor of cultural geography at the University of Arizona and the author of Going All City: Struggle And Survival in LA’s Graffiti Subculture .

"It's meant to bring information to people who have a different form of literacy. So, wall art or murals or graffiti or whatever you want to call it ... gets people riled and it does that on purpose," said Bloch, who was himself a noted graffiti writer who went by the name "Cisco" in Los Angeles in the 1990s.

One of the most notable political murals still around today can be found on Olvera Street — Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros's América Tropical: Oprimida y Destrozada por los Imperialismos , one of three pieces done in the artist's time in political exile in Los Angeles.

América Tropical and his other public project, Street Meeting , were seen as controversial and ultimately whitewashed (literally painted over with white paint), although the former was found to still be intact in the 1960s.

Projects like these helped fuel parts of El Movimiento in Los Angeles. One group that is well known for its political art in L.A. was Asco , a collective of Chicano artists whose work includes performance art like Stations of the Cross and graffiti writing like Spray Paint LACMA .

"I do remember is their uses of public space, photography, and street theater in a sense ... pushing the boundaries of all that [and] was a great celebratory moment [for] the Chicano movement," said Phillips.

But even within the Chicano movement, graffiti artists had to fight for recognition. Chaz Bojórquez, who is seen as the "godfather of West Coast graffiti," has noted that some Chicano artists viewed graffiti as anti-Chicano that undermined the larger goal of the movement.

Dating back to some of the earliest known graffiti writers in L.A. like Bojórquez, graffiti was a creative outlet that was meant to be a political statement and also a means for artists to get their name out there.

A black and white photo of two graffiti writers working on a wall at an undisclosed location. One man writes on the left side, working on a design that reads "CISCO," while one on the right side of the frame seems to writing "MAB."

Not every artist who grew up in Los Angeles could get their art seen through traditional means. It's why Professor Bloch considers graffiti writing as a means for "other people [to] see their name and think about them."

"It's meant to bring information to people who have a different form of literacy. So, wall art or murals or graffiti or whatever you want to call it ... gets people riled and it does that on purpose."

"They're doing it in an aesthetically pleasing way sometimes, sometimes they're doing it [cryptically] … but it's always about a conversation with surfaces," Bloch said. "The legality of surfaces, the appropriate placement of surfaces, and subcultural hierarchy."

When graffiti writer Man One began his career in 1980s, the first thing he tagged was a bus.

"When I first started, I started talking about transit ... because the bus is what moves us around as kids. I was 16, 17 years old and taking the bus all over the, all over the place."

He has since spun that desire to start conversations into exhibitions across Southern California, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the Parco Museum in Japan, and more.

Man One said when he was starting out, magazines were one of the only ways that graffiti writers like him could get exposure, at least beyond people happening upon their work in public.

"The first magazines that I saw were probably coming out of L.A. [like] Can Control Magazine ... but the book Spray Can Art , that came from New York, that was one of our Bibles," Man One said. " Subway Art was another book, but Spray Can Art spoke to the world ... artwork that was being painted on walls [and] not just on subway trains."

Not only did these magazines serve as inspiration, but getting any of your work published could mean getting into an art exhibition and eventually making a living from your work.

Photo of a vibrant wall, you see a purple backdrop with a streak of pink. The painted streak has 3 painted people in its forefront. One is wearing a blue tee, sporting a beard and braided hair that reaches their neck. The person is a center, who has a bright white smile, with long dark hair that reaches their shoulders, wearing a green top that isn't clearly identifiable. The one to the right of the frame wears a dark blue sweater and light blue hat, they also are sporting a goatee beard.

Growing through every new piece of graffiti writing, or other artistic projects writers did, is what helped create word-of-mouth that eventually translated to commissions.

"I remember the first time I got paid $50 to paint a garage door. I was like, 'This is it. Someone paid me $50, that means I can make $100, that means I can make $200, and it just snowballed from there," Man One said.

Since then, social media has become more of a platform for folks to find your work. Graffiti writers of all generations across the country have found similar artistic mediums that help grow their portfolios.

"Graffiti writers in the East Coast go into graphic design, tattooing, many different types of artistic endeavors that pay," Bloch said. "Here on the West Coast, a lot of graffiti writers go into the film industry as set designers or set dressers, background dressers, or any kind of artistic endeavor, even into fashion and television writing."

