ENGLISH TEXT BELOW: PRESENT YOURSELF BETTER IN TEXTS – WRITING SKILLS FOR ARTISTS (3)
In addition to my own artistic activity, I also curate and organize the Brücker Art Days, a district event in the east of Cologne, once a year. Through these two perspectives, as an artist & curator, I have developed a good feeling for what makes a good artistic vita.
A note in advance: The terms “Vita”, “Artistic curriculum vitae”, “Artistic biography” or “Short biography” are not clearly defined for artists in the German-speaking area. But there is basically the difference between a tabular form and a coherent text. In the English-speaking world, a distinction is often made between “Resumé” for the former and “Bio (graphy)” for the latter. Today’s part of the series is about the first – tabular – form and the question of what belongs in there and what doesn’t.
Anyone who has studied art and / or is already represented by a good gallery will probably no longer need my advice here. Often the completed art degree at a prestigious university is in itself the ticket to a professional career. But how do artists proceed, whose activities have only become professional over time and who have now decided to exhibit and sell regularly? The first answer is already in the question: The decision should be made specifically. Nothing hinders a good start more than the uncertainty about what exactly you want.
What exactly belongs in the vita?
Your name, address, website, email address, telephone number, other contact options and a photo are an essential part of every tabular résumé. The photo should be of good quality and you should make a friendly impression on it. Whether it is colorful or black and white, whether it shows you in a business outfit or with a brush on the canvas, you can decide according to your personal taste. Fortunately, we artists have a lot of freedom to present ourselves as we are.
There are many ways to exhibit your art. I gave a detailed overview of this in my >> series “Exhibition Possibilities” last year here in the SommerKunstBlog. When choosing a suitable exhibition location, the question “What will this exhibition bring me?” Plays an important role when it comes to assessing whether the exhibition is doing well in the vita. You should also be able to clearly formulate your own requirements from the outset: It is a fallacy to believe that EVERY exhibition opportunity counts and that it is more about quantity than quality. Five individual exhibitions at the “hairdresser around the corner” – without a vernissage, without sales, without any attention – look less good than participating in an organized district event, at exactly this barber shop. In other words: the exhibition venues should not be chosen at random, but you should be able to write a kind of “good name” in your vita with each of your own exhibitions or participation in an exhibition. Or maybe you just leave out a not so profitable exhibition in the official vita: less is often more! And unlike in the working world of employees, as a freelance artist you are not obliged to submit a complete résumé. It should just be one Or maybe you just leave out a not so profitable exhibition in the official vita: less is often more! And unlike in the working world of employees, as a freelance artist you are not obliged to submit a complete résumé. It should just be one Or maybe you just leave out a not so profitable exhibition in the official vita: less is often more! And unlike in the working world of employees, as a freelance artist you are not obliged to submit a complete résumé. It should just be one certain regularity can be seen in exhibitions. In principle, participation in exhibitions is particularly recommended for the beginning. If these are professionally organized and if there are also professional artists participating, they automatically rub off on your own vita in a positive manner. In the further course of the career, however, solo exhibitions are also desirable. If possible, individual and group exhibitions should be distinguished from each other in the Vita.
Whenever you exhibit, you should make sure that it is reported in some form, primarily by the press. Anyone who manages to get their own name in the newspaper has already done a lot for their good vita. Selected articles can be named or, if necessary, enclosed.
Art prizes are another way of adding value to your vita. This should also be researched well beforehand to decide whether it is worth participating. Announcements can be found in art magazines, online or sometimes in the local press. Certainly you will get some rejections here, as there are of course always only a few award winners. But maybe it will work out one day. Many only allow a very limited group of applicants: maybe only from their own city, maybe only on a specific topic, maybe only on a very specific artistic technique. This naturally limits the number of possible applications, but once you find a suitable job advertisement, there is little competition.
Many mention participation in painting courses in their CV. Here you should carefully consider whether you want to fill in the empty space with such a list. Certainly no VHS courses should be mentioned. On the other hand, anyone who has attended really good courses with professional and possibly well-known artists or at a good private art institution should not go unmentioned.
Are you self-taught?
Opinions differ here. While some think that this is not well received and simply leave this information and thus the word itself unmentioned, others say that it means a lot, especially for artists with a high quality level, if you work it all out yourself Has. I can’t give you any good advice here, you have to decide for yourself based on your feelings – maybe on a case-by-case basis. The fact is, however, that many galleries do not accept self-taught people. But it is also interesting that some other countries (e.g. the USA) give autodidacts a much higher priority.
It goes without saying that a good and clear layout as well as perfect spelling and grammar can make a difference. If you have no idea what this means, look up examples of visually appealing résumés online (regardless of their content). The general rule:
- Years sorted from present (above) to past (below)
- less (text) is more!
- legible font (e.g. Arial, Times)
- uniform display of headings, lists, fonts
- two colors at most
- Font size between 11-13
- Max. 1 A4 page
Vita on your own website
A website is fundamentally different from the structure of a folder or a letter. Because, for example, you have the option of listing press articles on your own subpage. Your contact information is of course on the website in the imprint and not in the vita. The maxim should always apply that a single subpage should not contain too much information.