Artist Bio, Statement, and Interview: Branding For Artists Copy Remediation
It’s extremely challenging for any creator to talk about themselves and their work, particularly visual thinkers. Many details which are of interest to readers are too familiar to the artist to be considered noteworthy, and many of the “obligatory content” (studied X at place Y) tends to be filler, getting in the way of establishing a connection between reader and artist.
Striking the right balance between letting the work speak for itself, and giving the reader a “backstage pass” into the creative process, thus making them feel included and emotionally invested in a particular piece, takes patience and experience. It takes confident, deliberate copywriting.
This is ideally around 300 words, which is split evenly between some conventional “bio” content and core themes in the artist’s work. The “tombstone” information leaves the reader with nowhere to go – but talking about inspiration, influence, and creative trajectory is relatable, and inspires the reader to learn more. It must be as tight and evocative as a haiku, as disciplined in form as a sonnet. Bios are unforgiving in that with a very narrow channel of words, lightning has to strike.
There’s definitely a convention art-press format to this, and both the language and the rhythm need to conform to the expectations of gallery owners and collectors. This can stand on its own or flow seamlessly as an extension of the bio. It needs to be a full page, or just slightly over, and present the reader with a lens through which to view your catalogue, identifying vernaculars, themes, or palettes that connect piece to piece. It gives them confidence and familiarity with your work, and establishes connection.
This humanizes the artist with a five (on average) questions Q&A. It allows some room for play, for rambling, for vulnerabilities and asides that again deepen the connection with the reader. Here’s the chance to unpack your trajectory, your education, your embarassment, your anecdotes. It’s the opportunity for those most likely to purchase your work to feel that they’re investing in both a relationship and your career. By framing and editing this seemingly-spontaneous process, you put your best face forward as a creative professional.