a few pointers
- spell check: use it!
- Avoid using the passive tense when writing the documents. It is important to come across as self assured. Stick to present or past tense and pay attention to your consistency in using tenses!
- Avoid using “attempting”, “I hope to”, “I try to” etc. In the words of Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”If you seem uncertain, people will look for that in your work.
- Learn the difference between there, their and they’re, your and you’re and other tricky homonyms (words that sound the same but are spelled differently).
Don’tDo not use contractions when writing formal documents. These aren’tare not causal conversations. They’reThey are meant to be as clear as possible.
- A biography is the paragraph form of your resume. Stick to the facts and avoid making reference to what motivates you to make work. That is saved for the artist statement. You should of course identify your medium or process: “Caitlin Brown is a ceramic artist living and working in blah blah blah…” or “Caitlin Brown is a sculptor living in blah blah blah…”
- When you cite the name of a gallery, university or organization of which you have been a part, make sure you state the title exactly as that place uses it. If for example you are enrolled in or graduating from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, you must identify the entire name of the school. If you mention the place more than once in the document, and it has a REALLY long name like NYSCC does, you may use the abbreviation in the repetition of the place as long as you make reference to the abbreviation the first time you use the name: New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) at Alfred University. You may shorten that title if you list it more than once, but you MUST have the entire thing written down correctly the first time. For example, all the galleries on campus and the Cohen Center Gallery are a part of the School of Art & Design, which is in turn a part of New York State College of Ceramics which is located at Alfred University. If you list only Alfred University, it is in fact, completely incorrect. However, if you work in admissions or in the bookstore, it is simply Alfred University. It is important to distinguish between the two.
- Check your grammar, use spell check and have someone else read through your documents before you submit them anywhere. These things are critical. You might miss something even if you have read through it a 100 times. Just as it becomes difficult to see what you have made while you are making it in the studio, it is difficult to edit your own documents. Take a step back before you submit anything. Give yourself a night and look things over with fresh eyes before pushing send or publish.