Blog Topic: Beginnings

Business 101

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Barbara Burns 

Many of you know Rebecca Mezoff from her blog, webinars and online workshops. If anyone knows how to work the internet to make a living through tapestry, its Rebecca. Below is an overview, written by Rebecca, about running a fiber business in the age of the internet.

 

Learning to run your own business takes time and frankly, some stubbornness. My journey creating and running my art and teaching business over the last ten years has not been either linear or smooth. But it has been a fun ride. And let me be clear, if you are trying to sell your own products including your art, you are running a business.

Running a business isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of effort and you have to be willing to get back up and try again after failed attempts at self-promotion. In today’s world, you’re going to have to learn something about technology. 

These first two things are a requirement for running a successful business whether you’re selling your artwork or selling information or physical products. 

  1. A website
  2. An email list

Website:

In 2017 I wrote an article for this blog about having a website. I’m not going to restate that information now, so if you’re stuck on the website step, take a look at this post.

https://americantapestryalliance.org/blog/websites-need-know/.

Online teaching, Rebecca Mezoff

Email list:

This is your main business asset. The people who sign up for your mailing list are interested in you. They are asking to hear from you. This is the list of people who will be your biggest fans. They are the people who will share your stuff online, who will remember to recommend your work to their Aunt Ruth when she says, “I really would like a bit of fiber art for that corner of the dining room,” and they are the people who will be the first to purchase from you when you present the thing they’re looking for.

You should not use your personal email for your mailing list. Many email providers will not allow you to send an email to masses of people and it just isn’t good practice. To manage a mailing list effectively, you need to use a mailing list provider. The emails you send will still have your email address in the “From” field, but they will be sent through the provider. I use Mailchimp and I like it. I believe the first couple thousand addresses are completely free. Remember that these programs can be powerful assets. They can send automated emails, segment your list into people interested in particular things, and they will make you stay up to date on current regulations for how you keep people’s information.

How do you add people to your mailing list? Ask them to sign up. Make sure to put a subscribe form on your website in several places. Add a link to the bottom of your email signature. Hand people a business card with your website and ask them to sign up for your list. Then actually email people from time to time. They wanted to hear from you, so give them the latest news on a regular basis. It is important that you don’t just send a random email once every 6 months. That isn’t often enough for people to remember who you are. Business coaches recommend sending an email at least once a month if not more frequently. Tell your followers about your latest work or a show you got into. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. 

Once you have your website and email list, what is the next step in running a successful business?

Make personal connections

Rebecca Mezoff Teaching at CSU

Many of us artists don’t like to talk to people. We love our studios and many of us are very introverted. Just chatting to people about our art makes us feel a little queasy.

I was an occupational therapist for 17 years. I was forced to go into the hospital room of many new people every single day, introduce myself and sell the magic of OT to the patient. It is the nature of healthcare that in many settings, my boss wasn’t giving me a choice about whether I saw a person or not. I was often told, you have to do therapy with that patient for X hours a day, so make it work. (As an aside, this is a big reason I don’t work in healthcare anymore.) Through that experience, I learned to come out of my introverted shell, look people in the eye, and try to connect with them even though it initially was difficult.

You have to make connections with people if you want to sell your art or products. Networking seems scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Start easy with people who are friends of friends. Trying to get a solo show at a community art gallery? Find connections there, go to coffee with people, ask for help furthering your career. Sometimes people will tell you no. Probably they will tell you no a lot because they don’t know what tapestry is. But keep trying. Be creative. The friend of a friend of a friend might be the person who connects you with that special client or venue.

American Tapestry Biennial 11, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. Photo: Rebecca Mezoff

Give out business cards. This may seem old school, but a printed business card should be on your person at all times. It is that time you are standing in line at Human Bean for your chai tea latte and the woman behind you asks about the tapestry patch on your handbag that you need that card. You’ve probably run out of the house in your yoga pants with a ball cap on, but make sure you have a few cards in your wallet. Make a point to give a card to anyone who expresses any interest at all in what you do. It can be very casual but it is important. You can get extremely cheap business cards from Vistaprint. I’ve also used Modern Postcard and Moo. Moo allows you to print a pack of cards with 25 different images. This is a great thing for an artist as you’ll have a tiny portfolio on you at all times.

