This week both your Artist Statement and Artist Bio are due. So, you might be asking yourself, what is the difference between the two? Many of you may have written an artist statement before. But you may not have written an artist bio. The two documents do share some similarities, but there are also important differences.
An artist statement is usually directed toward a specific body of work, in this case, your BFA work. An artist bio is a more general document, describing your interests as an artist in a broader way. It may encompass all of the various bodies of work you have done as an artist.
Think about what elements link your work. Is it content, process, aesthetics, style? Probably some combination of all of the above. In many ways, artist bios are more fun to write…at least I think so. It’s a bit like telling your life story…though I would stick with the elements that are relevant to your work, which could include some personal information, if you feel that your personal background and/or experience is important and you are comfortable sharing that information. Artist statements are more specific. Artist bios speak about your practice, interests and experience in a more general way. Both documents touch on notions of storytelling, though either or both can be strictly business, if you prefer a more formal approach. Pick a style that suits your work and your personality.
Take a look in the files folder and find the folder with guidelines for your Artist Bio. I have included some examples there. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. Artist Bios, like Artist Statements, are public documents, so be sure you remain within your own comfort zone, in terms of what you decide to include. Like an Artist Statement, Artist Bios can also be creative documents. Try to have fun with this. I look forward to learning more about you and your work.
Use the guidelines here in this assignment, plus take a look at the other docs. I have in the “Artist Statements” folder on Canvas and write a one-page statement considering (but not limited to) the following questions. Most of you have likely written an artist statement before, but if you haven’t, these questions may help you. Many artists include information on some of the issues listed below within their artist statements. Don’t feel obliged to answer all of the questions. Choose the ones you find most interesting and/or relevant to your experience. Begin by writing on what you think are the most important points to help your audience understand your work. We’ll use that as a starting point and go from there. I will once again break you up into groups – smaller ones this time, and we will go over the statements for each member of the class and help you proof-read and improve them. Having colleagues proof your written work is a rare and valuable opportunity, so you should make the most of it!
Artist statements can be purely factual, but they can also be creative and/or poetic, thought provoking or provocative. Feel free to invent creative ways of expressing yourself. More creative or poetic artist statements might spark more interest from a gallery director, curator, art director or potential employer. If you don’t consider yourself a good writer, writing is still a skill that you can develop, like any other. Possessing the ability to express your thoughts and ideas about your own work in written form (an artist statement) is yet another survival skill out in the professional world. It is to your benefit to develop these skills, whether you enjoy writing or not.
- How does your work fit within the art world as a whole in terms of medium, genre, style, etc.?
- Describe your work physically (media, dimensions, 2-D, 3-D, presentation style, etc.).
- How does your work relate to that of historically significant and/or contemporary artists? Which artists have most influenced your work?
- What are the possibilities/limitations inherent to the medium/s you work within?
- How does the work youâ€™ve done for this class relate to past work or work youâ€™ve done elsewhere?
- Why do you make work? What drives your desire to be an artist? Itâ€™s not the easiest thing in the world to do, so why are you doing it? If you don’t plan to be an artist, what drives your desire to pursue whatever vocation you plan to follow?
- How does your visual work relate to your life? Do you see the reflection of your outside interests in your work, or do you view your life and work as distinctly separate?
- Do you prefer work of a personal, introspective nature, or are you more interested in observation of the external world? In either case, what motivates your interests? Perhaps you merge some combination of the two. If so, describe how this is so.
- Do you consider your work to be political? If so, how? What political issue/s does it address?
- What effect has culture, family, media had on your work? Does your work have the potential to affect culture, family, media?
- Do you believe the work you’ve done in this class will affect your work in the future? Discuss any future plans you might have for your work.
Think about how you might explain your work to someone who does not at all know you (or your work). Artist statements can be poetic, a form of storytelling, descriptive, purely informational (describing process and dimensions), or any combination of the above. Create a style that fits your personality. Whatever you choose (whether you think of yourself as a good writer or not), try to think of this as a creative endeavor. Your statement is likely to end up more interesting this way.