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Miguel Guilln

Independent Consultant
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Workshop Description Disclaimer -

Artist Statement and Artist Bio

Whats the difference?
An artist statement is an artist's written description of his or

her work, process and practice.

It is written in first-person and present tense.

An artist bio is about you as an artist. It provides

background/historical/contextual information about you in

relation to your art practice.
It is written in third-person tense.

How are they the same?

Image by Zoe Serbin

Be patient with yourself!

Getting used to writing is like getting used to using
new materials for making your art.
Appreciate that it takes time to hone a skill.
Use this as an opportunity to focus and put in order
your thoughts about your work and process.

About Artist Statements

Relatively new (whereas bios have been around a long time).
Writing a statement can be a difficult process
Written language for nuanced ideas
Different way of expression
Writing a statement can/should be time-consuming
Write often and regularly to develop style and language
There are no definite rules or standards just guidelines
Character, word or page count
Program managers
Consider the information given today as suggestions

Who asks for Artist Statements

and Artist Bios?
Funding organizations


Schools/Educational opportunities
Performance/Exhibition/Reading/Screening opportunities

To know more about you as person
To know more about your work/process as an artist

To create a comprehensive application

To determine eligibility
To determine application/opportunity appropriateness
To help review panelists
For publicity
For the record

Get started on your

Artist Statement
Questions to ask yourself:
What am I doing and what am I doing it with?
How am I using my medium and is it related to my ideas?
Is there a theme and/or intention to what Im doing?
What influences my work?
How does my art fit into the broader landscape?
What is the take away for viewers of my work?
Is there a part of my work/practice that Im not willing to
discuss? Why?

to help you get started


Find the right balance of information

Consider that each instance is unique
Consider that they, in most instances, should be

conversational, casual and quickly informative

Consider that most people have short attention spans
Address and answer commonly asked questions about
your art
Make sure your writing is succinct and provides an
accurate reflection of your work
See it as building a new audience, reflect YOUR view, and
something that stands in your stead


Pretend nobody knows you or what you do

Use simple, concise and direct language
Refer to yourself in the first person
Run it through Spell-check
Keep it to one to two paragraphs longest full page
Use language that answers or inspires questions
Use language reflecting YOUR perspective on what you do
Keep it updated its a continuous process
Make yourself sound special
Get feedback and more feedback

Dont write yourself into a corner
Steal words, sentences, phrases, references, etc.
Avoid, search and destroy hyperbole (art-speak, obscure
Re-use your statements without editing
Wait until you need one
Let anxiety guide your pen relax
Name-drop try to avoid referencing any one else

Example of Artist Statement

John Hitchcock - Visual Artist Wisconsin-based
My current artwork consists of hybrid mythological
creatures (buffalo, wolf, boar, deer, moose) based on
childhood memories and stories of growing up in the
Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. I explore notions of good
and evil, cycles of death and life. My depictions of beasts,
animals, and machines act as metaphors for human
behavior and cycles of violence. My artwork is a response to
intrusive behavior by humans toward nature and other

Artist Bios

What is it?
An artist bio is more factual about you as an artist.
It provides background/historical/contextual
information about YOU in relation to your art

Write in the third-person
Develop long and short versions
Keep it succinct, interesting and above all: informative

Keep it professional
Keep it updated

Additional information/uses
A narrative bio is useful if you are an emerging artist and

dont have a great deal to include on a rsum.

Talk with program manager

A narrative bio can enhance an application if your work

has a strong relationship to your biography.

A narrative bio is useful as a vehicle for discussing this
relationship in place of an Artist Statement if an Artist
Statement is not requested.

Suggested format for long-version

Paragraph one: Introduction
Mary Artist was born on Bainbridge Island
Paragraph two: What are you doing
Currently Mary is exploring color
Paragraph three: The bigger picture (contextualize)
Marys work seeks to examine
Paragraph four: Summarize paragraph two and close
Marys current work which explores

Suggested format for short-version

Use your long-form bio to create a short bio
Extract the information that makes you shine
Add information as needed to make it current
Make your short bio more casual
Consider that it will be a quick read

Short Bio Example - Casual

Anna is a Boston native who enjoys singing to the top of the
stratosphere and writing songs on the guitar, ukulele, banjo, piano, and
whatever weird or broken instruments she finds in the attic or gutter;
her EP is available through the WFR and comes and goes in various
forms (inquire for details) and she is working on fresh material for a
near-future release (stay tuned); she comes from a family of pop
songwriters and jazz guitarists and noise drummers, and has found
another kind of musical family within the whitehaus. Past musical
projects include Lhasa Apso, an experimental drone folk band, and she
is actively recording and playing shows with her band QUILT, cave
psychedelia for the 21st century and beyond. In between recording and
playing shows, Anna is finishing up a multidisciplinary BFA in painting,
drawing, sculpture and video art at the School of the Museum of Fine