Crafting Your CV, Statement, Biog, & Portfolio
I want to talk about your paragraph bio, which is different from your cv tells a lot about you, but what is a paragraph bio and why is important it's what you read about us? Yeah, way says, and I'm carries very long paragraph by yes, well, again, you have multiple west, right? You have, like, the really long one that list everything that you've ever done in your life, like I learned to ride a tricycle when I was to you, but then you have the short version, so I always talk about having, like, a like two hundred word version and the five hundred word version and like a seven hundred fifty words, first and least sent me her long version, and I edited it down. Yeah, andi, I could've edited down more I just chose teo, I just sent it turns to do it your way, but I would just think of it as a story, though too, because it's a narrative and there's a way in which to start and then and and all of those things are important. So you're hoping that someone will will find that engaging, engaging e...
nough to read all the way through. So in terms of think about the way in which you ordered the information and I always say if you're comfortable, like if you're one of those like talk about some personal tidbit about you that's interesting like I asked and talk about my pets because I have a lot of them and they're really weird pet five to three legged cats so I talk about them because I feel like it gives somebody like I'm a human then I'm not just this artist or whatever right? I have another side to my personality I also took it out because I really wanted to talk more about your credentials but right lisa has a whole section in her bio about the focus of her work, what her work is about and if it really condemn itt's only a two or three sentences and in her artist's statement you know or whatever she might expand on it for a particular show our body of work but you get an idea that you know, she folks start work on a particular subject matter yeah, so I think I always say if you can incorporate one or two sentences from your statement that are sort of encapsulate what you do put that in your bio and kerry has a line in hers too about, you know, you know, she creates paintings and sculptures around life forms in nature and relationship to the natural world I mean, that's just one sentence for work is about way more than that, but you know, we don't want to give people too much either know what you want to give them a taste and I know carrie's work and so I know that makes perfect sense yes I also think depending on where you were raised I have often included that I was raised in detroit it's still a city that even though it's troubled gone through so much it's near and dear to me and a lot of people it's in it's in the news a lot so it's it's important to me and it's away and for what which I can give detroit a little like you know, thumbs up I felt that way about japan where you've come from right right um include that because people know something then oh she's from detroit interesting um for whatever reason so the main thing is you're going to write this in the third person, which is really weird you're going to talk about yourself like you're somebody else and that's the part that I think people have the most trouble with and that's the part you have to get over just get over it like yes, you're going to say she you're going to say you and actually I found that in the end that might even be easier because it removes you from statements and I think I find that it's actually harder to talk about my accomplishments when I'm saying I have done this as opposed to lisa has done this you might actually in the end, find it it's a little awkward at first, but you might might find it easier to talk about your accomplishments when you're talking about yourself as if you were somebody else. And for those of you that have a really hard time, right, it is, I statements, and then switch it over, right? Just make sure you switch them all when you don't leave that one eye and function, I'll get any questions about your paragraph bio? Yeah, you need a mike? Hi, I'm melanie, is this something that people download from my website or do I have it on the website as content? Some people put this on their website. Some people do not it's a really personal thing. This is basically because what you'll find is people are lazy and they're not going to write this for you, so you may like or it's too hard for them to compile all this information, right? Lisa is working really hard, getting all these slides ready for you guys. She's like simon your bio, because I want to introduce you. Okay, here it is. So it's already written for somebody and it's all together, and you've chosen what you feel like it's important in the make an edit it again, and it is great to have on hand when not only when you're applying to be part of a show or when you have been asked to be part of a show and they need it for the catalogue or their website but also when press comes calling sometimes on dh there's no time for an interview and they want to write something about you they'll use it so it serves many purposes as does your cv so those whether you post them on your web site as links is up to you I'm but having having them ready or letting people know that they're available upon request is also great yeah you should just have them because you're going to get asked for these at one point and again like I have but really long version the really short version I have one that's more geared towards teaching so if I do a workshop by some that one along like look I'm qualified to be a teacher so you just think about what they're four and you know have them ready for that but I feel like it's better to just have them like waiting in the wings than not have them because I would post it