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.




Privacy in the Digital Age

Privacy in the Digital Age

Many artists, activists and performers have no idea, or even use a VPN. With the rise of activism, political art and performances, for many creatives, online privacy is essential.

Pegasus Trump as Hitler

The artist known as Pegasus depicts Trump as Adolf Hitler in Bristol, England in 2016.

The artist known as Pegasus, originally from Chicago, received death threats after their depicting Trump as Nazi Germany’s brutal dictator Adolf Hitler on a wall in Bristol, England, in February 2016.

Many artists, especially street artists, already know the importance of masking your identity, but in many cases, that doesn’t carry over to their online activities. Activists participating in controversial protests also have come under fire as their online activities spill over into their personal and professional life. Writers, journalists and reporters, especially those working in areas that are heavily monitored or censored are under pressure of masking online activity.

Hackers have doxed all the reporters covering east Ukraine’s war. Twice.

Hackers have doxed all the reporters covering east Ukraine’s war. Twice.

Public and private figures are routinely doxxed (having private or identifying information about (a particular individual) published on the Internet, typically with malicious intent) by anonymous online person(s) not sharing the same views. Last year, the names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, affiliations, and travel dates of thousands of journalists, as well as human-rights activists, were leaked onto vigilante websites that have been used to unmask opposing fighters in southeast Ukraine’s two year-old war. The leaks, and the official reactions to them, have revealed a deep suspicion of journalists who travel to both sides of the conflict and of their mandate to negotiate for permission to report from the local authorities, whoever that might be [Washington Post].

For many of these individuals that we work with, we have always recommended a VPN for them to use. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps protect your right to privacy in numerous areas of your digital life, a topic that is even more vital now than ever before. VPNs encrypt all of your traffic, replacing your ISP and routing ALL traffic through the VPN server, including all programs and applications. This also will use all benefits of the VPN server such as (Speed, Geopgraphic Location, and Security).

How VPN work - by Microsoft

How VPN’s work. By Microsoft.

With consumer privacy up for debate and our identities and activities up for sale – creatives and industry professionals in controversial industries, needing added anonymity should strongly considering using added layers of security. Using a VPN enhances your privacy and security, but you should never assume that your activity couldn’t be traced back to you if someone really, really wanted to do it.

Things to remember if considering a VPN:

  1. Your ISP cannot know what you are doing since data is encrypted
  2. ISP can only see that you are connected to a VPN
  3. VPNs are ideal to use in public wifi hotspots
  4. Your internet speeds will slow down
  5. The farther away the location of your VPN is, the more it affects your internet speeds

When working with our clients, especially those in highly controversial fields, we recommend off shore VPN, such as partner in Iceland, Golden Frog. Iceland has one of the strongest internet privacy laws.

With global news is dominated by instances of hacking, mass data collection, data snooping and more, and as our lives are now digitally intertwined with our computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, it might be the right time to consider how you interact with the Internet.

Getting Back into It

Getting Back into It

The holidays are over and slowly but surely, things are slowly returning to the normal, whatever that is. Slowly trying to back into the groove can be a painstaking process, especially after being out of grind for a bit.

For creatives, we’re not only mustering up energy and focus to be at work, but creativity and motivation. January is typically slow. Galleries are closed. Theaters and stage have less traffic. People all around seem to be in recovery mode from the holidays; physically, emotionally and even financially.

It’s not strange to see things moving at a slower pace at this time. But this could perhaps be the best time for creatives to take things off the to do list, and perhaps even redefine their work.

Update your paperwork. Having a current CV, resume and portfolio is vital to your career. The winter downtime is perfect to do this. With the holidays behind us, and many others in downtime, or too focused on getting back on track, there is far fewer chances for distractions or events. Even general socializing can be fairly minimal at this time when half the country is too busy staying warm to go outside. What’s more, you can do this work while you yourself is covered up under a heap of blankets on the couch.

Downtime is the beast time to update your CV, portfolio, resume and other paperwork.

Make sure your CV should include important shows from the past year with samples of work updates in the portfolio.

Draw from your life. The winter and holidays can be a taxing time of the year – physically, mentally and emotionally. However, these experiences, whether good or bad, shouldn’t be wasted. Use your experiences, pleasant and not, as a catalyst for new work. Some of the best work is taken from real life examples. Even dreadful experiences many want to forget can become an emotionally charging piece of work – for the artist, writer or even performer.

Edvard Munch’s inspiration for “The Scream” resulted from feeling ill and anxiety.

I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature. – diary in an entry headed “Nice 22 January 1892”

Plan your coming year. Though this may seem obvious, it is something that many forget to do. Your plan should be an outline of milestones and vital deadlines, rather than listing specifics. When specific actions aren’t accomplished, it can be disheartening and easier to lose focus on other goals.

