As you make an effort to build your career as an artist you will need to communicate to your collectors and galleries what you have accomplished. Artists are usually asked for two common forms of information.
An artist statement and a CV.
This Guide will show you what is expected for your CV.
What is an artist CV?
CV stands for curriculum vitae or vita which loosely mean “course of life.” An artist CV is a document presenting an artist’s background, accomplishments and achievements. It differs from a standard resume as it contains a list of artistic achievements and is therefore much more detailed.
What should it include?
- Contact information
Make sure an email address and a phone number are available.
This can be college or university as well as private studies and apprenticeships.
In four to six sentences describe yourself and what your work is about.
- Selected Exhibitions
Show your highlights here. It’s good not to go too long without an addition. Early on as you’re building your career, attempt to add at least one exhibition each year.
- Grants and Awards
These take time to build. Try to enter juried shows each year. You will have to build your CV over time. Be proactive. Don’t wait for things to come out of nowhere. You will have to take steps each year to build your career
With a section like this you would be listing possessions you held within the broader art world that apply to your field.
When listing commissions they would be of note. Painting the portrait of The President of the United States or the official seal for the government.
When listing collections they would be of note. All collectors are fantastic, but what galleries and museums are looking for here is, Are you in the collection of a permanent collector or a museum. This helps add gravitas to your work.
Magazines and books
You can list your representation from a gallery. Some galleries want exclusivity and listing them here will help other galleries know where you stand as well as it can add to your provenance.
- Professional Organization
List art organizations that you’re a member of.
- Keep it short and direct. Avoid going over 2 pages.
- Avoid using small text.
- Eliminate unnecessary information.
- Keep it simple, black text only as they are often photocopied.
- Avoid fancy fonts.
- Stay with one font.
- Keep layout as clean as possible.
- For ease of reading, Use only headings and bullet points.
Tips for writing your Artist CV
- Make sure you have someone spell check!
- Use reverse chronological order when listing shows and education.
- Be proactive! Keep your CV up to date. A gallery, collector or magazine may ask for your info. Have it prepared in advance and after each new account immediately update your CV.
- Avoid unnecessary personal information such as age, marital status, religion and grades in schooling. Most of this information is illegal to ask in many countries and as far as your math grade at 17 it doesn’t affect the way you can draw and paint. So don’t share it.
- When sending out via email or envelope you can include a photo of yourself and your work.