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  • 09 February 2024

Glow way! Bioluminescent houseplant hits US market for first time

  • Katherine Bourzac

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Firefly petunia plant glowing green in the dark.

The firefly petunia glows a continuous, faint green in the dark. Credit: Light Bio

Consumers in the United States can now pre-order a genetically engineered plant for their home or garden that glows continuously. At a base cost of US$29.00, residents of the 48 contiguous states can get a petunia ( Petunia hybrida ) with flowers that look white during the day; but, in the dark, the plant glows a faint green. Biotechnology firm Light Bio in Sun Valley, Idaho, will begin shipping a batch of 50,000 firefly petunias in April.

Researchers contacted by Nature seem enamoured by them. This is a “groundbreaking event” — to have made a plant that can bioluminesce brightly enough to be seen with the naked eye and can be sold to plant lovers, says Diego Orzáez, a plant biologist at the Institute of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology in Valencia, Spain. “Being a European, I have envy that consumers in the United States can have their hands on these plants.”

Growing and glowing

Keith Wood, chief executive and co-founder of Light Bio, has been working on bioluminescent plants — which emit light through chemical reactions inside their cells — since the 1980s. In 1986, he and his colleagues reported 1 making the first such plant, a type of tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum ) into which they inserted the luciferase gene from fireflies ( Photinus pyralis ). At the time, the goal was to learn about the basics of gene expression, and the tool is still used by plant biologists today. Researchers can engineer plants so that when a particular gene of interest is activated, the luciferase gene is too, and the plant will light up.

Because this was “a cool thing”, Wood says, start-up companies then tried to make the plants for decorative purposes. But the plants glowed only faintly and needed special food to fuel their light-emitting chemical reaction.

Fast-growing parts of the plant, such as budding flowers and leaves, glow the brightest. Credit: Light Bio

The firefly petunia glows brightly and doesn’t need special food thanks to a group of genes from the bioluminescent mushroom Neonothopanus nambi . The fungus feeds its light-emitting reaction with the molecule caffeic acid, which terrestrial plants also happen to make. By inserting the mushroom genes into the petunia, researchers made it possible for the plant to produce enzymes that can convert caffeic acid into the light-emitting molecule luciferin and then recycle it back into caffeic acid — enabling sustained bioluminescence 2 . Wood co-founded Light Bio with two of the researchers behind this work, Karen Sarkisyan, a synthetic biologist at the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences in London, and Ilia Yampolsky, a biomolecular chemist at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow.

Unlike fluorescence, which requires special light bulbs, the petunia’s bioluminescence happens without needing any particular type of light or special food. That sets the plant apart from other glowing creatures on the market, the GloFish . These aquarium pets, available in many species and colours — including electric green tetras — fluoresce under ultraviolet light.

“If you treat the plant really well, if it gets enough sunlight and it’s healthy, it will glow brighter,” Sarkisyan says. But he wants to manage people’s expectations: it’s not bright enough to keep you awake at night. It’s a gentle green glow similar to the light of the full Moon.

Genetic engineering in a different light

The plant was approved by the US Department of Agriculture in September. Sarkisyan says that Light Bio chose petunias because they’re used widely as ornamental plants in the United States. It also chose them to minimize risk. This type of petunia is not native to North America, and is not considered an invasive species. So the chances of the modified genes spreading into native plants and disrupting ecosystems should be minimal.

Scientists contacted by Nature didn’t see any safety risks. “I cannot imagine any reason why this should be a concern,” Orzáez says.

“People’s reactions to genetically modified plants are complicated,” says Steven Burgess, a plant biologist at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign. Many concerns centre around who owns a technology and who benefits from it. A glowing houseplant is different from plants used by the agriculture industry, in which one company owns the seeds, he says.

Burgess compares the glowing petunia with another timely product. The purple tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum ), for which seeds went on sale earlier this month in the United States, is the first genetically modified food product to be marketed directly to gardeners. Researchers inserted genes from a snapdragon plant ( Antirrhinum majus ) into the tomato 3 to achieve its colour and high levels of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants.

A whole purple tomato and a slice of a purple tomato.

