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.
Examples of great artist statements
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.