Artist CV

If you're an artist, photographer, painter, or other creative person, it's important to have a CV, or curriculum vitae, to make submissions for grants, gallery opportunities, and much more. Here's how to create an artist's CV.

First, some people distinguish between an artist's CV and an artist's resume. Really, though, they are versions of the exact same thing. They describe your professional credentials. These include the courses or schooling you have taken, any affiliations you have, the shows you have been in, the awards you have received, and so on. Some people say a CV contains everything you've ever done while a resume is tailored to a particular show or job. However, some shows ask for a CV that's one page in length. Clearly that means people with more than one page of content have to tailor it for the show. So, the lesson is to look at WHO you are submitting this CV or resume to. Find out their restrictions and guidelines. Then tailor your CV or resume to that destination.

It's a good idea to start out by creating a document with EVERYTHING in it. Every single show, every single award, every single book mention, and so on. Then whittle it down into something manageable for each project. You might include certain things on one version and other things on another. By maintaining that one big master one with everything in it, you have those items at your fingertips to work with.

For most cases, you want to aim for one page. Don't jam things in there in six point type, but choose your best. You want to make your best case and shine without overwhelming your readers.

An artist's CV is NOT an artist's statement. It should not contain an artist's statement within it! Those are two different things. An artist's statement describes what you wish to do with your art. The CV simply lists facts. It lists how you were trained, who you work with, and what you have achieved.

Just like a work resume, an artist's CV has to be organized and neat. The people receiving these things receive hundreds and hundreds (if not thousands) of them. Flowery type, strange colors, and odd spacing aren't good. They often get tossed out immediately. Above all else, an artist CV must be easily readable. Its primary purpose is to convey information clearly. It shouldn't be artistic :). That's the job of your actual artwork. Make it clear, easy to read, with bold headings and any date-oriented information in chronological order. Organize information easily in lists. Don't write it out in longhand text. Be clear. List cities and states of locations in case the recipient needs to look something up for more detail.

Here are the key sections to have.

* About You (name, contact information)
* Schooling (college and up)
* Affiliations (art groups you belong to)
* Exhibitions you have been part of
* Bibliography / publications
* Awards / grants you have won

If you have another major category of achievement, certainly add it in. A CV is flexible. But stay on target. Don't list middle school awards or unrelated trophies in softball. Also, it's better to hone in on a few, awesome exhibits than to fluff out your CV with page after page of tiny, obscure items.

Here's a sample artist CV - this is mine :). I'd love to hear your feedback on it!

Sample Artist CV

Photography Basics