Published on Monday 16 November 2020

Creatives Toolbox: How to write an Artist CV

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Having an up to date Artist CV is crucial when applying for residencies, exhibitions or other professional opportunities such as grants, award or commissions. It is a living document of your artistic training, exhibition history and significant career achievements.

So what exactly should you include in your artist CV? Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how, there is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover.

Before you begin to write your Artist CV, it’s important to do an inventory of your background, accomplishments, goals and objectives. Keep in the forefront of your thinking, for whom you are writing the CV for. This will help keep your writing concise, focused and appropriate to your audience. The artist CV should be short, no longer than one A4 page and be laid out to make reading easy and fast. Be sure to divide the text into paragraphs and choose a clear font.

Here is how to write an artist CV in 10 simple steps;

1. Contact Information

At the header of any CV should be your contact information. Include your name (this should stand out), email, website (if applicable) and phone number. The inclusion of personal information such as place and date of birth is optional.

2. Artist Statement

Your artist statement is a brief introduction to your work. Consider this an opportunity to help your audience connect with you and your art. You may wish to share the inspiration behind your work, your artistic style and vision or what inspires you. Keep it brief, it should be no more than 100 - 150 words.

3. Education

List any educational or professional development achievements directly related to your arts training and practice. If you’re self-taught you may like to include casual art classes or workshops you have attended. Be sure to list these in descending order with the most recent being at the top.

4. Exhibitions

List your accomplishments and major works as an artist. Always list these in descending order by year with the most recent being at the top. List the title of the exhibit/production (in italics) followed by name and location of the venue. Exhibitions can be grouped by category for example solo exhibitions, group exhibitions or curated projects. If your work has been in more than 10 to 15 exhibitions, list the most impressive ones only. If you have minimal exhibition history you may wish to include any future exhibitions that you have lined up. These can be listed as forthcoming exhibitions.

5. Experience

Include any work that is directly related to your art practice such as artist-in-residence, artist-in-schools, art teacher, art consultancy, community artist, etc. If you don’t have any experience, leave this section out.

6. Grants and Awards

List any awards or prizes won in competitions as well as grants and other recognitions. These should be listed by year (from latest to earliest) followed by the name of the award/grant and the name of the awarding organisation.

7. Collections

If relevant, this is where you will list any public galleries or private collections holding your work. These are best listed by importance from most significant to lesser significance. Include information such as title of the piece, name of the gallery/organisation, the location and the acquisition date.

8. Publications

Include here any online or printed publications your work has featured in by listing the publications name, title of the article and the date of publication. You may wish to also include hyperlinks to any online publications or reviews if relevant. If you haven’t received any, just leave this section out.

9. Commissions

If applicable, list any public or private commission you have done by year (from latest to earliest). Be sure to include the name of the commission and the commissioning body.

10. Relevant memberships

Here is where you list any memberships you may have to major art groups or associations. These are best listed in order of importance.

One of the best ways to start writing your CV is to see how other artists do it. Visit other artists’ exhibitions and collect examples of artist CVs to assist in preparing your own. The more you research, the better equipped you will be to make your CV stand out.

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