Skip to main content

Writing a CV or a Bio

Lesson 24 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

24. Writing a CV or a Bio

Lesson Info

Writing a CV or a Bio

So artist bio sometimes I've found that this is called a descriptive cb descriptive cv means it's a paragraph of your cv which is ok whatever it's an artist bio so um I think that's what I've done so let's hope I've done it right right? No one's told me I didn't um okay so here's my bio on the left it's usually what I've seen is a couple of paragraphs is fine you don't need to tell him your whole childhood history or anything they're really just wanting to know what you've done in the art world so not not anything unless something in your past is really significant so why you make work or something like that but basically on the left on the right it should you know the bullet points you want to hit? What kind of art do you make uh a short description of the work that you make your education if you have any meth a put that in there if you have a b f a put that in there even if it's not an art put it in there education helps highlight of your career and just three or four just put a few ...

in their current or recent work so that people want to know what you're either working on or what you've just finished uh what gallery's not that which galleries but if you are represented and mentioned that you have calorie representation list are just note that you've got exhibition history. So, um, and I think it says in mind, yeah has been part of more than thirty exhibitions, and they need to update this butt and in special skills, if there's something unique about you that is unique to your process, for instance, like heidi, who does a little the alternative process and the tins and things like that, she might mention something about that that really unique thing that she does only because someone sees the work, they may not always recall her name, but it is something in the bio that that kind of clues you in to this sort of work, people, oh, that's, that girl, that that's that doesn't forgery on her photographs or something like that. So you know, those things that make you really unique, tio ok, any questions on kind of what to include an artist, bio feeling good way have two questions that have come in from a little bit earlier. Sandy wants to know, is there any issue with multiple submissions being somehow competitive? In other words, would there be a problem submitting the same work to numerous outlets? No competition simultaneous now do it, okay, no, in fact, I mean, after a year or two, if you're submitting the same work, then people are like this person hasn't done anything they went three years but know when your work has first been launched and for me that's still about a year later because I only make work every two or three it takes me two years to make something right so once that work is burst I submit to you everybody same work same portfolio same cover photo and so it's great actually if a gallerist or a publisher sees it several times like it's like hitting them over the head like when you're advertising that what do they say somebody needs to see something ten times or something before it sticks so the more time somebody sees it the better at the beginning again if you're submitting the same work three years later that could be a problem yeah that's a good question photo maker wants to know what do you need to know about contract language with the galleries how do you avoid them taking your art not paying you for a long period of time we're gonna talk about that actually specifically coming cool. Okay what the heck is a cb and what the heck is a resume what's the difference? I didn't know what a cvi was I had never heard of it when I started this whole thing and everybody was asking me for one of like what is that so I did my research and I figured it out hopefully this will help you skip that step of embarrassment, so see the full name and contact information at the top. Of course, the same way you would do in a resume this first is the first page of my cb so education first and then exhibition history, and I looked at you can go on people, artist websites, and often they'll have their cv right on their website. You can look at theirs and get some ideas. Everybody's got a slightly different categories based on their their own history, but uh, generally speaking, this is what I found everybody's got on there, that's important for people to see. So I always put my exhibition history kind of next the first page, because that's, what people are most interested in seeing is the work interesting? Is the work selling is is it being collected a kind of thing? So just a quick note, which we mentioned earlier, even if the gallery is small and not extremely well noted, or even if you've got one photograph in a group show, it adds to the exhibition history. So yes, it's going to cost the money the first couple of years that you're paying to put work into exhibitions, but the longer that list gets, the more likely a museum is, too, then purchase your work or a collector collectors want to buy work that is a collectible that is valuable so the longer that list is the better luck you're gonna have getting people to actually buy stuff the next page has museum collections at the top residencies residencies are a big thing that people are interested in seeing if you participated in we'll talk about him in a minute but it's kind of ah notoriety think and that again people are kind of interested in you as an artist and think you're doing something cool the residency program wanted you to come through their space and make something need so put that on there gallery representation I just lift my galleries there that represent me monographs that's the book if you have one list of that and then press so this is kind of selected I just put selected press because there's been a lot of you know stuff but the stuff that I think people might recognise I put on here and just list and you can look at the formatting here so for exhibitions I would put you know the name of exhibition uh the date and the location of that exhibition for selected press and things I'm just the major important stuff what body of work was it that they published who published it in what year was it published okay the last page I put lectures on there because I want to do lectures I want people to bring the end to the lectures it's another way to make some money so I like to do artist talks and stuff like that so I put it on there so people know I do that uh major awards and art related recognition so I mean I would I wouldn't just only put things that pertains very specifically to the art world our special events if you've been a part of something that's been notable put that in there to the cvi is really like your life story and text format it's everything that you've done that's important and it can be three or four five pages it's fine um and then the last thing I have is just kind of art related field experience so teaching I taught at boston university for a while I thought that you and him I still teach it you and here and there so that kind of thing so people know just but it's aren't related field experience so I wouldn't put anything that didn't have to do with the art field on there so again the cv the major difference is that cv is usually three or four pages long maybe two or three uh arrested anyone try to keep teo at max two pages so again resume one or two pages um bullet points things absolutely need to be in their education exhibitions and so if you're trying to keep it shorter and you've got a long exhibition history I would say just say um selected exhibitions the big ones museum collections that's it's. Super important, if if somebody collect your work, and I mean a lot of folks, we'll talk about this when we get into museums, but donate work to museums so they could be in the museum collection and put it on their resume. And I know it's cheating, but it it works so, yeah, it's, a big category. People want to know that museums want your work. That's, huge, uh, gallery representation, grants, president, sees monographs, press, and then maybe some are related field experience, if you think it's really important. But again, we're trying to keep that to two pages.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP


Bonus Materials with Purchase

Book Proposal Sample.pdf
Critical Mass - Digital Book.pdf
Curriculum Vitae Example.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 1.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 2.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

"Thinking about art is not making art." In this inspiring and informative workshop, Jennifer helps you put thought into action - through meaningful self-reflection, exploration and by taking her through her own processes. Through exercises and examples, she explains how to pull out a thread of an idea and develop it into a conceptual project that is informed and invigorated by personal experience, preference, interests, and so much more. Her workshop not only feeds the creative soul, but offers earnest information on taking first steps toward publishing and showing fine-art. Jen so beautifully shares her talent and her love of teaching - I first "met" her on Creative Live and have had the joy of being mentored by her in-person as well. This workshop is a very close second to spending time with her one-on-one. Thank you, CL, for bringing her back!

kalei harmon

I love Jennifer, she's one of my cL favorites! She is such a soulful photographer and her art just resonates with me in so many ways. While she was creating her conceptual piece with the mother and child, my eyes welled up because it was such a profound experience to witness. I appreciate that she has a graduate degree in art and is able to refer to others in the field who are leading the way. She is so genuine and I'm grateful for her willingness to bare her soul to us through her art and process. I've learned so much by watching how she interacts with models and communicates efficiently and gently to get AMAZING poses. Definitely worth the buy if you're looking for inspiration from an artist who creates images which evoke emotion and communicate a message, not just trying to make "great photos." I can't wait to learn about the business side of it all!


I am so grateful for this class; it is just what I have been looking for to help me go beyond my "photographic potty training". By leading us through her own creative process, Jennifer Thoreson invites us to think about why we do what we do and to make our work more meaningful and authentic, creating our unique visual vocabulary. Moreover, she provides detailed info on submitting work to galleries and publications, contests, printing editions, preparing an exhibition and pricing. In her calm, unpretentious manner, Jennifer demystified art without trivializing it and I finally saw light at the end of a rather long tunnel.

Student Work