I get a very good reaction from my Artist About Me page so I thought I’d analyze why it works. I compared my efforts to others and realized that I wrote my artist biography as a story. This is how to write an artist about me’ page without boring everyone to death.
An Artist About Me bio should be 150 words or less and written informally, in the 1st person. Craft your artist’s biography as a hero’s journey, starting with a dream, followed by your struggle, your epiphany, and ending with your triumph. Write in plain simple English, without artspeak or jargon.
That’s the summary and this post will guide you further. I’ll show you how to write an Artist Bio that people actually want to read.
Let’s get started.
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Writing an Artist Biography
The aim is to connect with your audience and make a good first impression. Your goal is to intrigue your reader. An effective artist bio should resonate and inspire your audience so much that they’re compelled to find out more.
Your ‘About Me’ bio acts like the trailer to a movie, it’s an advert that promises everything, and because it serves such an important role you should make an extra effort to craft your biography properly.
Your opening sentence is probably the hardest thing to get right. It has to grab the reader’s attention immediately or you’ll lose them before you have even begun. It doesn’t matter that you have a fascinating backstory, they won’t stick around to read it.
Put your efforts into the opening short paragraph. In fact, think in terms of short sentences. Forget what you learned in school and break your text up into a maximum of 3 lines. Blocks of text will deter readers.
If you are still sitting on the fence read this: Do Artists Need a Website? Yes – 11 Best Reasons Why
How to Construct an Artist Bio
This is how to write your ‘About Me’ page, or artist bio, in 4 easily understood steps:
1. Describe the Dream
It all starts with a dream. A fantasy of how great life could be. It might be something that triggered a love in childhood, a situation you wanted to get out of, or an inspirational person you wanted to emulate.
Think about what motivated you to start your journey. This is your vision that kick-started everything. Call it your mission if you like, it doesn’t really matter, it all amounts to the same thing. This is the moment or longing, that set you on your chosen path.
Think of Dorothy following the yellow brick road. That’s your storyline!
Don’t worry that in reality you were floundering and had no idea what you were doing. This is your journey in hindsight. No one cares for the naked ‘truth’, who wants to hear about your real-life story? This is a dream and you are selling the romance.
Sit down and write about the decisive moments in your life, those points, when you look back, that were pivotal. Think about why you decided to be an artist. Jot all your thoughts down. Some will be more salient than others.
Edit, edit, and edit. Say the most with the least amount of words. Remember this is not a real biography. No one wants to know the detail. Think about asking someone about their holiday. A few key points and a photo are enough right?
2. Begin your Journey
Now describe your early days. What were the first steps on your journey? What did you do to make your dreams a reality? Who did you meet, and where did you go?
This might be leaving high school, your first time in college, or the day after you graduated and faced the outside world. In my case, it was leaving a factory and teaching myself to paint.
Your story may not be interesting to you but it can be fascinating to someone else. Keep it short and don’t ramble.
This is the moment where it all began.
Maybe you were fired up to succeed or just plain naive and didn’t know any better. This kind of backstory is intriguing to other people. And remember, you are writing about yourself in the first person.
None of this third-person crap!
At this stage, it’s important to emphasize that you are writing in an informal style. This is a summary of your experience, it’s not an artist statement, it’s not academic, and it’s not an artist CV.
You are talking to everyday people. Your tone should be engaging and even witty. Leave the thesaurus alone and edit out any art jargon.
Don’t just take my word as gospel, take a look at this class by Sun Yi on Domestika and learn all about the hero’s journey.
3. Overcoming the Obstacles
No one wants to hear a good story. They want a happy ending but only after the struggle. These are your wilderness years.
Describe the hurdles you faced. Brainstorm. Where did things go wrong? This is where the drama occurs in your story. What happened at this point, were the Gods against you?
- Did you do something crazy or foolish?
- Did you seek advice that backfired?
- Maybe you had a disastrous show,
- Experienced a life event,
- Found yourself broke.
You get the idea. Make a list of setbacks, wrong turns, and dead-ends, and select the juiciest stories to keep it entertaining.
Note that word ‘entertaining’. Don’t wallow in self-pity and don’t brag about successes. Tread a careful line between the two. You are writing directly to the reader and a degree of humility is a must.
If you’re not sure if you’ve found the right tone, get someone to proofread your artist bio before you publish.
4. The Turning Point and Journeys End
Round off your Artist Biography with your final throw of the dice. This is your epiphany or the point where your art career took off. What finally clicked? Did you have a stroke of luck? Maybe you took a gamble and it paid off?
This is where you can reveal that your dream came true. At last, after all the sweat and tears you finally became a successful artist. Now you can reveal what life is like for you now.
