Gallery Insights

The Gallery’s Guide to Writing Good Artist Bios

Paco Pomet in his studio

Including artist bios on your gallery’s website is an excellent way to engage readers and collectors, and to help you frame your gallery’s artistic focus and position the artists you represent. A good artist bio will inspire collectors to want to find out more about the artists and their work and lead them to keep browsing the artist’s works on your website. See the artist bios as your artists’ business cards – you want them to stand out, to provide all the essential information, and to convince collectors to become interested and, eventually, to reach out and buy works. Read on to discover how to write a stellar artist bio thanks to our 10 tips.

1. Create a concise summary

An artist bio should concisely summarise the artist’s practice. It’s not about covering an artist’s entire CV or full biography. Focus on a few main points that you believe to best introduce the artist and their art. Always include the medium, themes, techniques, and influences the artist works with.

2. Use clean, simple language

Use clean, simple language and avoid academic jargon and exaggerated language. Readers respond to authentic, simple texts and will take you much more seriously than if you use over-embellished language.

3. Grab the attention with a creative first sentence

Try to start the bio with a first line that is not simply a standard biographical introduction. Instead, be more creative and write a first sentence that grabs your readers’ attention while also telling them what is the most important thing about this artist and their work.

4. Include the artist's date of birth and nationality

Always add the date of birth (and in the case of artists who have passed away, the date of death) and the nationality of the artist. Also mention where they are mainly based – readers are interested in knowing where an artist is living and working, as this adds to a certain understanding about the artist’s influences and way of working.

5. Keep the bio around 120 words

The bio should be between 80 and 140 words. An ideal artist bio is 120 words. Research at museums has shown that visitors lose interest in reading wall labels accompanying art works after 150 words. That’s why it’s better to limit your word count to around 120 words – your readers will get enough information and be curious to learn more on their own, without getting bored and leaving your page because they don’t want to read an unnecessarily long text.

6. Discuss medium, techniques and style

Include all the important tangible aspects of the artist’s practice including: the medium and techniques the artist uses and the artistic style. Give examples of the artist’s key works that clearly elucidate these qualities.

7. Describe the main themes

Describe the main themes which the artist depicts in the work. What are the subjects and issues that inspire the themes in the artist’s pieces?

8. Position the artist in art history

Briefly reflect on the artist’s position in art history. What makes this artist important, what impact does he or she have on the history of art, which artists have influenced this artist and in what way has the artist redefined a certain medium or artistic technique?

9. Place the artist in his/her specific context

Position the artist in his or her cultural, political, social or technological context. Consider which events and which influences from the artist’s background and everyday life influence the way they work, and the art they produce.

10. Add a relevant quote

If you can find a short, relevant quote from the artist which supports the above-mentioned points, it can be a nice touch to add this to the bio in order to make it stand out more as an engaging, original piece.

Follow our ‘Gallery’s Guide’ series for more useful tips and strategies to improve your gallery’s online presence and business.

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