Over the years I’ve had the privilege of helping dozens of artists write their Artist’s Statement/Bio/About Me pages. I’ve absolutely loved every single experience.
The truth is – writing about ourselves can be brutal and painful.
My favorite part in working with other artists ie pulling out little golden ‘nuggets’ that they never would have written about themselves. Creative projects they forgot about, artists who mentored them, schooling or classes they took that they forgot about or thought was ‘no big deal’.
Why is it so hard for us to write about ourselves?
Your Artist Statement is the story of your life. It’s all about you. And, it’s not at all about you. Confusing? Yes. But think about it. When we really click with someone that we meet for the first time, what is it that forms that connection? Isn’t it that something they say resonates with us? We ‘get’ what they’re saying. We ‘feel’ their pain. Or, we’ve been through something similar.
Tell your story and tell it proudly.
When I was researching for this blog post I set out to find artist statements that I really loved and took a look at some of the most successful artist’s websites of modern times. What I found was shocking. Lengthy diatribes of their accomplishments and accolades. Followed by long, rambling paragraphs outlining their experiences.
See for yourself:
Take a look at these two artists Artist’s Statement/Bio and see what you think.
Example #1 is Liu Wei a contemporary artist from China. Take a look at his Biography here.
Example #2 is Jessica Marie, an adorable watercolor artist who paints and also teaches courses online. See her About page here.
Now, be honest. Who do you want to connect with? Who do you want to follow on Instagram? I admit Liu’s art is interesting. I’m curious about what he might come up with next especially after looking at his Indigestion piece – a model of human excrement made from tar and his model of the parliament buildings made from dried beef gut but who do I want to follow and maybe even buy from? Jessica!!
You might object that Liu doesn’t need a fancy bio page, or necessarily to even connect with anyone. That might be true but for most of us, connecting with our customers is the key to making more sales, engaging a following, and growing our art business.
And THIS is why you’re about me page is so important to get right!
When potential customers view your second most visited page on your website, they do it for a reason. They want confirmation that you are the artist that best fits their needs, yes, but they also want to connect with you on a deeper level.
Owning your story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do. -Brene Brown
Your customers want to hear your story
Take a look at Jessica’s About page again. She immediately connects to her ideal clients by using questions to get you to think about your life and what sparks joy for you. For me, I liked – “Do you have a best friend with four legs who you spoil to pieces?” And yes, I do! Connection.
People aren’t touched emotionally by lists of schools you attended or awards you received but by your stories. A well-written story evokes emotion and stays with your reader. Emotion is what tells your body to pay attention. That something is happening and that you need to take action.
This is the sweet spot or key ingredient for writing an amazing, emotion grabbing artist statement.
Are you still feeling uncomfortable about putting yourself out there like that? I get it. In helping artists with their about me page I have seen some incredible resistance and seen first hand how triggering this can be.
This is how I like to explain it to artists. Early in my career, I used a lot of business cards. I left them everywhere and would even leave stacks of them with interior designers so they could pass them out. I still have a box of 500 in my closet that I haven’t used in years. I don’t use them anymore because I have an about me page. This IS the new business card!
What would you think of a contractor who came to give you a bid but didn’t have business cards?
You might think they weren’t very serious about their work. The term ‘fly by night’ might pop into your head. Would you hire them? I wouldn’t. Do we want our customers to think of us that way?
Is this just a hobby for you or do you really want this to be your business?
That is a very important question for you to consider. If you’re really struggling with this the answer might be NO. And if it is no, then it’s time to do some thinking or journaling on what is holding you back.
Do you need to work through some childhood resistance to having a business or making money with your art? Is there a comment someone made about your art that keeps running through your head? If so, identifying it is key.
My ‘About me page’ step-by-step plan
During my research on ‘About me pages’, I discovered patterns on pages that appealed to me. Certain people I felt a connection with, and others that I did not. I analyzed the differences and developed a simple, step-by-step process for pulling out all the right information. Then, mapping out what is important and what is not.
Now that you’re ready to get serious and sit down to write your artist’s statement, or really any about me page, whatever your profession, let me share with you the step-by-step system that I use when working with an artist.
I hope this helps you in your adventures as an artistic business owner. Remember, you CAN make a living selling your art online! It IS not only possible but with the right plan and website in place it can be enjoyable.
By the way, my name is Tracie and I help artists build beautiful websites, market their art and write strong Artists Statements. If you need help in any of those areas please email me and we can hop on a call to see if we are a good fit for working together. Let’s make those artistic dreams come true!!!