on the web I mean if you have a website and there is a link for about the artist versus statement which is different that's a part of your story I mean so it paints a portrait so if someone's like I think lisa's point is good about press if someone's trying to finish up an article you've got that little piece yeah nice little paragraph bacon and their article done yeah and they don't like it everything yeah my question is more about tone like I definitely have the small lengths but I also have some that are I mean I say less formal more formal but really like more fun less fun andi I'm just wondering in the fine art world is it sort of always better to err on the side of formula doesn't really depend on what it is I feel like that's another one of those things if your personality is fun then I like like when I read by house I want to get a sense of someone's personality so it doesn't bother me I don't know if I was sending one to like new york moma I would include the stuff about my three legged cats I might take that out but I don't know I might like depending on this it's really a case by case situation thing and you might find yourself revising you have a standard and then what I do is revise it for whatever show our audience I'm the show has to do with and I'm hearing again you should have one that's like the whole enchilada that's way too long I know ever you're in a long list of shows harry was talking about it and you can just pull the sentences out of that one like oh, I think this person is going to be more interested in this thing, so I'll put this in there and you know, so you have it already altogether any questions out there about bios? We have a question here, I guess this could kind of you related to bios or cvs, but this person wants to know how would you handle a lapsed art career? Ii was an exhibiting painter in the seventies and eighties, but I took some time off and now I'm just starting back up again, were you just there? I mean, put down what's there that's all you can do I mean, that's the story and I think if the work is there again, I'm as curator I'm not looking for whether there was a lapse or not. I'm looking for oh, this person is making superhero work and that's what I'm working on a great and even back to the cafe shows, I have to say, I walked into a cafe recently and there was someone there was some work there in a cafe and I took note of the name, so I think it really it's what isthe I don't I don't know what he's thinking the same thing I feel like you can always talk about that laughs in a cover letter or an e mail um or in your bio you khun say I was a painter for a really long time and then I decided to become a yogi master for ten years and then I'm back painting again and then the lapses covered right no one's gonna say oh well they went to pay yoki sister you it's not I don't really think it's that big of a deal I think people tend to be really nervous about that but I don't think people are paying that much attention sometimes when I look at tv that I'm really looking at the great I might be looking at places like I'm more interested in like how my connecting this person to place or location and rather than owt to this thank you okay um your artist's statement what is it and how is that different than a bio you know I got you go all right e I'll start by saying that um an artist statement is a description of what you do it's not a um a critique so don't take the role of the critic and tell us what to think about your work which is a mistake I see often not a mistake but it's a it's a it's a vehicle that people use and I don't think you need to just talk about what the work is why are you making it what are you making what does it mean to you? One of the conceptual ideas and um educate me about that work and why I should pay attention this is after I've looked at the work and I'm engaged and I think oh, this is great then I'm I'm looking right away for an artist statement to see what words are gonna back it up uh and so think about that in terms of of the words in relation to the work and are they a compliment, right? And they're usually artist statements around a body of war yes, he'll write and many of them really in your lifetime I mean, unless you're brice marden and you do the same thing and it's really great for forty years and you have to write another one but yeah, you're right many of them every time you change an idea teamed with thematic course will add or change your statement like that's just par for the course. I always say this is this is your chance to insert your voice to make sure that what you're doing is clear to whoever it is that because sometimes there are things that are really personal, that we've included in the work that may not be a parent at first glance but might actually be a really interesting once you know that fact that's what belongs in the statement that kind of information I always yell at my students so I'll yell at you sis do not use words like personal and colorful and unique because those don't really tell me anything and those apply to every other artists on the planet I really hope to god you're work is personal it's great if it's college role but what colors are they actually like colorful doesn't mean anything and again everyone is a delicate flower and unique in the world so telling me that unique that unique doesn't say anything it doesn't really say anything so the more specific you are with the language that you use in the artist statement the better off you are yeah, I hate when I read artist statements so they're just they're a little different you can be a little more general down your butt and informal in your bio you know, but artist statements yet they need to be really I would also say speak just in words of one syllable I mean one hundred dollar words and the art speak