Artist Portfolio Guidelines

Artist Portfolio Guidelines

An artist portfolio usually contains a resume, artist’s bio and an artist’s statement, along with images of your body of work. Include only your best work in the form of slides or color photocopies or jpegs on CD.

The Résumé
An artist resume includes the some or all of the following headings and should reflect the work of the artist in the field, not unrelated jobs and careers. 1. Exhibits in fine arts and/or fine crafts shows: Among these would be juried exhibitions, solo shows, national or regional invitational exhibitions, local exhibits in public art venues

2. Publications and artwork featured in nationally distributed magazines.

3. Artist Grants and Artist Residencies.

4. Corporate and Museum Collections, Art in Public places, Art in Embassies, Percent for Art Projects, Permanent Installations.

5. Fine Arts education or City and Guilds Certificates.

6. Judge, Juror, and Curator of National or Regional Shows.

7. Regional and National Teaching Venues.

8. Volunteer work in the art field.

The resume shall show evidence of work in one or more of the above categories over a period of at least 2 years. Most artists maintain a short, less than 2 page resume, as well as a complete resume of every show and award. The shorter version is the best one to send to most venues and should list the best exhibits award etc that apply.

Sample Artist Bio

An artist bio is written in third person (he or she) instead of first person (I) voice. Here is an example by Linda Colsh

An American residing in Everberg, Belgium, Linda Colsh draws on her wide-ranging experiences to create innovative designs. She has lived, traveled, lectured and taught in America, Asia and Europe. She exhibits in the US and internationally. A lifelong artist, Linda has two degrees in Art History. She worked as a technical writer before taking up quilt making in 1981. Her art has evolved from traditional to contemporary, but always reflects her unique personal style. To alter and create her own unique fabrics, she works with surface design media, such as dye, discharge, and printing including silkscreen, stamps and block printing.

Sample Artist Statement
The artist statement is written in first person (I) voice instead of third person (he or she) voice. Here is an example of an artist’s statement for a specific piece:

Laura Wasilowski says of her piece Birdhouses IV, “For me, art making is meditation. My mind drifts, my eyes gaze into space, and my hands work. Two hours later a birdhouse appears. This is the fourth in a series about avian architecture. Only birds indigenous to Elgin, Illinois inhabit these birdhouses”

Ask yourself these questions:
· Why did I make this particular piece?
· What personal experiences or opinions have inspired this piece?
· How is my voice unique?
· Have I brought a new perspective into focus in this work?
· What is important to me and how does my work reflect that?

Sometimes you will be asked to provide a statement about your overall work or a particular series.
For example for my new series I wrote the following paragraph
“This quilt is the beginning of a new series called “Handy Women”. This series looks at the roles women are expected to fill in modern life. These quilts depict, with tongue- in- cheek, the more practical side of Womanhood, where my earlier quilts have explored the spiritual side of Woman.”Ask yourself:
· How are these pieces similar to one another?
· How is this series different than my other work?
· Why do I explore these themes, colors, images etc?Writing an artist statement can make it easier for you to talk about your work as well. It gives you a chance to rediscover your inspirations and motivations. It can really help you at an artist’s reception or interview if you have memorized one or two sentences which you can fall back on if you falter while speaking about your work. But try to reach that inner voice whenever you speak or write about your work. Genuine emotions will reach your audience better than flashy words that mean nothing. You have invested countless hours creating the work. Spend some serious thought on conveying in words what you were seeking to create. Connect with the same inner voice you hear when you are making the work, and you won’t fail.The Images
The world of photography is changing daily. And so are the ways that publications, galleries and museums wish to have you submit images of your work. Some want slides, others want 4×5 transparencies, others insist on digital images on disc or submitted by email. Some places may prefer color copies of the images. The best way to discover the needs of the particular venue is to call ahead and ask how they want to receive submissions. Your portfolio will meet with more success if you call ahead and make an appointment to see the gallery director. During the call make a few inquiries about how exhibitions are selected, how far ahead they are booked, and when they review proposals. Ask if you can bring in an actual work to show the director or gallery owner.

Exhibitions are often booked up to 2 years ahead. Museum curators and gallery personnel are often very busy. If they can’t see you, ask if you can drop off your portfolio. If they do agree to meet with you, wear a smile, look professional and present your materials with pride. Often bringing in a few pieces of the actual work will get the director to take more interest in an exhibit. Make sure you follow up with a phone call later to find out their decision. GOOD LUCK and may all your exhibitions come true!

2 Responses to “Artist Portfolio Guidelines”

  1. Peter Says:

    You could also list the organizations that help you prepare your portfolio like this one

  2. Sharri Feela Says:

    Yay google is my king helped me to find this great site!

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