The purple tomato gets its hue by expressing genes of a snapdragon plant. Credit: Norfolk Plant Sciences

When asked whether Light Bio is worried about plant lovers sharing cuttings of the petunia with friends, Sarkisyan says that although the firm owns patents for the technology, it doesn’t plan to crack down aggressively on the behaviour. “The most positive way of dealing with it is to come up with new, better products,” he says. This year, the company shared 4 that it has succeeded at increasing the brightness of the bioluminescence in its plants by incorporating genes from other mushroom species and using directed evolution to make them function better in the plants.

Orzáez is excited about the research potential of the technology behind the petunias. He is currently developing plants that use the mushroom luciferase system to communicate when they are stressed or infected by a virus. He imagines that future farmers might get an early heads-up about problems with their crops from satellites or drones flying at night.

“Genetic engineering can be used for the good of humanity,” Orzáez says, acknowledging that many people are scared of it. “Having positive examples of genetic engineering, something people can touch and bring home” — such as the firefly petunia — could help people to see such modifications in a different light, he says.

Nature 626 , 701 (2024)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00383-3

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Hollywood Reporter

Kent Melton, Character Sculptor for ‘Aladdin,' ‘The Lion King' and ‘Coraline,' Dies at 68

Kent Melton, the animation sculptor who created maquettes made of clay for iconic characters found in movies including Aladdin , The Lion King , Mulan , The Incredibles and Coraline , has died. He was 68.

Melton died Thursday at his home in Stone County, Missouri, of Lewy body dementia, family members told The Hollywood Reporter .

One of the few artists left in the industry who still sculpted in clay, Melton was a key player in the Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s. Later, he helped Laika Studios become a stop-motion powerhouse. Along the way, he was entrusted by animators to bring their two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional world.

Melton's first Disney credit came on Aladdin (1992), followed by work on such other studio films as Thumbelina (1994), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Mulan (1998), The Prince of Egypt (1998), Tarzan (1999), The Road to El Dorado (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) and Pixar's The Incredibles (2004).

For Laika, he sculpted characters for Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012) and The Boxtrolls (2014), for which he designed the film's villain, pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher, voiced by Ben Kingsley.

Maquette, he explained in a 2015 interview for 417 Magazine , "is a term that goes way back to the Michelangelo era that means ‘model of something that will transform into a larger scale.' I'll sculpt a maquette in a character moment that personifies who they are to the story.

"I have to put body language into the pose to express and sum up who this guy is to the story. I try to capture their likeness and essence of personality and position in the story. From that, they scan what I do and then do all other expressions and poses and repositions on the computer."

The second of three sons of an agriculture teacher, Melton was born in Springfield, Missouri. He spent a lot of time on farms and never attended art school. "The whole time I was compulsively doing art on my own," he said. "Anything you do that much, you're going to get good at it."

Melton left his job carving wood and cutting glass at the Silver Dollar City amusement park near Branson, Missouri, and headed to Los Angeles, where he landed at Hanna-Barbera as the company's first staff sculptor.

He sculpted characters from The Flintstones and The Jetsons and worked on the 1988 NBC animated show The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley , based on Martin Short's Saturday Night Live character.

He also freelanced for Warner Bros., creating sculptures for the 1989 show Tiny Toons Adventures , before Disney hired him after an executive at the company spotted Melton's work at a birthday party he was hosting for his son.

For Aladdin , Melton worked on the first computer-animated character ever done in a feature animated film, the Cave of Wonders' tiger head that talks and moves.

"When I saw it on film, I said, ‘It's alive! I created this thing!' It was scanned right off of my sculpture," he said. "And it was so nice because I was just this kid who grew up on a farm, and here I am sitting in a theater with this giant character that I made happen."

He also created porcelain-based sculptures - fine works of art - for the Walt Disney Classics Collection.

Survivors include his wife, Martha; children Seth, Jordan and Nellie, an artist and animator ; and grandchildren Persephone, Toby, Juliet and Charlie.

"I try to interact with the medium as much as possible," Melton said in his 417 interview. "Let the clay or paint tell me what it wants and carry on a creative conversation with the art to find out where it takes me. I love the process.

"When I was a kid, I never kept anything. I never cared about the final work; it was just the process that I loved. I love the experience of painting, drawing, sculpting, playing music, carving - anything. That's what art is; it's an experience."

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