you know say that for the article or the interview if you want but the statement should be not more than I think three quarters of a page I don't know how you where you weigh in on this but short enough to read in a quick minute and clearly written clearly expressed have your friends read it read it out loud but not loud huge because you'll hear mistakes that you won't see read it out loud I can always tell when my students have not read their statements out aloud to themselves always and see how funny it sounds any questions out there about artist statements? Well, I think you just touched me and a lot of people who are curious about how formal they need to be and how much you know, how unique and how much personality goes into these statements we touched on that a little bit. I think it can it's what you're comfortable with, I think if you use one hundred dollar words in your daily speak like if you use the word peripatetic when you're talking to your friends, but all means included in your statement, if you don't, then don't hey don't go looking for words that are not really do you think we'll make it an unimpressive? It doesn't, it just makes you sound stupid or like, you don't know what you're talking about are and nobody wants that well. And, you know, I haven't read lisa statement in the recent past, but one thing I would say is go online and look at other artist statements. This is all right read someone places not necessarily hearst teaches this, but I mean, I start out in my statement with a very brief statement about what the work is and why I'm interested in that force of nature, and then I talk a little bit about what feeds it. Conceptually and the thing I don't get into that I've been asked before is tell me about your materials where using all that what you know is painting its installation it's mixed media and I I don't go there I don't know about you and you are very mixed media artist you I am about that I do just your materials are really important to you workers use a lot of thread in your work is about domesticity and things like that so materials have a conceptual meaning and anthem selves so I have to talk about them because if I ignore them then I'm going to get asked that and I don't want to get asked that so I put it there but if these air pieces and parts that are important I mean if if the medium itself itself is infused with meaning and it's connected to the conceptual idea talk about that that's good stop him yeah I would say I mean I tell my students to start by writing fifteen words that they feel like our adjectives that are related to the work and not unique and personal and colorful um all right next up I was going to say to that there is information on aren't writing artist statements in our tank as well so you can refer back to that also in the chapter on on exhibitions and fine art all right your portfolio finally we're getting to the visual stuff so so there's the portfolio on your website which we don't necessarily need to talk about what we're talking about here is when you're preparing to show your work to a gallery specifically what should go in that collection how should you organize it? I think you should think about a cohesive body of work that is the catchphrase cohesive body of work it's ten to twenty images they go together and there's a lot of room in the going together right? Like sometimes people say do they have to all be the same media? No sometimes that works right like ten to fifteen blue paintings yeah, they all go together or tend to food fifteen striped meaning yeah they all go together but it could be like your work is about toothbrushes and so you have an actual toothbrush and even paying of a toothbrush those can also go together so it doesn't it's not necessarily medias specific but it's about it's fitting together it's about it either conceptually or in the union reason yeah it's about them being in the same family it's really important that they're in the same family and again I would say that at first glance I mean think of it as like in the old days when you had a sheet of slides and you looked up at the slides which was often the case with gallery dealers and they were looking at these tiny little images was there a story there and there? Look there looking again for that story that will then match up with the statement. But how are those images? One after the next, talking to each other? What's the thread and I completely agree with lisa doesn't have to be they don't have to match, they don't, but they should be from a general body of work that you are sharing with someone that's understandable, it's like a language, so think of it as a zone alphabet one has a relationship to the next I think people sometimes say, oh, but, you know, their artists to go all over the place, and I want to go that's fine, but when you're trying to get your foot in the door and get somebody to understand you, right, you want to present like a of sort of very collected face, right? You don't wantto be schizophrenic in terms of like, I could do this, and I could do this that's great, and maybe someday that'll work out together and you'll be able to present all that together. But in terms of trying to present yourself, you want it to be very unified and cohesive body, and similarly, should your most recent work be or does it just depends on how you're organizing it to your most recent be sort of work be the sort of the last images that you share or I really think in terms of putting in order together you really want it you really want to concentrate on the order um so I always talk about the first image because you have to think that most of the time people are going to look at them and just like this or projected so they're either going to be on a really big screen are they gonna be projected and you've never seen your