Portfolio Development for Artists
Susan Myers I NYFA
Your artistic portfolio is a valuable tool in your arsenal as an artist, and it is often the first opportunity you have to impress and influence those in charge of making the decisions that affect you and your work. By developing and preparing a professional portfolio, every artist is taking a step towards ensuring their own success.
In general, a portfolio consists of various presentation materials representing the artist and their work. Some artists will have a very detailed and complex portfolio, but the basics almost always include an artist resume and bio, an artist’s statement, work samples, press clippings or reviews of artwork, and, if appropriate, a query or cover letter.
I see the artist’s portfolio as an evolving assortment of credentials that can be modified and tailored for any particular audience. While each artistic discipline has its own conventions and standards in preparing a professional portfolio, all artists can benefit from the information and suggestions included below.
Artist Resumes and Bios
Just as an employment resume outlines employment history, experience, and skills, an artist’s resume details the accomplishments, endeavors, knowledge, and abilities of an artist. There are many common conventions that all professional resumes should follow. Remember, just because you’re an artist, doesn’t mean your resume has to be “artistic.
Art resumes are organized by headings or categories that outline your particular artistic activity. Under each heading — listed by date with the most recent event first — list and then summarize the necessary information. Let your category headings stand out by formatting them appropriately. The specific categories you should include depends upon your
Typically, an artist’s resume is one-to-four pages in length. Most artists have two versions of their resume prepared: a long version and a one- or two-page version. Your resume should be easy to read, typed, and printed on quality paper. Resume paper should be muted in color. I prefer to see resume printed on white, off-white, or ivory. Font size should be no smaller than 10 pt., and should be a font type that is easy to read. I find it helpful to include a date in the upper right-hand corner of my resume. The date helps remind me when I last
Your resume is different from a curriculum vitae or artist bio. The c.v. is a record of all professional activities within academic careers, and is intended for use in academic situations only. An artist bio, while containing information similar to your resume, is presented in a different format. An artist bio is most often written in the third person and in paragraph form, highlighting the information present on your resume.