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Crafting a Full and Memorable Artist CV

When selling yourself to commercial art buyers, building their confidence in you as a professional is extremely important. Some in the trade want emerging or mid-career artists, so don’t be concerned that your CV is light. 

And for those of you saying, “CV? Huh?” A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is like a resumé as it includes an overview of your professional history and achievements.

And although it looks similar to a resume, it contains elements which are only related to your artistic professional practice.

Here is how to compose one in 10 steps:

1.

Personal details. Keep it simple. CV is referenced as a biography not a resume.

  • Include contact information if you are sending out your CV to galleries in the hopes that they will reply:

  • Only include your website if it directly relates to your artistic practice.

2.

Education. This section of a CV relates to institutional education specifically in your field. If you do have post-secondary education in the arts field, include the school(s), the year(s) that you graduated, and the degree(s). If you do not have a degree in the visual arts field, leaving this section off of your CV is perfectly acceptable.

University of British Columbia, Master of Fine Arts, 2009

Emily Carr University, Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2005

3.

Exhibitions. Beginning with your most recent, you should list your exhibitions in a manner similar to this:

2011     Title of Show, Museum of Modern Art, NY

2010    I’ve been showing a lot lately, Galerie Espace, Montréal

If you have a large number of exhibitions split them into two or more categories: solo exhibitions, group exhibitions. You can weed out the exhibitions that are no longer relevant to your career. If you don’t have a lot of exhibitions, you are assuring the reader that they are not looking at a short list, but rather your most relevant history.

4.

Bibliography. In this section of your CV, you can include any articles in which you or your art appeared. If it is an article, it should include the author, title, publication, volume, publication date, and page number:

Coupland, Douglas: “Why I Love This Artwork”, Canadian Art Magazine, vol. 12, February 2011, p. 55-60

If your work appeared on the cover of a publication, you can format your information like this:

Canadian Art Magazine, Cover, vol. 12, February 2011

If writing about your artwork or your artwork itself appears in a book, the formatting should read:

Schwabsky, Barry (Compiler), Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting, Phiadon Press 2004, p. 78

5.

Collections. This portion lists public institutions which own your artwork. This could be museums, corporate collections, or even municipalities or agencies. They can simply be listed under the heading collections:

The Vancouver Art Gallery

The Canada Council Art Bank

If  several people own your artwork in private collections and you would like to note that, you can list them like this:

Private collection, Calgary AB

Private collection, Vancouver, BC

Best to write this:

Works held in private collections in Canada, the United States, Germany, and New Zealand.

6.

Texts. If you have any published writing relating to either your own practice or that of others, you can list it here in proper MLA format:

“This Artwork is Awesome”, Awesome exhibition catalogue, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2006.

7.

Teaching. List any teaching positions you may have had, either as a faculty member or as a guest lecturer or speaker. You should only include those related specifically to your practice or to visual arts.

8.

Curatorial projects. You can list them simply as the exhibition itself, or add on a brief explanation:

2011, “Drawings”, Richmond Art Gallery

2010, “Paintings”, Or Gallery, co-curated by Damian Hirst

9.

Awards and Grants. The list should all be specifically related to your artistic practice, unless it is extremely notable, such as the Nobel Peace Prize:

2011, Canada Council grant

2010, BC Arts Council grant

10.

Residencies. Artist’s residencies you may have attended are good to include on your CV as they show a dedication to your practice and to your professional development:

2010, Studio residency, School of Visual Arts, New York

What problems have YOU had creating a CV? Can you share a tip with your EC community? Use the COMMENT section below...

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