work projected please try and find a way to do it because it's not going to look the way you think um and projectors are green and rooms are blue and things change color and there's no way for you to anticipate all of that but it might help you do the best that you can when you're color correcting your images I gave an artist talk recently um at a gallery and we haven't done any set up and the colors were poor violently skewed and my work is really about color and and it was it was more defined actually yeah I want it I will never make that mistake once had a projector that was magenta and he's pretty much happened everything looked purple and I like if you know my work you know I don't really use purple it all it was it was horrible and it excited my work is not magenta but okay, we'll go with it. There were no other doctors available christian you had your hand up? Yeah, many mr christian davies I'm a painter and add a question going back to the idea of having a cohesive body of work and how that's represented what if you have more than one distinctive style and you're more than likely going to be sending a link to your website and you've got one body of work that's very completely different than another body of work there's a cohesion conceptually but visually there's not at all. How do you? How do you suggest I would recommend sending the visually cohesive body of work? Um so separately? Yes, because if someone's interested in you, they'll go to your website and we'll see all the other stuff and we'll read it and they'll get thatyou're conceptually cohesive and maybe not visually cohesive. But if they look at your stuff and they're completely confused, they're not going to go any further on dh. So what you want to do is is not confused them in the beginning and so I would pick especially because it sounds like you have enough I would pick ten to twenty images that you feel like go well together and that's how you're going to get them interested in you yes so that's the that's the siri's you're sending out but when they get to your website what I've seen quite a bit lately is artists are rather than separating things out by medium or by genre they'll separate it out by siri's so this is the detroit siri's or this is the you know, texting whatever like and so that's a good way to organize it and then whoever ultimately hits your website can either choose to do that exploring or not those are both great suggestions any other questions about about organizing your portfolio you know the only other thing I was going to add is I see this a lot with with jury chose where people don't understand how two size work and so if you're putting your cohesive body of work onto a cd make sure that we're not going to end up with a postage stamp image which I see a lot because well just don't get how to size it so size everything consistently or follow the instruction ooze your dimensions and resize the entire cd that you send to the same so that it's like a slideshow right at least make makes a good point always read the submission guidelines um or you know whatever instructions you've been given about how to submit your work and make sure you fall so the other please bodywork there's your first catch the second catch phrases follow direction if they tell you to like so good thing them adjust while standing on your head do it because sometimes people will say a hundred by six hundred and seventy two gp irs some people will say fourteen forty by seven sixty whatever it is they tell you to do that's what you're going to dio even if it seems wack a doodle to you because they have a reasoning for it so just do it. I think one last thing before we go in terms of portfolio and order so I always feel like the first images really important, especially if you're talking about multiple images because if they're projecting that's the one that's going to grab them, right? So the first thing they she is making a huge impression so you want that first image to be incredibly strong then I talk about making sure that you have a middle image that is also incredibly strong because if they're going through, they go through actually pretty fast if you're in a room if you've if you've never been in a jury situation it's it's fast because you're looking at a lot of work and you don't have a lot of time and so it's boom boom boom so that middle image is also important cause I feel like it's the hump image so they like the first one okay, we like we like we like, oh the middle and okay still good we like we like we like anyone your last image to also be really strong I feel like it's important to think about those is like book and so you want you want somebody to move and you wanted to again tell a story I think you're really smart when you say that you want there to be some sort of narrative through this series of images that makes sense, right? So it's not just willy nilly like hey, I like this one and I like this one too, and I mean maybe you don't want to put two orange paintings next to each other or back to back great you want to spread those out so really think consciously about how you're putting them together because it will change how people react here or all right making contact with a gallery or residency so resident gallery for, uh if you're interested in working with a gallery or residency if you're interested in applying for a residency. So research lisa, you talked earlier about the importance of research you really want to be thoughtful about where you're trying to make connections. So how do you get their way have the internet? Um I think one of the things the easiest ways to find galleries is to look for artists that you like and then find out what galleries they show that's like kind of the fastest most immediate way there's art net because anybody know about art net has like a