Tips on Writing a Bio
• Your ‘bio’ is a short biography that tells-who you are and what you do. It is basically your
resume in paragraph form. Your bio will also give a little bit of history and background as
relevant: where you are from, what your education and/or training has been, where your work
has been presented, and what awards and honors you have received.
• A bio will usually be necessary in any publication, print or online, that accompanies your
work. Bios appear on artists’ websites, in artists’ catalogues for exhibitions, in programs for
performances, and in press packets.
• Write in the third person; you will refer to yourself by your full name. Rather than speaking
as ‘I’ you will write about yourself as he or she.
• Bios should be short, less than a page, but you will probably need more than one: a very short one — 2 or 3 sentences, and a longer one – 1 or 2 paragraphs.
• You may need different bios for different professional activities. A choreographer who
teaches dance in public schools and plays drums in a rock band might need three different
bios. Each will mention something about your other profession!
• You will need to revise and update your bio once or twice a year!
Sample of LONG Bio:
Amy Barkow was born in Great Falls, Montana. After completing her MFA from Hunter College in 2002, she had her first solo exhibition at New Jersey City University. She has worked in New York City as an architectural photographer since 2000, an occupation that has influenced her photography and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited worldwide. She has received support from the Santa Fe Art Institute, Times Square Business Improvement District/Times Square Alliance, The Artists’ Museum in Lodz, American Institute of Architects and the Golden Seed International Art Residency, Mt. Abu India. She has been a visiting critic at SUNY New Paltz, New Jersey City University, and the Montana State University School of Architecture, and worked as an art educator for the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
She is presently completing a series of photographs combining portraits with commercial logos for Branded and on Display, a traveling group exhibition opening at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives and works in New York City.
Sample of SHORT Bio:
Amy Barkow was born in Great Falls, Montana. Her work as an architectural photographer influences her photography and sculpture. She has exhibited her work worldwide, and has received support from the Santa Fe Art Institute, Times Square Business Improvement District/Times Square Alliance, American Institute of Architects, among other institutions. Her work is visible at www.barkowphoto.com.
WORKSHEET to get you started writing a Bio:
Place/Country Of Origin:
Training/Schooling (including informal training from apprenticeship, family instruction or selftaught):
Other Experiences That Led You To Your Current Profession (Was there A moment when you
discovered or realized you were an artist?):
Place of Residence:
what is an artist bio?
An artist bio is a summarized, narrative version of your resume, but shorter and with more personality. Bios are used in your professional package, as part of a catalogue at an exhibition, in publicity and printed programs, and other promotional materials. Your artist biography should integrate portions of your resume and artist statement. In general, bios are more factual about you as an artist, whereas statements are more about the ideas, concepts and techniques behind your work.
sample of an artist bio:
Lu Zhang was born in Chongqing, China in 1983. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004. Zhang has exhibited in the US and abroad including shows at C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, Randall Scott Gallery in Washington DC, and The Center for Art and Culture in France. Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun and featured in New American Paintings Magazine and Washington Spaces Magazine. In 2010, Zhang received a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council for works on paper. Lu Zhang lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.
how to put it together
- Quality over quantity- keep your bio to one or two paragraphs (especially for a young artist)
- Write about yourself in third person
- Include place of birth, education, and where you currently reside
- You may want to include information on your spouse and children (if any)
- Also make sure to visit galleries/museums and collect your own examples
- Consider creating a shortened version that can be easily sent to galleries, reporters, collectors, and audiences
further resources & examples:
New American Paintings- copies available in the Career Development Office
Battenfield, Jackie. The Artist’s Guide. Philadelphia: De Capo Press, 2009.
Bhandari, Heather Darcy and Jonathan Melber. Art/Work. New York: Free Press, 2009.
*Make sure to share what you have written with your faculty and peers to get feedback.*
*Remember that this is a living document that will continually change with your and your work as it develops*
joseph meyerhoff center for career development
Maryland Institute College Of Art – Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development
410-225-2420 – f 410-225-2528 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.mica.edu/careerdevelopment – www.MICAnetwork.com