Writing Your Artist’s CV (curriculum vitae)

Writing Your Artist’s CV (curriculum vitae)

Writing a curriculum vitae (C.V.) is an essential necessity for many artists. It showcases their past exhibits and experience, and compatibility with future venues and galleries to consider.

It is not the most exciting activity an artist can do, and many we spoke to dread writing them. In these instances, we highly recommend finding a resource, individual to help you with one. While Viable Studios currently does not offer these services to the general public, we will review requests with referrals from our residents or artists we work with.

Unlike a resume, which details your education, skills and employment positions related to a specific job function, a CV, is more detailed and centers around your artistic field. It is an account of recent accomplishments, professional visual arts practice and whilst similar in structure to an employment resume, it should only contain content and achievements that are related to your professional artistic career.

A common mistake that many emerging or mid career artists make is that they don’t or feel like they can’t make one (due to lack of history or experience). However, many exhibits, grants and scholarships ask for a CV. Even as an emerging artists, a CV should not be overlooked.




Like a resume, there are many parts of a CV that can be custom tailored to the individual, but there are general guidelines that are typically followed. Remember that a CV is generally 1-2 pages long and is a summary, not a full history, so be concise and careful with what you decide to list. Remember, overselling is not required, nor favored by many (at least by us).

Contact Details. The CV is usually referenced to as the biography. Hence, simple details are efficient. Website should only be included if it pertains directly to your art endeavor.

John Doe, (b. 1985, UK)
john@johndoe.com | http://www.johndoe.com | 123.456.7890

Education. If you have advanced education in the arts field, include the school(s), the year(s) that you graduated, and the degree(s). This section is typically not required for exhibitions, or gallery representations, though depending on the venue, it may be helpful. Otherwise, it is acceptable to leave this area off the CV. Note that only education pertaining directly to your art should be listed. Self-taught artists can include casual mentorships, workshops, classes, or informal school they have had as well.

Art institute of Chicago, Master of Fine Arts, 2009
Emily Carr University, Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2005
Studied under Jane Doe.

Exhibitions. Beginning with the most recent, list your exhibitions in order. Longer lists of exhibitions can be broken down categorically into solo or group exhibitions, if needed. Selecting specific exhibitions can also be used, and may be helpful if you have a lengthy list. Exhibitions should be listed as follows below. Curated shows should be notated as well. For emerging artists with minimal listings, forthcoming exhibits can be listed, and should be noted as forthcoming.

2017     Title of Show, John Doe Gallery, NY
2018     Another Show, John Doe Gallery, NY  (forthcoming)

Bibliography. Any articles, references or publications of your art should be listed. Include the author, title, publication, volume, publication date, and page number. Covers to publication should also be noted as well.

Jane Doe: “About the Artist John Doe”, Acme Art Magazine, vol. 5, February 2017, p. 5-7
Acme Art Magazine, Cover, vol. 3, April 2017

Collections. This area lists any private collections that your art belongs to. This includes private and public collections. Though this can vary, museums, corporate collections, municipalities, agency collections and private collections can be listed.

Artwork in private collections should is usually only noted if the person/collection is well known, and if you have their explicated agreement for you to list them in your CV. If there are numerous pieces of art held in private collections, it is acceptable (and more organized) to list under one general listing.

The Acme Museum Collection
Works held in private collections in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Australia.



Texts. If you have any published writing relating to your own practice or others in visual arts, it can be listed in this section in the proper MLA format:

“Exploring Acrylics”, Grey Art Gallery, 2011.

Teaching. Any teaching related positions held related directly to your arts or the industry should be listed. You can include positions as faculty, lecturer, or speaker.

2009, Guest Lecturer, Art Institute of Chicago

Curatorial. If you have worked as a curator those can be listed below. Include any co-curators as well, if any.

2015, “Art Show”, Acme Art Gallery

Awards, Grants and Scholarships. Though not necessary, these can be listed, especially if they are highly recognizable awards. Again, they should only pertain to your art career, unless they are extremely noteworthy, e.g.: The Nobel Prize.

2010, Acme Council Awards.

Residences. Art residencies show dedication and on-going development of your artistic career and profession.