Nothing was handed to you on a plate. This is your self-made triumph and it’s been a transformative journey. It’s your inspirational outcome that seduces your buyer into wanting to be a part of this story.
I suggest you write out your Artist About Me bio as a long draft and edit it brutally. Don’t worry about leaving things out. This is only a summary of yourself. It has to read well. Write different versions and compare them.
Think of your Artist Biography as a favorite anecdote, the story is true but over the years you have refined the tale and now it’s short and snappy with a well-timed punchline. Try to do that with your own artist bio.
The perfect artist bio should be about 150 words long
What to Include in Your About Me Biography
You need a good picture of yourself. There’s no need to get a professional portrait. It could be you in your studio or on location somewhere. As long as your image presents you as a cheerful, approachable, and unpretentious person.
Write your name clearly and consider a tagline or mission statement beneath. This will indicate what you are trying to achieve and what people can expect from you and your site.
Have a call to action on your webpage. This can be a button link to a signup form, or a digital product.
Showcase your more popular work and link them to your e-commerce store. And finally, add another chance to sign up for your email list. This is an art business after all.
If the business side is not your strong point you’ll need some professional advice. Get to Grips with your Art business with Katy on Domestika
I have my artist’s biography printed out and on display on my market stand. I find that customers will ask me questions because my Artist Bio is full of teasers.
For example, I state that I’m self-taught and colorblind because I know full well, that my customers think it’s interesting. It invites a chat and that’s the whole point.
Top Tip: If you intend to sell your art at an art fair, do not add your gallery website address or any social media profiles to your artist bio. That’s a great way to kill your sales. You’ll see people photograph your biography and walk away. They won’t be back.
When it comes to direct selling, there’s a fine line between success and failure.
What you can do is add some quotes from happy customers to act as social proof. Keep a comments book at your stand and ask customers (not browsers) to write something nice.
Should You Write Your Bio in the First or Third Person?
All the other blogs I’ve read on this subject advise you to write your biography in the 3rd person. Why?
I can’t get my head around this, who the hell writes about themselves as if they were someone else? It’s not an obituary for goodness sake.
I’m interested in sales. I want to engage with a potential buyer. I don’t make art as a hobby, this is a business. I want to break down barriers and build bridges and that has to be on a personal level. When I write about myself, I want to talk directly to you. I’m not detached.
I don’t want to set myself apart with pretentious art jargon and all that mumbo jumbo. It doesn’t make sense to alienate your reader!
What to Leave Out of Your Artist Bio
You may be wondering about all those shows and qualifications you could list. Well, to be honest, the reader might be impressed but they really don’t care enough to want any detail. That’s the kind of biographical information that gets skimmed.
You might even put some people off altogether. Your master’s degree, major exhibitions, and career achievements can make others feel small. Like it or not we compare ourselves to others. That’s if they ever bother to read it.
Does anyone really care about your schooling, where you were born, or when? A passing mention is all that’s required if anything at all. Just include a few teasers here and there.
Where Should You Display Your Artist Bio?
Your personal website should have your biography featured prominently.
These 3 places are perfect:
- Have an “About Me” link in your main menu directed to a dedicated bio page,
- A condensed bio at the top of your sidebar,
- A similar brief bio at the end of each post.
Your sidebar bio should have a photo of you with a few lines beneath describing what you do and a call to action. That might be signing up to an email list and/or a link to the main ‘About Me’ page.
Introduce yourself by name just as you would to someone in real life. Write in the first person. You are talking to someone and this snippet is from you to your reader. Try to connect on a personal level.
Put your Artist Bio on all your social media platforms and print out your biography page to display it alongside your artwork at art fairs.
Wherever your art appears it’s good practice to add an Artist Bio. Think of how much more interesting it is to learn about the artist, even on the back of a greeting card.
How to Write an Artist About Me Bio: Final Thoughts
An effective artist bio has to be short, entertaining, and intriguing. Just enough information to arouse curiosity. Artist biographies should be more about emotions and less about facts. Write the narrative as a journey of discovery and you can’t go far wrong.
Only write in the third person if your art is being curated. If you are representing yourself, write in the first person.
Don’t bother mentioning where you were born, where you were educated, or your age. It’s not important. Only write an achievement that stands out or the number of years you’ve been trading.
Make sure there are no spelling mistakes or obvious grammatical errors. Your website visitors will notice.
Your ‘About Me’ biography is one of the most important pages on your website. It’s No2 after your homepage, so it’s worth spending some time to get it right.
This post is a small extract from my guide. If you want to make money with your art, I’ll show you what to do, Step-by-Step!
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Hi, I’m Kevin Hayler
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy