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How to write an artist CV as a self taught artist or with little experience.

Woman writing on a tablet
Writing an artist CV

As a self taught artist I wasn't sure I would have anything to put on my CV. If it wasn't a requirement for so many submissions I probably wouldn't bother. In all my other ventures I've never had one, ever, so I was completely lost on how to do one.

I spent a few hours googling "How to write an artist CV as a self taught artist with little experience" and spent half a night reading through that information to get an idea of what the industry standard was for such things. I found a lot of helpful templates and what was good form, what I could add and what could be left out. At the end I surprised myself. One because I didn't realize how many things I have already done until I laid them all out on the page and two that it really wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.

I don't know why I built it up so much in my head to think that it was going to be so tedious. We will see how its responded to, I'm sure ill have to make some adjustments but really it was just a list of the thing I've done and learn. I know sounds simple, beyond trying to remember dates of when I did things, it really was.

So what did I learn:

  1. Be honest

  2. Only list things that directly relate to your art

  3. relax and have fun with it

As a self-taught artist, it can be intimidating to create an artist CV with little experience. However, it is important to have a well-crafted CV to showcase your skills and accomplishments. Here are some steps to help you create an artist CV with little experience:

Note: I just used Google Docs and searched artist CV in templates and found one I liked and changed to headings to suit my needs.

Here Is a copy of mine for reference. Feel free to give me feedback if you see anything that needs improving.

A picture of an artist cv
My Artist CV

1. Start with a header

Begin with your name and contact information at the top of the page. This should include your phone number, email address, and website if you have one.

As I don't go by my full name "Jacqueline" and I am known as Jackie to everybody except that one friend who always calls me "Jacqueline" (Insert eye roll lol) I decided to just go with Jackie. My signed work is always J. Morisette or just Morisette so there will be no confusion in that aspect.

The one thing I liked was adding where you were born and also adding where you live and/or work from now.

Adding a phone number is always one of those things you get mixed advice about. I've had many artist tell me not to add it to anything that might be public. As a CV is generally private I don't see an issue with it but if you are not comfortable with it just make sure there is a way for them to contact you. I know people who even have a separate number from their private one for their business items.

I understand why. You can have some strange people try to use it. Over the years I've had my share. As my number has been public knowledge for years from doing my non profit work I am comfortable with it and as I can rarely answer a call straight off (One part anxiety, one part just the way my schedule works my ringer is turned off when I am working) I tend to usually just get back to people at a later point.

I always let people know the best way to get ahold of me and actually get a response is email. I've had it on my voice mail at points and auto reply messages for texts etc.

I just tend to be able to keep track of things better that way. It is built into my routine to check emails at a certain time and I set aside time to respond. I need that structure to be able to remember to get back to people.

2. Write an artist statement

This should be a brief summary of your artistic practice and what inspires you. It should be no more than a few sentences and should be written in the first person.

I think this step probably took me the longest. I have so much trouble talking about myself. The more I do it the easier it is becoming though.

I can see this one will be one that may need to be updated along the way as you grow as an artist and develop your voice.

The next few steps you can play around with how you want to order them.

3. List your exhibitions

If you have exhibited your work in any shows or galleries, list them in chronological order. Include the name of the exhibition, the venue, and the dates of the exhibition. If you have a show upcoming you can use the terms "forthcoming" and add the pending date. Just be sure that it is a show that is set not just a possibility it might happen. If you add something like this and it doesn't happen you can make yourself look bad and that could affect future opportunities. If you don't have any just skip this step. As you get that type of experience you can add it at a later date if you need to.

If you look at mine I have included the works I have done for nonprofit in here as I had not had any shows to add.

4. Include your awards and honors

If you have received any awards or honors for your artwork, include them on your CV. This could be anything from a local art competition to a national award. Again if you don't have any of these just skip it.

5. Mention your education

If you have taken any art classes or workshops, include them on your CV.

Even though they are not like an university course they are a part of your education. Write who you learned under and what you learned from that course.

You can also include any degrees or certifications you have earned.

If you have upcoming courses or training you can use the term "forthcoming" and add the pending date. As above only add the things that are set to happen not the things you plan on doing but have not yet fully committed to.

6. Highlight your skills

As a self-taught artist, you may not have formal training, but you likely have developed skills through practice and experimentation. Highlight these skills on your CV, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, or digital art to let them know what you are proficient at and what skill set you bring to the table. Adding detail could be helpful instead of just painting you could add things like oil landscape painting or acrylic portrait painting. That way when they look at your portfolio its an accurate depiction of what you do. I chose to keep it simple and let my work explain the rest.

7. Add any relevant experience

If you have worked in a related field, such as graphic design or illustration, include this on your CV. This can show that you have experience in a related field and can help you stand out. Even in unrelated fields skills learned in other industries may translate into this one. I decided to leave them off of my CV and add them to my proposals if they applied to that specific project.

8. Add any place you art is being exhibited/collected

As I did not have any work in public collections or public installations I added the work that is in private collections.

I kept it simple and only added one for every city they are in. If I have two collectors in the same city I only added it once to cut down on redundancy. I asked myself two questions when deciding what to add.

  • "Do I know the collector or how to contact them?"

Although I have pieces with more people than what is listed, if I sold them at something like an art fair for instance where I might not have full contact information at that point it is really just me saying oh yeah I have work here, here and here with no way of backing that up. So for my own piece of mind I wanted to add people that could be verified if needed.

  • "If they were contacted would they be able to say yes I have a piece by this person and this is what it is?"

Again as above I wanted to add people who could be verified if needed.

I also contacted each and asked if it was okay with them that I added it to my CV as a courtesy to them. I would hate to add someone and them not wanting to be contacted to verify for me.

As my experience grows I imagine I will have to figure out other ways of adding this. In situations where something sold through a gallery or agent I would add the gallery or agent name. If it was to a company or organization I could add the company name.

8. Include a portfolio

Finally, include a link to your online portfolio or attach a few images of your artwork to your CV.

This will give potential employers or clients a chance to see your work and get a sense of your style.

As I have been getting feedback on how my work was showing up on my website I have slowly, very slowly lol, trying to get my online gallery looking more polished. This way I can showcase myself better and give the right representation to my work.

In closing remember to keep your artist CV concise and to the point. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments, and don't be afraid to showcase your unique perspective as a self-taught artist. With these tips, I hope you can create a strong artist CV that will help you stand out in the art world.

Do you have anything to add to this list? or have any feedback? feel free to add a comment or drop an email.

Jackie ❤️


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