Listing generalities will help push you get active and shrug off the winter blues. You want to slowly work your way up back. Think of it as a warm up or training session.

This outline can be revamped during the spring and early summer. Once you’re performing in high caliber, you can focus on specific actions needed during the busy season.

Review your past year. The new year is the best time to reflect on the past year. Many companies have performance reviews of their employees to make sure their organization performs at a certain level.

As a creative, many of us work on our own, or in small collectives. This makes it even more vital to assess the past year to properly plan for the coming year.

Is there feedback from industry professionals that was received? Did recent work receive favorable or unfavorable reviews? Is our space appropriate? Were there any resources we lacked that would have been advantageous?

Learning from recent success and failures can help to scale our projects to plan for the year. This helps to minimize chances that we over exceed or under perform.

Sweat the small talk. Instead of binging on Netflix marathons, it might be helpful to send out some emails, or calls to the industry professionals relevant to your career, business owners, managers, agents, editors, marketers, curators, etc. It allows an opportunity to catch up with your sphere of influence and also serves as a reminder to them about you and your work.

My dentist sends out postcards every few months to remind me about getting checked up or to come in for a cleaning. This postcard in some cases resulted in me scheduling an appointment to come in. It’s a call to action.

You want to let others know you around, ready and willing to work, and hopefully offer work or potential referral. Depending on the contact, how well you know them and some other factors, a phone call, email or coffee meet up is a safe bet. Even better, extend an invitation for them to visit to the studio, workshop or stage.

Meeting for coffee is a simple way to stay in touch with your network and discover new opportunities. Photo credit Alejandro Escamilla

Stay active. Winter is infamous for bringing on anxiety, depression or just a general ‘eh’ type of feeling. Staying active is essential to warding off negativity as well as keeping your energy levels up.

Though the gym is not for many of us, and admittedly, it’s rare for me to bump into an artist or writer at the gym – but there are many other activities to help keep you active.

Plan an afternoon at the museum or perhaps go for a walk. Perhaps surrounding yourself by other masterpieces or the energy of a bustling city will help spur your creative juices.

Whatever it is, just be sure to do something! It might be cold out. The new season for your favorite show starts. Maybe you’re just tired from the holidays. These are all just excuses. The more you put off, the more you’ll need to catch up.

About the author(s)  

Clara Beaulieu is a contributing writer and performance artist working in Europe and Asia. Clara is currently managed by Viable Studios.




The Visual Story

The Visual Story

Can you imagine reading a news article, perhaps some significant occurrence without any visual cues or images? How would someone feel when watching the news, hearing of some breaking news, with no visual content? It would be difficult to fully understand such content, more so absorbing or empathizing the importance of certain subject matter without such visual cues and references.

This is why photojournalism has become significant to many mediums, including the news. It has also become an important medium in conveying important subject matter in other places, such as magazines, marketing materials, even topics such as politics, religion, and science all utilize photojournalism.

These circumstances gave rise to the visual story-telling of a professional photojournalist and the need for photography as an ongoing medium in many industries and organizations. This has further become even more difficult than before, with almost every individual carrying smartphones, iPhones or Androids allowing them in essence to provide their own visual story.

However, even with the combined masses with their smartphone or iPhone cameras, will never be on par with to the artistry of an experienced photojournalist, along with their professional cameras and DSLRs.

Photojournalism is an art form in its own right. The images captured tells a story, it shares powerful emotions and brings a viewer into the image itself. Many newspapers, magazines, and media outlets have traditionally used photojournalism to compliment their content through provoking images.

But in the age of mass amateur photography, business economics and reverence for the art form, photojournalism is slowly dying. Though it can never fully go away, the art form does face many obstacles.

A Point in Time

Recently, the front page images of two leading newspapers in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago  Sun-Times, were both covering the Chicago Cubs throughout their post-season playoffs, eventually to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series – something that many fans have waiting for, after a long 108 years.

The morning after the Cubs officially won the World Series, both newspapers, as well as many other media outlets, raced to headline the story. The Trib, and the Sun-Times, the hometown newspapers looked to celebrate their hometown heroes with a front page story. But the two papers sparked discussions among many readers, especially photojournalists.

Back in 2013, Sun-Times laid off their photojournalists, then instructed their reporters instead to take up iPhone photography / Android / Smartphone photography – something that their reporters would have anyways.  Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune still maintained its own team of professional photojournalists and photographers.

