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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