When you’re a handmade or fine artist you’ll often be asked to submit a biography (also known as a bio). This can be for many purposes- from a craft fair application to a website that’s featuring your work. An artist bio is basically a description of your background, education, inspiration, techniques, accomplishments, and anything else that is important about your work and life. Here are my top tips for an effective and appealing bio…
1. Start with the basics.
Your bio should include basic details like where you’re from, your education (where you went to high school or college and degrees earned), your current home state or country, etc. There’s no absolute formula for what must be in an artist bio, but these facts will give readers an idea of your experience and life story. You can also include a sentence or two about what inspires your work and some interests outside your art and business.
2. Mention your accomplishments.
In addition to discussing the basic facts, be sure to talk about your accomplishments in your bio. This could include any awards you’ve received, big projects you’ve worked on, milestones you’ve achieved, and more. Don’t spend the whole artist bio bragging, but discuss these things in a clear manner that shows you are successful in your field. You can also include your awards and accomplishments in a bullet-point style list below your bio.
3. Don’t be untruthful.
Never exaggerate or flat-out lie in your bio. This can come back to hurt you in the future as well as cause people to question your legitimate accomplishments. Most facts are also easily verifiable, so only write about what actually happened in your career. There will be more amazing things to come, so no need to bend the truth!
4. Include future projects.
You can also mention plans and projects you have lined up for the future. Only include tangible goals that will be possible to accomplish and don’t be too abstract in your ideas. Upcoming collaborations, books being published, exhibits opening, etc. are all okay to talk about in your bio. Avoid excessive name dropping or revealing plans that are not definite or are still in negotiation.
5. Make a few versions.
You should ideally make two or three different bios for separate uses. For instance, the bio you write for your website may be more detailed than one you use when your work is featured on a blog. Create a few versions of different lengths and focuses, and use the blurb that best fits the particular situation when needed. This doesn’t mean that the basics shouldn’t be in all of them, just that you can emphasize other aspects of your work.
6. Update it occasionally.
Once a year or so you should re-read your artist bio. This will allow you to revise the dates and information you’ve included to account for any changes. If you make any updates be sure to add your new bio to the websites where it’s publicly available.