Artist Resume (and artist statements)

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by winger, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I've recently been asked to submit either an artist resume or statement for a show. I've seen some pretty, um, interesting artist statements and I think I might be able to write something that doesn't sound too inane, hokey, or whatever (though I doubt anyone really wants to read them). But how do you write a resume? I found this - http://www.collegeart.org/guidelines/resume - but it assumes you've gone to school for art. If you have a degree in something else, should you still put it on it? What about classes you took at museum schools (fairly small ones) with maybe 5 different instructors over the years and you can't remember all of them? If you took photo I and II back in undergrad (cough, 25 years ago cough cough) and it was with a "known" photographer, should you put that even as long ago as it was?
    My forensics-related resume basically only has been used to give lawyers an idea of my experience before I testified and it was pretty easy to write. It has the facts, just the facts. Every class the MSP sent me to and what my job duties were. Format has changed over the years, but that's about it.
    So how different is an artist resume?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Let me just tell you that these artists statements are still uncommon over here. You seem selfassured enough to skip something you quite not see what to begin with and what use you doubt.
     
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  3. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Bethe- If you've already been invited to show, don't bother with the resume. Just write up a nice statement instead. If you've shown before, add a"Selected Exhibitions" list at the bottom of your statement.
     
  4. batwister

    batwister Member

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    If you look at any artist resume, they will only ever include these sections: education (in art), groups shows, solo shows, galleries who have collected their work, and published work. This seems to be the 'standard'.

    Just a couple of examples from minor photographic artists:

    http://www.sallygall.com/html/SALLY GALL FINAL RESUME 2010.pdf
    http://www.paul-kenny.co.uk/info.html

    If this is one of your first shows, you obviously don't need one.

    For your statement, try this - http://www.artybollocks.com/
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    My two cents...just write a 'statement'. Put everything you can think of in it -- your situation, experiences, why you do what you do, what you like people to get from your work...everything. Don't worry about length nor grammar, etc.

    Then start eliminating stuff...distill it down to what you want to say and to what people will actually take the time to read (perhaps 2 or 3 paragraphs of 2 to 4 sentences each).

    I spend a lot of time on mine...some approach poetry. But no one has every commented to me about any of my statements. I write them for me, now. It is a good exercise.

    Vaughn
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    If you like, we could write one for you...

    Bethe explores the world as if she is looking through the eyes of a hundred years' worth of photographers, taking the best of their traditions and adapting them to classic and personal images...
     
  7. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

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  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    LOL - thanks!
    I think I will write a statement - though I'm not sure what relation, if any, it will have to the pieces that got accepted into this show. At least this show gives me something to put on a resume if I ever need one.
    Vaughn - I'll likely do it that way - thanks!
     
  9. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Bethe, I think you got some good advice: go with the statement, since you have a choice. Just write some from-the-heart thoughts about why you made the photographs that you did. And write in the first person.
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Make an Artist Statement wordy, philosophically complex and arty - in other words, more or less incomprehensible nonsense but impressive looking. You might sell more stuff that way. Marketing is everything.
     
  11. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Below is the statement from my last local show. It was a two person show with a good friend and the title (which was the title of the show) comes from some words on a wall of one of his photographs. The statement appeared below the image shown here...matted and framed. Just thought I would share something that might not be one's average artist statement...again, written as myself as the primary audience, just like I take my photographs as myself as the primary audience:

    Area of Temporary Refuge

    A place to return, a place to set forth
    A place to renew, a place to gather strength
    A place to center

    It is this place that allows measurement of extremes

    From this ground I look up and know heights
    From this place of simplicity I come to grips with complexities
    From this center I explore the world of shadow and light

    A refuge from which to embark on a simple quest
    A quest to understand the qualities and forms of light
    A journey to explore the limits of my understanding and my ability to see

    Vaughn Hutchins
    Eureka, 2011

    The print:

    My boys at the North Jetty, Humboldt Bay -- they are on an old boiler of a wreaked ship.
    Two Diana camera negatives (Tech Pan), carbon print
     

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  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    If a artist statement is not already weird it becomes so by writing in third person.
     
  13. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    That is so true.:D
     
  14. karl

    karl Member

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    Beautifully written Vaughn.
     