Listen to your customers

Not sure why people aren’t buying? This may well be because you’re not listening. Figure out who your customer is and then listen to them. Sit down and think about who the people you’d like to buy your work are. Be specific. Are they people who have a certain amount of money? Do they live certain places? Are they male or female or gender non-conforming? What are they interested in? Where to do they spend their time on the internet? What else do they do where they might hear about you?

Find someone who is or could be your customer and take them to coffee. Ask them these questions. People like to talk about themselves and often they love helping you out. The sort of person you think you’re selling to might not really be the person you should be marketing to. Craft your marketing ideas around the people who are really interested in your work. They are your customers. Don’t try to make art that will sell to a particular sort of person. Make your art and find out who loves it. Then position it to be seen by those people. (Hint: this is not easy and takes a lot of trial and error… but keep trying.)

Rebecca Mezoff, “Emergence”

Use local resources

I have done a lot of work with my local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Some classes I’ve paid for but a lot of the advice I’ve received has been completely free. Many states have these services which are funded by the state. I’ve had help from an accountant, a social media consultant, a lawyer, and I’ve taken many classes on everything from sales taxes to hiring employees to using Quickbooks for very low cost. The people at your local SBDC can point you toward other resources you didn’t even know were important.

Driving traffic

The internet works through links. Everything is linked to something else in one big cobweb of bits and bytes. If you are the person who set up a Wix website five years ago and you haven’t touched it since, that website isn’t doing you much good. You must keep it up to date. There is nothing that will make me click away from a website faster than realizing it hasn’t been updated in three years. Making it easy to use is also important. Make it clean and simple and make sure it is mobile enabled. A full half of my website traffic comes from mobile devices.

If you write a blog, actually write it. Don’t promote a blog that you don’t actually post to at least once a month. If you aren’t ever going to post to it again, maybe make that clear in the blog header if you leave it online or consider taking it down.

To get people to go to your website, you have to put yourself out into the world. You don’t have to write a blog, but you do have to use some kind of internet-based interaction with other people to get them to go to your website. That could be just your newsletter, but your list will grow faster if you have something to offer online. What you put online could take many different forms. Consider what you are trying to express with your artwork and who you are wanting to see it when deciding where to put your energy. Then think about where your customers might see it. Can you put some energy into a local art coop or gallery which might include advertising about you for free? Do you spend time on social media and could you include interesting information about your work there? What community resources are you missing around you? What larger organizations could help you find your audience?

A note on regulations

If you’re running a business, there are regulations you must follow. In the USA, you probably have to register your business as a sole proprietorship with the Secretary of State of your state. This usually doesn’t cost much, but you need to keep it up to date every year. You will need to figure out how to charge and remit sales tax in your city, county, and state. This is more complicated in some states than others and if you have an accountant, they can help you with it. And you’ll need to figure out how to pay estimated taxes to your state and the IRS if you live in the USA. Your local small business development center or your accountant can be immensely helpful in learning about the regulations for your state or country. Get some help. It is worth it.

 

Rebecca Mezoff runs an online tapestry business teaching people all over the world how to weave tapestry. She also teaches in-person tapestry retreats that she arranges and promotes herself. When she isn’t teaching, she is weaving and you can find more about her work and teaching on her website and blog at www.tapestryweaving.com.

Press Releases, Promoting your Practice

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Joanne Soroka shares with us how to write a press release and why you want one. She also shares with us some unusual, out-of-the-box ways artists have gotten attention for their work.

Getting Your Name Into Print

by Joanne Soroka

What’s the point? Why publicize?

To raise the profile of you and/or your product/works of art. To make money.

What you can publicize?

Examples include exhibitions, fashion shows, winning a prize or competition, a new product, getting a prestige client, getting a big contract, expanding your business and artist talks.

Where you can publicize it?

Local and national newspapers, specialist and general magazines, trade papers, the Internet, email, texts, posters, word of mouth, handbills, advertising, mail shots, etc.

Press releases and publicity

  • Plan ahead, start on your publicity at least two to three weeks before the launch or equivalent.
  • Be aware of deadlines e.g. magazines may need three months.
  • Plan on the type(s) of publicity you wish to use.
  • Research the publications you want to target e.g. are you looking for reviews or alerting the public? Is there a specialist publication for your discipline?
  • Do you have any contacts?
  • Do you have a budget?
  • Create photos suitable for the purpose or hire a photographer.
  • Be realistic about the amount of publicity you can get.

Press releases

Before you start to write

Article in the Herald and Post about the last opportunity to see the Ron Mueck exhibition at the RSA.

 

  • Who is your target audience?
  • How are you going to interest them in your work or event?
  • Do you have an ‘angle’?
  • Possibly write more than one press release for different audiences and publications.

 

 

Angles and getting attention

A deconstructed life 14/02/2001 The Telegraph

TOO much clutter? Not enough space? The British artist Michael Landy has the ultimate solution to all his storage problems. I can’t think of anything I’ve seen in my life that remotely  resembles his Break Down, a 14-day artist’s “performance” commissioned by Artangel, which is  taking place on Oxford Street in London, in the former C&A department store at Marble Arch.

  •         What is special about your work or event?
  •         Think of a way to make it stand out from the other press releases e.g.         the first, the biggest, connection with celebrity, arresting photo, etc.
  •          Use strong, inventive language to create interest.
  • Don’t be afraid to use humour.
  • You can be controversial, but with the realization of possible consequences.
  • But keep it simple and direct.

Visuals

Beagles and Ramsey, sex dolls, 200Photos of the work

 

  • Have a press event where something exciting will happen that press photographers can photograph.
  • Use photos with extra visual interest.
  • But remember – subtlety does not usually work with the press.

 

Text of the press release

  • Have a strong title.
  • Who, what, when, where, why – summarize or list.
  • The angle – what’s special?
  • Quotes are good.
  • Give a bit of background.
  • Have links to photos, website, etc and where to get further information.
  • Maximum one page or 400 words.

 

Examples of press release writing

  • Tonight three students from Edinburgh College of Art are having the opening of an exhibition of their work at the Traverse Theatre Bar. Their work is inspired by nature and includes examples of jewelry, ceramics and glass.
  • Rachel, James and Sally are great artist’s! There work is enspired by nature and their show is at the Travarse Theatre Bar starting tonight, October 19th at 6 pm. Come along and meet them.
  • Brunel University student’s ‘Square-eyes’ design is set to combat child obesity 17, May, 2005    Gillian Swan, a final year design student from Brunel University in West London, has designed a unique insole for children’s shoes that records the amount of exercise a child does during a day ­ and converts it to television watching time.

Presentation of material

  • Proofread and show to someone else before you send it.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Remember timing e.g. Sunday evening is a good time to send emails, and don’t leave it until the last minute.
  • It should be visually attractive and easy to read, i.e. double-spaced and in black ink on white paper.
  • Send by post if in doubt.
  • Address it to the right person and spell their name correctly.

Follow-up

  • Be persistent.
  • Make phone calls to editors and journalists.
  • Repeat emails or email with new information and photos.
  • Create other events.
  • Respond quickly to enquiries, requests for photos, etc.
  • But do not expect more than 10% response max.

Or do something different

 

In New York, a group of artists calling themselves Art-Anon have managed to get up the noses of almost every art gallery owner in the city’s fashionable Chelsea district with their RIDER Project – an art gallery in the back of a truck. “Our goal is to provoke the galleries of Chelsea as best we can,” founder Michele Gambetta told the New York Times, after parking her truck directly in front of yet another swanky art shop.

Other ways to get noticed

Natural History Museum exhibits an unnatural specimen Vikram Dodd.
Thursday April 8, 2004 The Guardian

 

Doubtless it is a publicity stunt, but is it also art?

The graffiti artist Banksy has managed to smuggle in his latest work, a dead rat in  a glass-fronted box, into the Natural History Museum where it was exhibited on a wall for several hours.

Staff did not notice that the rat was out of place amid the museum’s usual fare of dinosaur bones and artefacts from the animal kingdom.

The rat was stuffed and clad in wraparound sunglasses, scaled down to fit the top of its head, a rucksack on its back, and with a microphone in one paw.

A miniature spraycan sits at the departed rodent’s feet, while above it is sprayed in graffiti-style lettering “our time will come”.

Conclusion

  • Spend time thinking about how to approach getting publicity.
  • Think about audiences and what you want to achieve.
  • Start small and local.
  • Be as creative as you are in your studio work.

Joanne Soroka, who was born and brought up in Montreal and graduated from McGill University, now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Edinburgh is a centre for tapestry weaving, and its Edinburgh College of Art was where she studied in the 1970s, leaving with a post-graduate diploma (with distinction).  She went on to be the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh Tapestry Company (Dovecot Studios), before setting up her own studio, Ivory Tapestries, in 1987.  She makes tapestries, other textiles and paperworks, with occasional forays into other media such as print and video.  Her work hangs in the lobbies and boardrooms of well-known international companies such as the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Glenfiddich Distillery and in hotels in Japan.  She has won numerous awards.

Joanne has exhibited around the world and has taught at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh.  She is the author of Tapestry Weaving: Design and Technique, which is about to go into its fifth printing.

 

Writing your CV/Resume

Monday, April 10th, 2017
Sharon-Cameron copy

Sharon Cameron

Janet-Pearce-HAVEN-1

Janet Pearce

Just The Facts Ma’am

Barbara Burns

I was brought up on 1960’s television and as the youngest and only girl, I was outnumbered 2-1 by my two older brothers. That meant I had to suffer through many a war or cop show. Dragnet, an old show where two detectives track down criminals was one of them. The show began with its signature music: “dum-de-dum-dum,” then:

“The story you are about to hear is true:

And, of course, Sgt. Joe Friday played by Jack Webb’s famous business-like catch phrase:

“All we want are the facts, ma’am.”

Well, your CV or resume is all about the facts.

Lets start with a bit of clarification. What is the difference between an artist CV and a resume?

CV or curriculum vitae means course of life. An artist CV is an in depth overview of your professional visual arts career. It’s similar in structure to an employment resume but  should only contain what is pertinent to your artistic career. It’s longer than a resume, up to 2-3 pages, and covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honors, etc. relating to your art career.

A resume is more of a summary, typically one page. Generally speaking, a resume is used in the U.S. and the rest of the world uses a CV. As with many things there are exceptions to this. In the U.S. a CV is used in academia and engineering for instance.  Many people use the terms interchangeably. I thought they were the same thing until I looked it up for this article.

You probably have a resume or CV you used to find a job. You’ll be able to glean some of the content from it if you do. Now you need an artist CV. (I will be using the term CV for the rest of this article.)

There are some good resources to help you write an artist’s CV. If you’re an experienced artist with exhibits, sales and other experience, you just have to plug in the relevant information. The Practical Art World website has a 10 step process that’s easy to follow.

But what do you do if you’re just getting started, and you need a CV to apply to an exhibit that wants to know what your experience is? Kind of a catch-22 but there are ways to deal with this. The Practical Art World site has a page that will help you: How to Write an Artist’s CV When You Don’t Have Much (Or Any!) Professional Experience . This page has some very good suggestions on how to create a professional CV for an emerging artist.

Arts Business Info For Artists is another very good site. They break down the needs of a North American based CV and a UK based CV. I think  this will be useful to the rest of the world too. There are also some useful tips and guidelines.

I hope these are helpful.

Barbara

Sources:

The Practical Art World

The Balance

The Under Cover Recruiter

Art Business Info

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First Steps: Where To Begin

Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Jennifer Galliott, "Summer Love/Cowhead" (2008), 24" x 36"

“Summer Love/Cowhead” Jennifer Galliott (2008), 24″ x 36″

Barbara Burns

When I first started applying to exhibits I needed an artist statement, artist bio and photos of my work.  I bought a book called Writing The Artist Statement: Revealing The True Spirit of Your Work *. It was very helpful. Now we have so much information available to us on the internet it can be confusing.

Eventually, I had a tapestry accepted for ATB6 and I was asked for a head shot. For another exhibit I needed a CV (curriculum vitae or resume). So, I slowly built up the materials needed with each new request. At this point, I have at least one artist  statement for each of my tapestries as well as having one for each series I weave and I rewrite my general artist statement regularly.

 

 

Based on my experience a good place to start is to have the following:

—An artist biography (Bio)

—An artist statement

—CV

—Photos of your work

— A head shot (you)

Photographing your work can be as simple as hiring a professional or perhaps you want to do it yourself. I have some simple guidelines you can follow under: Photography.

I imagine this sounds overwhelming, but unless you’re working with a deadline you can take your time. Begin with the item that seems easiest to accomplish and go from there.

