How to Write an Artist CV (With Examples)
Updated 24 July 2023
When applying for any job, it is important to highlight all your strengths and personal achievements. Writing a CV helps you show your qualifications and skills to demonstrate why you are an ideal candidate for the job. In the following article, we discuss the importance of an artist CV and provide instructions and tips on how to create one.
What is an artist CV?
An artist CV is a comprehensive record of all your academic activities and artistic accomplishments. It details your professional experience and qualifications, and you can use it when applying for various professional pursuits. As an artist, some examples of when you may use a CV include when applying for:
A CV for an artist differs slightly from a traditional CV. There are some sections both types of CVs should include, such as your name and surname, contact information, education, professional experience, skills and qualifications. However, the experience sections may appear differently on your CV as an artist because you may separate your experiences into individual smaller sections, such as exhibitions, commissions or collections.
How to write an artist CV
Follow these steps to create your CV:
1. Determine the format
Choose a format that allows you to create a simple, readable CV that is easy for any individual to understand. For example, set up a document that uses white space to ensure the information is easy to read and select a professional font. Think about how you can use different font sizes or features, such as putting the font in boldface, to separate different sections.
Related: CV Format Guide: Examples and Tips
2. Add your personal information
Place your contact information at the top of your CV. Provide your first name and surname, phone number and email address. You may also include links for things like your personal website, an online portfolio or professional networking websites, but this is not a requirement.
Related: What To Include in Your CV
3. Write a personal statement
Consider including a personal statement or short profile to add to the top of your CV. Summarise your experience and qualifications, and highlight your strengths and most impressive achievements. Be sure to tailor what you include in this section based on the position you're applying for as a well-written statement may encourage the reader to learn more about you.
4. List your education
List your education experience in reverse chronological order. Begin with your most recent experience or achievement, and continue listing them in reverse order of occurrence. Include the year you earned the diploma, the diploma you earned, the institution you earned it from, the location of the institution and any special achievements you earned.
Here's an example of how to list your education:
2020 MFA in Visual Arts
Specialisation in painting
Queen's College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Thesis exhibition: "Reflections of Light: Exploration of Shadows and Figures"
5. Provide your professional appointments
Create a section detailing your experience working in academic settings, but if you don't have experience working in academia, you may omit the section. List each position in reverse chronological order by providing date ranges of the months and years you worked in each position. Add your specific title, the institution where you worked and the location of the institution. Remember to only provide your experience working in academia in this section because you can list your non-academic professional experiences in another section.
Here's an example of how to list your professional appointments:
Sep. 2019–Present Associate professor, Hackney College, London, United Kingdom
Sep. 2018–Aug. 2019 Guest lecturer, University of Northeast London, London, United Kingdom
May 2017–July 2019 Research associate, University of Southwest London, London, United Kingdom
6. Discuss your achievements
List your artistic achievements and recognitions, such as grants or awards you've received, and be sure to include short listings. Create an ordered list in reverse chronological order, and place the year at the beginning of each line. Provide the name of the organisation that recognised you, specify the piece recognised, and be sure to distinguish if you won or were on the shortlist.
Here's an example of how to list your achievements:
2021 Manchester Commission of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship for "Brighter Horizons at Dusk"
2020 Winner: Manchester Visual Arts Foundation Digital Art Award for "Contrast of the Mind and Heart"
2020 Shortlisted: Lion of Manchester Foundation Visual Artist Award for "Leap of Time and Space"
7. Add your record of exhibitions
Provide a comprehensive list of your exhibitions. Structure the exhibitions in reverse chronological order, and include the year, the title of the exhibition and the name and location of the gallery where you hosted it. It's important to distinguish the different types of exhibitions, such as group, solo or two-person exhibitions. Create subheadings for the different types of exhibitions, or simply add the type of exhibition in bold after the year but before the exhibition title in your list.
This is one of the most important sections of your CV, so it's essential for you to be thorough. However, if you're further in your career, you may limit how many exhibitions you list. Choose your exhibitions carefully, focusing on those you're proudest of or that are most impressive, and title this section "Selected Exhibitions" rather than "Exhibitions."
Here's an example of how to list your exhibitions:
2021 Solo Exhibition, Smiles of the Centuries, Winslow Gallery, Glasgow, United Kingdom
2020 Two-Person Exhibition, Dualities of the Mind, Scotland Arts Gallery, Glasgow, United Kingdom
2019 Group Exhibition, Messages from Today, Bakersfield Gallery, Glasgow, United Kingdom
8. Include optional sections
As an artist, the sections of your CV may vary based on your experience. Choose the sections that best represent your experience and qualifications. If you have the relevant experience, some sections you should include are:
List the commissions you've completed for corporations, government organisations or notable individuals. Consider designating each commission as a corporate, private or public commission. List each commission in reverse chronological order, and provide the year, commission designation, the piece's title, medium and size, who commissioned the piece and the location of the piece.
Here's an example of how to list commissions:
2020 Public commission, "Peacoat of Petals," mixed media mural, Liv's Boutique, Liverpool, United Kingdom
2019 Corporate commission, "A Look to the Future," photographic mural, Technology Partners Headquarters, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Provide information about collections that feature your work. Include the name and location of the collection. There is no need to organise this section chronologically or add date information, but you may choose to organise collections by corporate, private and public collections if the list is long.
Add a bibliography that includes all mentions of you in published works or the media listed in reverse chronological order. Include the author's name, title of the work, name of the publication and the publication date. Provide a link to online mentions, but be sure to verify the link works correctly before adding it.
Include a list of your published works about art, such as blogs, essays, journals or reviews. Provide the title of your work, the name of the publication and the publication date. If the article is available online, add a functional link.
Some experienced artists may have professional representation. Include a specific section of your resume to list your representation information. Provide the name and location of the gallery.
Non-academic work experience
Create a section for non-academic but art-related work experiences. This may be especially beneficial if you are in the early stages of your career. Consider titling this section "Related Experience" or something similar, and include work, volunteer or internship experiences in reverse chronological order. Include the date ranges worked with the months and years, your title and the name and location of where you worked.
Some artists consult on special projects or serve as members of boards of trustees or committees. Create a section to list your professional services experience in reverse chronological order. Provide the date or date range served, your title, the organisation and the location.
Membership to professional organisations may demonstrate your commitment to professional development or issues important to you. Focus on professional organisations related to art. List each organisation alphabetically.
Consider creating a section to highlight your unique skills, technical abilities or qualifications. Prioritise skills related to art or those that may distinguish you from other candidates. For example, you may list mediums you're experienced in, foreign languages you speak or additional certifications you've earned.
Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a CV
9. Proofread the document
Proofread your CV thoroughly to check for grammatical errors or clarity issues. Try reading each section aloud to ensure it makes sense, and consider asking someone you trust to review your work. Fix any mistakes, and review your work a final time.
10. Prepare the file
Review the position you're applying for to see if the organisation requests the CV as a specific type of file. Most positions request submitting your CV as a PDF, which allows the document to open on any device without affecting your formatting. However, it's also important to save your CV in the file type of the program you used to create it uses as this will allow you to update it easily in the future.
The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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