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Vaughn's got a good one!

    I'd enjoy statements like that at a show, I'd enjoy any statement that gives me an idea of what the show is about or who the artist is, or just gives food for thought that is compatible or enhances the show.
     
  16. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Thanks. It was a lot of work, and one's statement should take as much consideration as one's prints. If I were to rewrite it, these two years later, I would just change one word...but maybe not. In the third to the last line, I might leave out the word "simple" -- tho it is tempting to replace it with "quixotic", LOL!

    After all, if one is to go tilting at windmills, then one might as well be using a big camera!
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Try not to use the words line and form.


    Steve.
     
  18. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I like yours, Vaughn!
    I started mine last night - it's not as poetic, but it does avoid the use of line and form. It isn't shallow and pedantic either (house joke). Thanks for the help!
     
  19. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I'll be the contrarian, at least with respect to the resume, given that it appears you don't have "typical" artist training. I love reading how people come to their photography from other fields, especially when those fields seem opposite to right brain thinking. Maybe it just makes me think I could do it too. Most of all, I like hearing how other incorporate their social/technical/whatever background into their photography (although that veers into the artist statement).

    I'd keep it short and sweet and not use the usual resume format. Just a paragraph that describes your background (including education) and how you got to the point of hanging your prints on that gallery's wall.

    So, for example, if those classes with known photographers encourage you to pursue photography aggressively they should be highlighted. If not, they might be just mentioned.
     
  20. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Bethe

    An artist statement, bio and current photo is very important for artists wanting to exhibit their work, You will be asked each time to provide this info no matter what gallery you choose or chooses you.

    I found it very difficult to talk about my work , so I basically wrote out a very rough idea of what my work is about, plus I made a portfolio of prints and gave both to a competent writer, who then interviewed me and my wife and prepared the two documents, which are much better than anything I could imagine writing.
    I feel competent making images and print, but defer to an expert to write about my work.

    I have found that every gallery I approach wants to see three things, Bio, Artist Statement, and web selection with descriptions and basic pricing of work.
    They will not consider accepting printed portfolios until they have seen these basic things. I was pissed with this as I feel the web images do not represent the final quality that the
    portfolio prints represent , but I have learned to get over that.
    Most gallery's have strict rules on submitting work therefore having a good (artist package) prepared in advance is important.

    Bob
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I agree, shallow and pedantic.


    Steve.
     
  22. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Aw, nuts! There goes half my statement. :whistling:

    This is a good thread so far, with nobody yet saying to tell the gallery to shove it. Statements and Bios are a necessary evil. If you can get by without them, then good for you, but for most of us mortals, we need the papers to get past the door. I have actually been invited to submit a show to a gallery in a nearby town - they approached me, but the first thing they wanted to see was an artists's statement. Fortunately the gallery manager was quite helpful in suggesting their own preferences as regards that kind of thing.

    Just a couple of notes as regards first/third-person.

    A "statement" tends to work best in first-person, though I have seen some interesting examples in third-person. You are making your statement so say it in your voice.

    A bio works better in third-person. Write it as though the gallery itself was writing it about you.

    A resume does not necessarily require a voice at all, and can be a bulleted (and dated) list of accomplishments, publications, shows, etc.

    Be prepared, however to re-address any of the above at the whim of the gallery. If they want you to name your favourite colour, throw it in there...

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  23. fatso

    fatso Member

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    Bob gave you some good advice. Galleries are interested in an artist's vision and most won't even look at your work without an artist's statement.

    A statement doesn't need to be much longer that a few short paragraphs. Google some of your favorite artists if you need some inspiration.

    This article sums up pretty well what an artist statement should be :

    http://www.artbusiness.com/artstate.html


    Paul


     
  24. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Well, of course, it's black and/or white. :smile:

    Thanks all! This is for a juried show that I got a couple of images into. Of course, they're mordan├žage ones and not the landscapes I've done more and which are easier to write about. But I can tie in my chemistry stuff with them fairly well, too, so I think I have something almost ready to send them.
    Thanks all! Nice thread that I hope helps others with this, too.
     
  25. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Paul, that's a great link (post #25) - thanks!