Once you’ve completed these tasks you may wish to go further with promoting your work. Social media, branding, pricing, learning how to deal with galleries and commissions, writing contracts and more will be covered in this blog. You can keep coming back here as you are ready for your next step in the process of marketing and promoting your work.

I recommend you take it slowly, set a schedule for yourself and don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no time like the present to begin.

Barbara Burns

* Goodwin, Ariane. Writing The Artist Statement: Revealing The True Spirit of Your Work, Infinity Publishing 2007.

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Do You Call Yourself An Artist?

Monday, March 13th, 2017
Barbara_Burns_4142_web

Barbara Burns weaving “Amandaconda.” Photo credit: Michael Wilson

Barbara Burns

According to the English Oxford Dictionary an artist is: a person who practices or performs any of the creative arts.

I didn’t call myself an artist for a long time. I would skirt the idea and say things like: “I design and weave tapestry” or “I’m a weaver.” I just wasn’t comfortable with the label “artist”.  What changed? Well, some people were calling me an artist, so I decided to try it on for a while. It felt like a new pair of shoes: a bit stiff at first but, after wearing them for a while they mold to your feet and feel comfortable. That’s how it happened for me. So now I say: “I’m a tapestry artist, I design and weave tapestry”. I’m still getting used to my “new shoes.”

There’s a great blog post written by Luann Udell in California, USA 

WHO IS AN ARTIST? (And When Can You Call Yourself One?)

I’ve quoted a few lines from Luann’s post with her permission:

“If you are making something that makes your heart sing, if you enjoy it, if it connects you to your higher self, if it connects others to their higher self, even for a few brief moments, then yeah, you’re an artist.”

“And you can start calling yourself that right now.”

“You have to SAY “I’m an artist” before you can believe it.”

“If people are curious, and it’s hard to explain what you do, hand them your business card (which absolutely should have a bit of your artwork on it, if at all possible) that has your website (because you need to have an online presence of some sort so people can see/hear/watch what you do).”

“And let them decide for themselves. Don’t doubt what you are. Don’t second-guess what you do. Just constantly strive to make it as good as you can.”

“After all, only you can do it.”

“Say it loud, say it proud, “I’m an artist!” right out loud.”

 You can read the full post here.

For more reading try:

Huffington Post article: How Do You Define Artist?

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Writing An Artist’s Bio

Monday, March 13th, 2017

 

Barbara Burns

Writing an Artist’s Bio

artist-bio-pic

Once you’ve written your artist bio post it in comments below. If you would like to have an image that goes with your bio posted on the blog go here and upload the image along with your bio.

What is an Artist Bio?

Your ‘bio’ is a short biography that tells who you are and what you do. It’s basically your resume in paragraph form. Your bio will also give a little bit of history and background as relevant: where you are from, what your education and/or training has been, where your work has been presented, and what awards and honors you have received.

Why Write A Bio?

“Your artist bio is the most important document in your promotional arsenal. It’s most people’s first introduction to you. So it really needs to succinctly communicate what you’re all about as an artist and give collectors a reason to want to learn more.

How Your Bio Gets Used

A bio will usually be necessary in any publication, print or online, that accompanies your work. Bios appear on artists’ websites, in artists’ catalogues for exhibitions, and in press packets. And in all those, they’ll use your bio verbatim.

Bios also drive search engine optimization (SEO). When returning search results, Google and other search engines privilege written content that is “sticky” (i.e. readers spend time on the page and continue browsing), so providing an engaging, well-written bio is a great way to increase discoverability.