2014, Studio residency, School of Arts, London

Though many individuals differ on how they create their CV (just like there are different ways to create a resume), you should browse other available CVs as examples, and see what works for you at your current stage of your career. Just like a resume, your CV should be updated with new exhibits, education or experience related to your field. Many artists, galleries and creative professionals have their CV online as well, for you to refer to as an example.

For emerging artists who may not have as much to fill on their CV as one further in their career, including an artist statement is helpful.

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Fall Into…

Fall Into…

With the change of seasons, come the faded summer breezes and late nights. The onslaught of the holidays, end of the year and colder temperatures can easily have many creatives and artists distracted from the work on hand. Then again, it’s not all that comfortable shivering in a barely heated studio, working on your next project with your coat on, when you could be out shopping or having a drink at a myriad of holiday parties and get-togethers with friends.

…as others become distracted, this is the perfect opportunity for you to stay focused on your career

Ever notice how gyms are emptier during winter, especially before the holidays (then packed for a week right after New Year's)

Ever notice how gyms are emptier during winter, especially before the holidays (then packed for a week right after New Year’s)

The slowdown affects everyone, in many careers. People stop going to the gym, perhaps gain a few pounds. They cuddle inside under blankets and do marathons of their favorite show. The commute to work feels more arduous and even a bit lonely sometimes, especially for those of us hidden away beneath layers of shirts, sweaters, coats, and scarves.

Distraction is not just commonplace but even welcomed at times.

But as others become distracted, this is the perfect opportunity for you to stay focused on your career – your creative career. Even as some businesses and galleries close for the season, there are still many things that you can do and should do!

Update your CV. With a busy summer that you have had, it is important that you maintain a current CV for others to review.

Update and maintain your portfolio especially when you have you complete a major show or project. Photo by Waqed Walid

Update your portfolio. Every year, the residents of Viable Studios get together to create a booklet of annual works. Though this book is not publicly available, it serves as a catalogue that we use many times internally for reference, inspiration or just nostalgia while we’re taking a break over coffee. We write notes in the book for ourselves and others and use it as a tool to help us on our endeavors for next year.

 

 

Travel. If possible, take a few days to travel. Art Basel Miami Beach happens during the first week of Dec and Armoury Week occurs a few months later in New York. These are extremely valuable times to meet other creatives, business owners and collectors to help further your career.

Send out proposals. Though this should be something you do throughout the year, you should really focus on this more so during the fall and winter. Many curators and galleries are working on their shows and exhibits months and months ahead of time, and sometimes even longer than that. If you want to stay busy next year, you need to get those proposals sent out today.

Reflect and Experiment. If you find yourself with time to spare between the holiday madness and parties and can’t make it out to travel, then reflect on your part year. Review what works and projects were successful, and critiques you may have received. Play around with new styles. You’ll never know what you’ll come up with. Many of us here at Viable Studios, get together every so often for paint night, where we just paint the night away with no specific theme, or purpose. Painting for the sake of painting. Some of our favorite works that we keep in our permanent collection are from paint nights.

Take time to reflect on the past year and what goals you want to accomplish next year. Photo by Noah Siliman

If you want to further your creative career, just like any other career, you cannot afford timely distractions or time out of the studio. Putting time in everday, even when it’s cold out, will help discipline your work ethic and can help make your creative endeavors into a lifelong career instead of just a hobby that you occasionally do.


About the author(s)

Asa is a founding member of Viable Studios and helps with Viable Studio’s operations and management of talent.

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Ideas that are Viable

Ideas that are Viable

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Viable Studios is a professional services company and art collective, founded by artists, looking to empower other artists. We look to create, share and inspire others as well as ourselves.

As a collective, the cumulative knowledge and resources of our service teams and resident artists are available for all projects we undertake and the clients we represent.

We strive to not only raise awareness of the artists we work with, but to challenge current ideas, open new perspectives and to further grow the art community.

By furthering artistic ideals and works into the public space, we not only continue our objective, but expand the reach of our talent. We believe that art is ever changing, and because of that, we are always changing ourselves, ready for new projects that challenge and create.

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