This leads to the morning of in question, two hometown newspapers, covering the same event with two completely different outcomes. The Sun-Times without their photojournalists led to its front page image failing to make much impact versus its Tribune counterpart. Many people looking to pick up a collectible newspaper that morning were faced with Tribune newspapers selling out faster in many places around the city and sold out first from many of the places Viable Studios staff went to.


The front cover of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times

The front cover of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times

The front cover image of the Tribune, was iconic to say the lease. Taken by Brian Cassella, a photographer with the Chicago Tribune, this image was significantly more popular than its Sun-Times counterpart. Not to say that the Sun times image was not a great image itself, but for such an epic and historic event, it failed to capture the raw emotions and energy that is seen in Cassella’s photo.


When the presidential campaign was over – many individuals woke up to the news, followed by groundbreaking photography and photojournalism. These photos captured the raw emotions from throughout the campaign, election day and evening, and the next morning.

This is why the White House employs a Chief Official White House photographer. They tell the story of the President and the President’s family throughout their four years. Sometimes, we even glimpse just how human and strained they are with the responsibilities of the Office, something that almost no one without formal training can really capture.

President Obama as captured by Pete Souza

This article is originally written for and appears on Viable Studios. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

The original article appears online at Viable Studios as part of our KnowledgeShare articles.



Speak in Tongues

Speak in Tongues

Back when we were redesigning the site, some of us were in a shared office space. Occasionally, we asked a couple of the designers to work on site a couple days during the week to do follow up on projects.

Naturally, some of the graphic designers started speaking with other designers, artists and creatives in the space and then something interesting happened.

Mind you, I work with a lot of marketing, and media, so when I was on coffee break, I thought I could “chill” with the graphic designer, and have casual conversation about the project. There were a couple of them in that day as well one other from another company in the space.

I was a little ahead of myself, as I was hoping to dive into conversation quickly, but upon sitting down was fairly quiet for the most part. I kept hearing things like, vector, CMYK, raster, kerning, gradient, knolling, red, yellow and blue. OK, maybe not that last part, but pretty sure pink was hotly debated…

There were words that I’ve heard before, but couldn’t explain for the life of me. One of the designers sensing my distress casually tried to explain skeuomorphism which was being discussed. I was totally lost until he showed me the calculator and newsstand app on my phone and was like “Oh ya, so that’s what that’s called!”


Skeuomorphism is when design elements are made to resemble their real-world counterparts.

I think this experience is something that most industries struggle with across departments, disciplines, and industries – a language obstacle.

I was totally lost until he showed me the calculator and newsstand app on my phone and was like “Oh ya, so that’s what that’s called!”

I remember when I bought my first home, my real estate broker sat down with me and explained some of the terminology at the very beginning. We then went shopping for homes. Wrote an offer, and when things came up again, he asked if I remembered what the referenced terms were if I needed a refresher on a specific term.

Working with graphic designers frequently, I hear their jargon all the time, like vectors. I sort of get it, it’s the outlines of a picture so you can enlarge it, kind of. I’m not sure what the technical definition actually is, or the science behind it, except that we need to have certain things, like our logo, to be vectorized, so it doesn’t become pixelated when enlarging images.


What happens when a non-vector image is enlarged too much (or perhaps a piece created by street artist Invader).

There are many times though, something is mentioned and I have no clue what is being referenced. I can try to interrupt, perhaps look lost and attempt my wide eyed look that a child gives when they’re just as lost in the mall, away from their parents, as I am at that moment. I suppose I can wait it out, then finally explain that I have no clue what was being talked about for the past two minutes.

As artists, designers, typographer, etc you all work with individuals who are not exposed to the creative realm on a constant basis. Patience and care must be taken, with the understanding that yes, you may potentially have to explain what kerning means, and every single time it is brought up; or perhaps just say “sliding specific letters over to help make the word look more proportional and pretty” Having a common language is not beneficial to you, but to the client as well. It prevents misunderstandings because not even five minutes later, your client may not remember the difference between kerning and tracking except that both deal with space between the letters. They think.

Common language is beneficial, well, it certainly helps when I’m at the Chinese restaurant and say #11 versus trying to say one thing, and making a fool of myself, and the server understanding something totally different. There is no common language for us to speak.

Our job then is not to just create, but interpret and reiterate (many many times). Otherwise, I suppose we can always skip the latter and just create the work, and send along a Cliff Notes type of explanation.



This is Water

This is Water

One of our favorites here… Originally the commencement Speech to Kenyon College class of 2005 by David Foster Wallace. The Glossary, who does outstanding work turned it into a short video, which was absolutely stunning but no longer available.

Sadly, David Foster Wallace is no longer with us, but hopefully, his words remain impactful, and inspirational to many of us still.

Take a few minutes to listen to the speech.


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