The process of selling art revolves around connections.
The first and most important connection you make with potential buyer is through your work. Ultimately, the depth of this connection will be the biggest factor in determining whether or not a piece will sell, but it is not the only factor.
For many potential buyers, feeling a connection to the artist, as well as the artwork, is key.
When you have the opportunity to sell your work in person, you can make these connections through conversation.
In situations where you can’t be present, including when you are showing your work in a gallery, an artist biography can do this job for you. Because creating a deep connection with potential buyers is part of making sales, it’s important to have an effective artist biography that tells personal information about you in a way that is interesting and readable.
Working as a writer for Xanadu Gallery, I’ve written a fair amount of artist biographies, and I’ve honed some techniques that make the process of writing a bio easier and more effective.
The hardest part of any writing project tends to be putting the first few words on the page. It’s easy to get stuck staring at a blank screen, especially when you are writing about yourself.
It can help to spend some time reflecting and planning before you start writing the bio. Think about what you want the bio to communicate to potential buyers about you and your work. Create an outline where you lay out the details you want to include and the order you want to include them in. The more work you do to prepare before you write your bio, the easier it will be to sit down and write it.
There are several options for structuring your artist biography, but it’s important to choose a structure that flows well and is easy to follow. In my experience, it’s best to go with something pretty chronological.
When I write an artist bio, I usually start with a short paragraph that introduces the artist. I start with some kind of hook that sets the mood for the rest of the bio, then give the artist’s name, medium, and a few words to describe their artwork.
After that, I start with with information about the artist’s birth, childhood, and education, and go on from there, giving the artist’s life in order until I come to the present.
It is possible to write a bio around themes from your life or jump around to different events instead of going chronologically, but it takes a lot of skill to write a bio like this that a reader can follow easily, so I recommend writing your bio chronologically unless you have a good reason to do otherwise and can make it make sense.
Keeping it Focused
The purpose of the bio is to help potential buyers get to know you, but they don’t need to know everything about you. Make sure that the details you give are interesting and focus on your path to becoming an artist.
Sometimes it can help to write your life story through a certain lense, using a theme that relates to your work to tie everything together. For example, if your work features horses, you can focus on your relationship with horses over your lifetime, or if you paint desert landscapes, you can center your bio around your love for the desert. You will still give pertinent details like where you were born, but focusing on a theme like this will allow you to select other details carefully to create a narrative that is exciting and connects to your work.
Once your bio is written, have a few family members or friends read it over and give you feedback. Having other people read the bio can help you determine if it is clear, easy to understand, and interesting.
It may be helpful to have the readers give their initial thoughts first then ask specific questions about parts of the bio you are unsure about.
Checking Grammar and Conventions
Having errors in your spelling and grammar can make the bio fall flat, even if the content is riveting. Take advantage of any spelling and grammar software you have, and also make sure to have someone with a knack for grammar proofread it for you.
When in Doubt, Hire a Writer
If the idea of writing your own artist biography is too overwhelming, you don’t feel you have the skill to write an effective bio, or you would rather spend your time on your art, it might be a good idea to find someone else to write it for you.
If you have a friend or relative who is a good writer, you can ask them to do it for you, or you can find a freelancer.
Additionally, Xanadu offers a bio writing service, and we would be happy to work with you to create a well-written bio with a professional layout, though the number of bios we can handle is limited. Click here if you’re interested in finding out more.
What do you think?
How important do you think it is to connect with potential buyers, and what do you do to help potential buyers feel connected to you and your work?
In his Amazon.com best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.