civilian galleries and artist so if you're ever lou no start there it's too many it's like overwhelming there a million in oakland heart murmur san francisco gallery guide forty nine carrie there are lots of there are lots of with kind of conglomerate galleries together so you need to go out and look at them too. But online is an amazing resource people find bedford gallery from your experience carrie just as one example I'm sure social media because there's there's a lot of that word of mouth a lot of the shows that we do are large group shows so the skull show that was, um up this summer had almost one hundred artists from all over the world, but half of them were from the u s and so there's that word of mouth that synergy that happens and so I think it's it's it's probably a mix of things and then wait by ads and things of that sort. Um so why is researching the gallery so important? What if you make giant sculptures and the gallery only shows minimalist paintings that's not the right gallery for you? I think also there are various echelons it's in the art world and if you're at a certain point in your career going to a gallery that predominantly shows and cells blue chip art is not where you want to start and it'll just be discouraging for you and and that's the extreme but there are so many galleries and they're showing artists at various points in their career and it's important for you to understand that for you, for your self preservation for the time that you spend and then also for the relationship that you develop with thie art world at large because people will remember and so what you want to do is develop relationships I think you wantto if you can start attending some of the openings and interred l introduce yourself don't be shy on dh you know network a little bit yeah, I just involve yourself in the community which is sort of a strategy so get to know the galleries in your city or your your region by showing up and seeing what kind of work they show. What what? What do the cvs and bios of the people who are sharing their showing there? What do they look like? Um and you know, what's the feeling. Yeah, based on what kind of work do they tend to? So what are the people like? You work there? Have a conversation with, um e would even grab a buddy and go on up to portland and go to seattle, get out of dodge a little bit and go to williamsburg you know, explore what's going on in this in the country at large there are so many wonderful art communities and all of them have galleries or cafes or places that would be a great place to start, especially if you're an emerging artist and they also have the various levels of the echelons that that we were talking about earlier yeah, I have been doing this for a bit and I got into, you know, one of the the contradictions of the internet, but the fact that you have you have real stuff that unless you're on lee showing it digitally it's gotta get somewhere and come back and what I found is that for a while I was getting into things that were a long distance and then when I really looked at it, what was involved with shipping it and going there and then it's going to be there for a while, then where am I going to be? Do I have to go back and that I didn't decide it really wasn't worth it? And so I just thought, you know your comments about if you're fine artist, not somebody who is mainly going to be selling online, you know, how do you, um not how but just your comments on local brick and mortar versus moving out beyond that? Yeah, I think that, um it's a choice you can make you know, if you want to be their artists whose entire careers are around just showing their work in their local community, selling at local art fairs like their institutions, some people in their towns, on dh, they might travel regionally. But really, they are local artists, and their work is maybe even about the region, or references the region on dh that's. Fine. But it is also true that when you aspire, if you'd aspire to be a fine artist who shows internationally, or even just nationally it's really important, teo, you know, would be willing to ship your work and get you know, but that's a choice you have to make based on what your priorities are and and, you know, either is ok, I think it's smart to know that that's a whole other job. Yeah, right. You have to be aware that if you're going to be keeping track of stuff being shipped all over the place and scheduling like, okay, I need that piece back because it has to go over here like you either have to be okay with I like being your own studio manager. Or you have to be okay with hiring a studio manager so that they can take care of it for you, it's a whole other enterprise. Definitely, I also think you know you'll pick and choose I mean, if you're if you're in that many, whether they're juried shows or shows you're invited too if there's one in new york or the war in brooklyn or portland or whatever and you weigh whether it's important for you to be there? Yeah, you know, just to have face time with that gallery so that you could develop that relationship, those air, those of the choices they're important ones they're expensive ones, but they could be good once too in terms of getting into being invited to a group show or having a small solo show next it's about making that relationship right and studio visits are often an important part of that, especially if you're showing in a gallery that is local often that gallery owner some represented from the gallery will want to come and do a studio visit and saying yes to those is really important because it's it's this is how you build relationships. This is how you get to spend time with somebody who could potentially sell your work and explain what you're about um used her connections. I, um I was talking teo jessica silverman, who is a local gallery owner in san francisco for the book and one of the things that she said was, for example, if you've gone to art school, ask your professors if if there any connections they have that they might be able to hook you up with or too really use the people he will already know if you know any people help make those connections so can you talk about that a little bit? I think like anything else it's a lot about who you know and who you're connected teo and and it's just human nature you're more likely to do so something for somebody that you know for whatever whatever reason like that's how we work, right? Okay, great. Um I always tell students that the worst thing that can happen is somebody tells you know, so if you just prepared for that right I mean god mask, you never know the answer could be no, the answer could be yes. Right again, I think like being prepared and being polite, not stepping on someone's toes, not demanding things like don't use your connections as in hey, I know you know that person will you introduce me? Like, you know, but figuring out how to do it in a way that fits your personality and that makes sense like by all means, yeah, I added up here be professional um, what about, you know, showing up at a gallery with your portfolio? We hated that, so why don't we do that? Because nobody has the time it's just and we'll remember like I used to work in a gallery so when people would come with their portfolio would just be like because you're in the middle of writing a press release, their packing up work to go somewhere and will are also though it's you know what you want when someone looks at your work when they take the time is professional to see what you're doing, you want them to do it carefully? Hopefully, even if it's a quick look, you want them to really engage and if you show up unannounced there's no time and it's probably annoying, but mostly you you want your information tended to, and so the way to do that is to make sure it gets it gets to the desk that needs to be at, and that person has a chance to do it on their own time on their own clock without you darkening the doorway unannounced. This is what research comes in handy, too, because if you look at gallery sites, they'll tell you whether or not they're accepting submissions oftentimes point. So if they say no, don't even bother because the only way you're gonna get in then is if you know somebody somehow so if you have friends with an artist who's, so have that friend asked for you if you can submit something don't break the rule of we're not interested don't send don't bother they're not interested like believe them when they seen that and if you if you are attempting teo, show up a gallery openings and involve yourself in your community whether it's at an arts organization are at an actual you know gallery that you're interested in working with and you've done your research, you know and you and you have some balls you might even go up to the gallery owner and said really, you know hi, my name is lisa and I'd really like to show you my portfolio some time is that again? The worst thing that can happen is they can say no and that feels painful and scary sometimes, but taking the stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking these risks and really pay off sometimes but if you've been to a bunch of openings and you've had other conversations like if you are interested in the art that they're showing on the walls chief and you ask them some questions about it and then you know you might say, oh, that's something I'm researching too and they might say, oh, are you an artist? And you might say yes and then they might say, oh, way do a studio sometimes it can also happen really organically, right? You don't have to just think about it strategizing away to, like, get up lots of courage to go and ask somebody I mean, part of it is just showing up and meeting people and being willing to talk about what you're doing and how you're doing it. Anything online happening before we move on? You know, you may be getting to some of these questions, but linda kenny wants to know how do you feel about nonprofit co ops where the artist pays for wall space? And they say the point of the question is whether paying for gallery space negatively impacts one's chances of being being hung elsewhere when they're being reviewed. Any thoughts on that? I think they're fine, actually. I mean, I think there's there's one downtown in oakland if you haven't seen it, mercury twenty, I go in all the time. Um, I think it's a good way to start. I'm not sure it's where you want to stay, but if it also has great synergy and I think people have good relationships and a lot of fun and they cho curate shows together and I think it's it's, good energy and it's it's it's good for the neighborhood. I like the idea. I've never been involved with one, but at least I have you. I haven't, but I would say as long as you feel comfortable with the group on dh, I would say, as long as you feel comfortable with the price structure, I would never pay for anything that feels like really uncomfortable are out of control, like if someone is asking you for three thousand dollars to have a show and you have to take care of everything, I would think twice. But if it's like a co op situation where you like the people in the group and it makes sense, then by all means go for I mean, I think the nice thing about co ops is that when you, when it comes to hanging your show, you have a relationship with ten artists who might very well help you because you'll be helping them. And especially if you're an installation artist. So there are also there are ways to collaborate on press and collaborate on. I mean, there's just there's a whole level of things that you can collaborate on and worked together on. So I think it's a good idea.