Why do you need an artist resume? Because, as an artist, if you want to pitch to a gallery, museum, residential art program, or commercial collaboration, you will need a resume to use in your proposals for these professional venues. Unlike a business resume which is better limited to one page, an art resume can be multiple pages to include all of your artistic professional experiences and achievements. That being said, your resume should still follow a clear format to make it easier for your audience to read. The resume should be well-organized and include all the highlights.
What should you include in your art resume?
Unsplash: Markus Winkler
You should prepare a master copy of your resume containing all the artistic experience you have, and then create different versions tailored to target different institution needs. The institutes might receive hundreds of art resumes every single day, so you must make sure your resume is straightforward. Use 10-12 point type with legible typefaces, such as Times New Roman or Baskerville to save your reader from reading a block of text. When listing each item, keep the items in each category in reverse chronological order. The sections should be included:
- Personal information:
This section needs to include all your personal information so the institute can contact you easily.
- Legal name or pseudonym in all caps and larger bold font
- Birth year
- Address including Country: Studio address or any address easy to contact
- Email address: preferred working email address
- Phone: preferred number to contact you
- Personal Website URL: to direct the institute to your site
You should write this section on top of your resume as your header.
Following the artist information should be a list of all of your professional education experiences and residential programs. The year should be your graduation year; if you are currently in the program, write the prospective graduation year and BFA or MFA candidate in the bulletin points. All your short-term, non-full-time and residential programs should be listed here as well.
- 2019 ABC School of Sculpture and Installation, Paris, France
- 2015 MFA in Painting, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- 2010 BFA in Painting, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The exhibition section is the most important part of your whole resume. Typically the Exhibition should be listed before the Rewards. If you are a young artist who has hosted less than ten exhibitions, you should list all your exhibitions in reverse chronological order, however, if you have hosted more than ten exhibitions, you should cluster your solo shows and group shows separately with the solo show section first. You should list all your exhibitions here unless your resume goes over ten pages.
Example - Less than 10 Exhibitions
- 2020 Exhibition Name, Solo/Group Exhibition, Museum/Gallery, Location
- 2019 Exhibition Name, Solo Exhibition, Title, Museum/Gallery Name, Location
Example - More than 10 Exhibitions
- 2020 Exhibition Name, Museum/Gallery, Location
- 2019 Exhibition Name, Museum/Gallery, Location
i. Solo Exhibition
- 2019 Exhibition Name, Museum/Gallery, Location
- 2018 Exhibition Name, Museum/Gallery, Location
ii. Group Exhibition
You should list all your projects in this section, including experimental projects, public art projects, community projects, collaboration projects with other artists, and collaborations with brands and organizations. If you have a strong record or want to seek opportunities for a particular type of project, you can add a separate section. For example, suppose you want to highlight your collaboration projects with brands and organizations, you should add a section called “Collaborations.” Likewise, if you want to highlight your community projects, you can add a section called “Community Projects.”
- 2020 Project Name, Project Content, Collaborator/Organizer, Location
- 2019 Project Name, Project Content, Collaborator/Organizer, Location
If applicable, include the commission works details in this section. If you have multiple commission works, categorize them into public and private collections. This section adds a brief description of the pieces, including name, size, material, location.
- Year, Artwork name, description, location
If your artwork is included in the collections of museums or famous collectors, include it in your resume. You should only list that high-profile public, institutes, corporate and private collectors. Do not include your family members unless they are famous collectors. If you want to highlight your popularity nationally or internationally, you can also mention your artworks are being collected in different countries or states by listing those names down.
- Year, Collector Name, Location
- Awards and grants
Any fellowship, rewards, grants, and honors could be listed here. Don’t let the most important and recent one buried in a long list -- try to emphasize those influential ones. If you are a younger artist with fewer awards, you can also list out your nominations, and consider changing the title to “Award and Honors”. If you are a more developed artist and have a lot, do not list all of them -- keep them under half of the page, and change the section title to “Selected Awards”.
- Year, Award Name, Organization, Location
The section is about the document that your featured interviews, print media, online publications, journals, and your essays. You should list all those important ones in your career here.
- Article/journal name (hyperlink if applicable), Author Name, Publication House/Magazine/Journal, Issue/Cover/Volume Number, Date
- Teaching and lecture experience:
Many artists are also taking full-time or part-time teaching roles at institutes. Including these experience will highly increase an artist’ credibility and academic authenticity
- Role, School/Institution, City, State/Country
- Other (if applicable)
- Gallery affiliation or group member
Depend on the individual strengths, and you can rearrange the order of categories or modify the sections slightly. For instance, a younger artist’s education experience might be more attractive, and combining the group and solo exhibition together might be better than separating them. Proofread through everything once your master resume is done. Just keep in mind that many times, you don’t need to list out everything. Depend on the institute and events, prioritize showing the experience that can make you shine.
Typical mistakes many people make
- Keep your resume professional and do not include art directly on your resume
Although artists need a lot of creativity, an artist’s resume is for professional purposes only. Your art is telling your personality, so the resume should describe more objective facts. Eliminating the deceiptional words in your art resume, and a portrait drawing is also a bad idea.
- Font Size and format
10-12 is the perfect type size. Anything too small will give the reader a headache. If the font is too big, it is not professional enough. Keep the font size and style consistent throughout your resume. Using Bold and italic to differentiate the sections or subjects. Avoid using exotic typefaces that may detract from the content. The margin for your document should be 0.5” to 1”
- Avoid Abbreviations
Some artistic abbreviations, no matter its institute name or program name (except BFA/MFA), might cause some confusion for readers. Make sure different readers would understand your article.
- Create more than one copy of your resume
Just like how your artworks tell different stories to different audiences, your resume should also be tailored to different readers. The best practise for our artist is to save a master copy of your resume to list every experience in your artist career so far, and then depending on what you are using it for , modified accordingly. For example, if you are trying to capture a brand's commercial opportunities, you should pay more attention to exhibition, collaboration and media exposure.
- Do not list items unrelated to your art career
It happens mostly with art students and artists in the early stage. Some people list their part-time jobs in their resume -- don’t do that. Only keep information relevant to your art career on your resume.
- Find someone to read and edit your resume. It is hard to have a perfect resume in the very beginning. Get feedback from professionals in the art industry and your fellow artists.
- Keep your resume updated! It is easy to forget things if you don’t continue writing them down as they happen.
To wrap up, let’s brush up on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far…
- Organize your resume based on your strengths and your career goals
- Continuously update the master copy of your resume - it will be easier than trying to remember all of the things you have done throughout your career
- When sending your resume to institutions, tailor it to their interests and your goals with working with them
At RevArt, we’re committed to advance artist’s careers. Download a free edible art resume template. Or, book a free consultation session with our art agents.