Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to write an Artist Statement Bio

Writing an Artist Statement
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I am not claiming to be an authority here, but I do know a few things. There are many different ways to skin a cat. Sorry, PETA
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Tailor it to the Audience
You need different artist statements depending on who you are addressing. Is this to a Gallery, for the general public, or for the Internet.
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Bio/ Artist Statement
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A lot of Artist Statements will be a combination of a Bio and a Statement. It could include a picture of the artist in action, shows you have done, awards, Galleries that represent you, etc. Have you taught, or given demonstrations? Are you a full-time artist, how long have you been painting, where have you studied. Maybe you include, contact information ( online and off), phone, address, Website, Email, etc.
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The Artist Downfall
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A lot of artist are almost apologetic when talking about themselves or their accomplishments.
Play up your strong points. It is often what you don't say that is most important. Don't try to make an award won at a County Fair into a big deal. People will see through that. You can say that you are an award winning artist. Just leave it at that. It's true! You are! You just don't have to volunteer that it was at a County Fair. Have you taught art to 5th graders? Then you can say you have taught art. You get the point. You don't want to lie. On the other hand you don't want to minimize what you have done.
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Personal verses "Just the Facts Maam"
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If the Info is for a Gallery it may be more of, "Just the Facts Maam" More business like. Hopefully you are meeting the Gallery owner in person. You're going to have a relationship with the Gallery. They want to know your art process, but not endearing stories, at least not initially.

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If the info is at an art show it will be a little more personal. Hopefully you will meet and talk to your customers as well. You better, if you want to sell
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I think most people agree that on the Internet it is very important to be a little more personal, so that people can get to know you. You are just 1 of a ga-zillion people trying to sell on the Internet. You need to make them feel that they know you. It's ok to be business like, but it is easy to come across as gruff, when the person doesn't have the benefit of your smiling face. Especially when you are dispensing payment/ shipping terms and policy's, all very impersonal.




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The Statement
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Sometimes a Statement can be about , why you do what you.
and or
How you came to the point of doing what you do.
and or
The actual process of how you do it.
and or
(Your Art Theory)
Your belief of how art should be done or should be viewed
( Art Mumbo Jumbo) This never made a lot of sense to me.
I
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Sample
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Combination Bio/ Statement
click the link
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This was done for a particular art show. Normally, I will have contact information on the top. For this audience, I thought the most important thing was the shows that I have done, so I put it on top. As I didn't expect that they would take the time to do a lot of reading. Some shows will actually ask you to describe the process of making your art.
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Random Stuff
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This is some of the Information that I have on some Internet sites
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About Derek:
Derek is a full time, established, award winning artist and has been painting for over 20 years. Derek exhibits at the top ranked juried art shows in the nation. He does about 20 shows a year in 12 different states. He has been featured in print and interviewed on television concerning his art. His Baseball abstract "You're Outta Here" is displayed in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Sports Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prints of Derek's paintings grace the walls of 4 and 5 star hotels. He lives outside of Memphis, Indiana, which is a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and 2 sons. He lives in a restored 1924 farmhouse and has a working studio/gallery that he built in a barn behind his home.

Why I paint:
Painting took me quite by accident. At the age of 26 I had a serious back injury. As I lay there watching TV, I happened upon PBS. I saw Bob Ross doing painting demonstrations. He is the fuzzy headed guy painting happy little tree oil paintings. I had an epiphany watching him paint a scene of a waterfall. I purchased some Oil Paint, and 6 months later I started selling paintings. I have never looked back.



Process:
I usually have a very basic idea when I paint a painting. The more I think about a painting the easier it is to get bogged down in the details, and then I can't even muster up the courage to start. If I just have a basic idea, then I am then free to paint, and let the painting just happen. I usually paint with no drawing or sketching. I draw with the paint, mixing colors on the paper or canvas. I do a lot of negative painting. Instead of painting the sky and then the tree, I will paint the tree and then paint the sky, redefining the shape of the shape of the tree. Often in the middle of a painting, I will see something happening and I have learned over the years to always go with the feeling. When this happens, an abstract may turn into a landscape or a sunset may turn into snow scene. It took me many years to get to this level of freedom. When I first started painting decades ago, my paintings were very tight and I used very small brushes. I would draw everything out first, in great detail . With each passing year painting becomes more like play.
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I hope this helps
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If it did, please feel free to comment. It's good to know that people are listening. It keeps me motivated.



10 comments:

  1. Thank you for the informative post, Derek. I don't know of any artist who does not struggle with writing an artist statement. Why is so difficult to write about oneself?

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  2. It has been my experience that most artist are naturally introspective type people. Often not outgoing type people. That's why a lot of us have difficulty talking to customers at an art show. We also have great difficulty raising our prices, I know that I did in the beginning

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  3. Hi Derek..Felt very good reading your post.I liked all your paintings very much!They are simple yet very beautiful..I'm a beginner in this world of colors and imaginations and will be very happy if you give me a few ideas..Keep up your good work.All the very best!

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  4. I have to agree, I often find myself playing down my accomplishments or lack there off, but in reality I've done a lot and continue to strive to do more.

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  5. I came across your blog through stumbleupon, and honestly have found it very useful and your tips are logical and really make a difference in your work. I am a sixteen year old artist, in the process of making my name known in my community. I started an art blog last week, if you have some time I'd appreciate it if you'd check it out. I always welcome critiques!

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  6. Thank You! This posting was extremely insightful and enlightening. Your comments are appreciated and respected.

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  7. All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.

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Please Comment! I welcome comments, and suggestions for tutorials. Ask me a question? Maybe I'll use it.