SONY DSC

The Soft Machine by Linda Green

General Guidelines When Writing a Bio

  • Write in the third person; you will refer to yourself by your full name. Rather than speaking as ‘I’ you will write about yourself as he or she. Remember, people will often use your bio verbatim. If it’s written in the first person it’s much less likely to be used because someone would actually have to put some work in to rewrite it.
  • Bios should be short, less than a page, but you will probably need more than one: a very short one — 2 or 3 sentences, and a longer one – 1 or 2 paragraphs and another 3-4 paragraphs. Each will be useful for different things, website, gallery exhibit, catalogue, etc. The ideal bio is ~120 words, though a tightly written 80-word bio is preferable to a longer bio that includes repetition and filler sentences.
  • You will need to revise and update your bio once or twice a year!
  • You want to write a strong, compelling statement that connects the viewer to your work with a strong  first sentence.
  • Focus on topics that may not be apparent from viewing your work.
  • Edit and edit some more. Make sure you keep your artist biography short and concise with a focused structure.
  • Understand Your audience. Sometimes it can be beneficial to adjust your biography for different readers and objectives.
  • Write two to three drafts. You can try different tones and play around with language in each one. And don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into your biography.
  • Have an artist you trust and admire read your final draft. A fresh set of practiced eyes can do wonders for your biography and help you polish it to perfection. Another reader with a trained eye will be able to tell you if your biography correctly reflects you and your art.
  • Check spelling and punctuation. Nothing undermines the credibility of your content more quickly than spelling and grammar mistakes. Make sure you have the spell check function turned on, and that your language preferences are set to the language you’re writing in.
  • Use a serif font (e.g. Times New Roman) to ensure proper formatting of “smart” or curly quotes.
  • Put exhibition titles in quotations (e.g. “Greater New York”), and artwork titles in italic (e.g. La Vie, 1903)
  • The Hemingway Editor, an online tool that can help you keep your writing from getting too complex.
  • Don’t use ‘art-speak’, overly  flowery or pretentious language, or art jargon.
  • Don’t try to impress the reader with vocabulary or extensive knowledge of art criticism.
  • Don’t announce what the viewer should feel, just clearly express what you have accomplished.
  • Don’t make the bio about your life. Think of it as a biography of your work instead.

 

Christine Rivers, "North Coast Reflections" (2013), 45.5" x 14"

Christine Rivers, “North Coast Reflections” (2013), 45.5″ x 14″

Questions to consider when writing about your art practice:
Physical

  • What medium/media do you work in?
  • What is your style like?
  • What work or works can you talk about that will give a visual description of the above qualities?

Subject matter

  • What are common or characteristic themes depicted in the your work?
  • What subjects drive the works or provide underlying themes?

Art-Historical

  • Why are you as an artist important?
  • What precedent have you set in art-making? What other artists have impacted your practice?
  • How does your work redefine your medium or media?
  • Who are your peers or teachers?

Context

  • In what political or technological climate are you working in? I.e. what historical or political events might have influenced your work?

Popular Culture

  • What areas of the arts or popular culture do you incorporate into your work?
  • What other areas of the arts or popular culture do you engage with? E.g. creating theatrical sets, costumes, music videos, etc.

Quotes

  • Can any of the above questions be answered in a brief (12 sentences), engaging quotation from you, the artist?

 

Mary Kircher, "Sedimentary," 2016, 60" x 30"

Mary Kircher, “Sedimentary,” 2016, 60″ x 30″

Let’s get down to writing

Give yourself about a week to write your bio. Not spending 8 hours a day on it of course. You’ll be putting it away between some of these steps so your brain can absorb it and you can come back with fresh eyes.

Be sure to to include in your artist bio:

  • Your name
  • Where you live and work
  • The medium you work in
  • Influences upon your art
  • A sentence or two on key themes in your work
  • Your exhibition history highlight
  • Art related education (excluding high school)

Now we get into actually writing something. Don’t worry about getting it perfect on the first try. You need to write in article format. Important general info in the first part, deeper info in the second part, and a summation in the third part. We’re looking at 3-4 paragraphs here. Don’t forget to write in 3rd person.

Paragraph 1 – A broad overview of the general theme of your work plus a quick mention of your achievements/credits if any.

Paragraph 2 (optional) – Write about your influences and what they contribute to your work. You may want to make a list of 6-8 influences to get warmed up.  Then just pick out the 2 or 3 that most strongly resonate with your current work. This paragraph is optional. While picking through your influences will help you find your themes, you still may not want to put them into your bio. Totally up to you.

Paragraph 3 – Write about your current work This is where you dig into those insights and give them 3 or 4 bite-sized insights that reinforce the themes you presented at the beginning. This can be split into two paragraphs if it gets too long. Or you may be talking about two sides of an issue that can be split into separate paragraphs. You’re not trapped in your themes here. Make the story cohesive and then let it evolve over time.

Paragraph 4 – This is the roundup portion and your last chance at pulling that reader in. A quick summary of the themes and how they apply to your overall vision of your work.

