Artist Entrepreneur: B: Bio and Blog — The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art

B for Business

Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we talk about the fun, wild and scary ride of succeeding as an artist entrepreneur of all stripes and types and mediums.

Welcome back guest columnist, Aletta de Wal. She specializes in helping fine artists succeed in their careers. She’s posting regularly on “The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art” and other success tips for fine artists around writing. Enjoy! And let us know if you have a particular topic you’d like Aletta to address. Thanks!

PS. As a writer I’m inspired by visual and love seeing the similarities between writing as a business and visual art as a business.


With homage to Big Bird on Sesame Street, the letter “B” brings this post to you, for Bio and Blog.

If you think of marketing your art as the ultimate and actual reality show, your art is the star and you are the spokesperson.

To boost your ratings and viewer numbers, you need a Bio and a Blog.

Your Bio is a narrative version of your resume.

Your resume lists your career accomplishments – your history as an artist. Your biography is a narrative version of your resume.

Your bio contains some of the hard facts about your career, including:

~ education and studies

~ exhibitions and awards

~ academic teaching and workshops

~ residencies you have attended

~ special awards you have received.

You don’t include everything you’ve ever done in each bio. You select certain information to suit the  purpose of your bio and who will be reading it. One artist I know entered 60 juried shows in 5 years so that she could earn signature membership in the American Watercolor Society. When she submitted her bio to the Society for review, she indicated all the awards and mentions she had won. ( She was accepted!)

A good biography is a great multi-purpose tool. You can use it:

~ in the body of a letter

~ as text in a press release

~ in a press packet

~ in a grant application

~ as a handout for your collectors during studio visits and art shows.

An artist’s biography is written in the third person, as if someone is talking about you.  A resume is done in point form; your bio is done in sentences and paragraphs. Keep it to one page or less to keep your reader’s attention. I recently saw an artist’s biography in which the artist used a teeny-tiny type size so that she could cover every minute detail about her career. I stopped reading it after several sentences!

Juried and invitational shows often ask you to create a “show statement”– a blend of your biography and an artist’s statement. Make sure to highlight the body of work that you are showing. In this case, use a large, clear font so people can read it from at least 18 inches away from where you post it.

Your Blog Shares Your Backstory

I see a lot of artists’ Blogs where the entry consists only of an image of a piece of art and the title. You wouldn’t think of just exhibiting one piece, so why do so in your Blog? Think about your Blog as the backstory to your Artist Statement and your Bio. Art viewers are curious about the artist’s lifestyle. Your Blog is where your audience gets to learn more details about you – what happens in your head, your heart and your hands when you are thinking about and working on your art.

From the irreverent cartoonist Hugh McLeod:

“… Most people are not reading your blog because they have an inherent love for purple dogs and green sofas. They’re reading your blog because THE PERSON YOU ARE inspires them. They’re not reading your blog because they’re thinking of buying your paintings, they’re reading your blog because the way you approach your work inspires them. It sets an example for them. It stands for something that resonates with them. IT LEADS THEM TO SOMEWHERE THAT THEY ALSO WANT TO GO. …  That’s the REAL job of the artist: To be a leader, not to fill the space with pretty “stuff.”

What Hugh calls the “pretty stuff” may be there to grace your words or in your Blog banner, but the main place for it is on your web site. Make sure to include links to your gallery of images. Your website is your “virtual store” so it’s fair game and useful to have stories about individual pieces of your art there as well.  Your stories help your viewers get more connected to you and help them remember your work.

For artists who teach how to make art, a Blog is also an opportunity to showcase what they do and how they teach it. In this case, the “pretty stuff” is front and center and becomes part of the backstory to your workshops or private lessons. You can do a series if still images, a slideshow or a video to make your words come alive.

I’m sure Beth can help you with the words!

Next time, the letter “C” for Cover Letters.


Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training

Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training
Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

More information at:

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  • Alica says:

    I have a bio- it’s in third person, but small. I don’t have all of those elements, guess I’ll have to drag it back to the editing board.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Good idea, Alica!

    Aletta, Thanks for your blog post. Informative as ever! I look forward to the letter C!


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