Continue to Enhance Your Biography as You Evolve

When you write your artist biography you want it to be the best expression of your career, but don’t forget that your career is continually developing. Make sure your artist biography progresses with you. Add in and switch out professional achievements as your success and knowledge grows. You might even need to rewrite it one or more times. This means you are evolving and maturing as an artist.

Once you’ve written your artist bio, post it in comments below along with an image of a tapestry and we will use your image on this blog.

Sarah Warren, "Thunderbird" (2016), 46" x 26"

Sarah Warren, “Thunderbird” (2016), 46″ x 26″

Sample Artist Bios

John Chamberlain

John Chamberlain is best known for his twisting sculptures made from scrap metal and banged up, discarded automobile parts and other industrial detritus. “My work has nothing to do with car wrecks,“ he has said. “I believe common materials are the best materials.” With its emphasis on paint finishes and the raw materials’ lines and seams, his work has been described as a kind of three-dimensional abstract expressionist painting. While his breakthrough work dates from the 1960s, most recently he has worked with large-scale photography

Carol Rama

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.

Christopher Williams

The often-opaque themes in Christopher Williams’s works have in common the artist’s fascination with obsolescence and the relationship between photographs and the objects they document. Known for his high-gloss, crisply focused photographs, reminiscent of the commercial photography of a bygone era, Williams’s subjects range from stacked Ritter Sport chocolate bars to old cameras that have outlived their usefulness. Williams ironically references the practice of retouching in advertising by highlighting the small but conspicuous imperfections in his own subjects or, as in the case of Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide, © 1968 Eastman Kodak Company, 1968 (Corn) (2003), trying to ‘sell’ a food item that is clearly made out of plastic. Former Editor-in-Chief of Artforum Tim Griffin described Williams’s approach as “sociophotographic,” meaning that the work explores underlying codes within photography, advertising, and ethnography.

Tal R

Tal R uses the word kolbojnik, meaning “leftovers” in Hebrew, to describe his practice of sourcing and collecting a wide range of imagery, figurative and abstract, from high and low culture. Like work by Donald Baechler, Maira Kalman, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tal R’s paintings, with their bold brushstrokes, colorful patterns, and exuberantly painted imagery, give the false impression of childlike simplicity. Interested in creation myths and darker themes, Tal R always conveys a sense of joy and generosity of spirit.

Chris Schanck

Beryl Denton, 'Family Favourites' detail

Beryl Denton, ‘Family Favourites’ detail

Furniture designer Chris Schanck is interested in materials and design processes that are not traditionally associated with luxury, mass-production, and standards of perfection. “If we accept the idea that [an object] doesn’t have to be reproducible and doesn’t have to mimic a commercial form, or process, then what are the limits of that?” Schanck asks. Among his best-known pieces are those that comprise his “ALUfoil” series, in which industrial or discarded materials are covered in aluminum foil, painted, and then sealed with resin. The final pieces are both durable and light. His methods characteristically involve both marginalized techniques as well as the help of marginalized members of his Detroit community. Schanck has a background in commercial model-making, and has produced commissioned works for Tom Ford.

Sample of LONG Bio:

Amy Barkow was born in Great Falls, Montana. After completing her MFA from Hunter College in 2002, she had her first solo exhibition at New Jersey City University. She has worked in New York City as an architectural photographer since 2000, an occupation that has influenced her photography and sculpture.

Her work has been exhibited worldwide. She has received support from the Santa Fe Art Institute, Times Square Business Improvement District/Times Square Alliance, The Artists’ Museum in Lodz, American Institute of Architects and the Golden Seed International Art Residency, Mt. Abu India. She has been a visiting critic at SUNY New Paltz, New Jersey City University, and the Montana State University School of Architecture, and worked as an art educator for the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

She is presently completing a series of photographs combining portraits with commercial logos for Branded and on Display, a traveling group exhibition opening at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives and works in New York City.

Sample of SHORT Bio:

Amy Barkow was born in Great Falls, Montana. Her work as an architectural photographer influences her photography and sculpture. She has exhibited her work worldwide, and has received support from the Santa Fe Art Institute, Times Square Business Improvement District/Times Square Alliance, American Institute of Architects, among other institutions. Her work is visible at www.barkowphoto.com.

Sources:

Artsy 
Arts Partner
Art Work Archive
Stencil Art Prize

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