The Six Essential Artist Documents

Being an artist might seem to be all about the artwork. About drawing or painting or photographing or sculpting. But there’s a written aspect to being a writer which is just as important. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward to manage this side. As long as you keep it updated every year as you go, it’s fairly easy. So the key is to start now, and do your best to catch everything up to date, and then maintain it once a year. That way, when you need the information, it’s all organized and ready.

So, without further ado, here are the six essential artist documents that every artist should have, in order of complexity.


Business Card

Yup, that’s about as basic as it gets! A 3.5″ x 2″ rectangle. Every artist should have a business card. That way you can hand it to people at art shows, museums, or, heck, the grocery store, so they can learn more about you.

Creating an Artist Business Card


Artist Postcard

These pieces go by many names but they’re typically 4.25″ x 6″ in size. The larger space gives the artist more room to talk about what their art is about and to show a larger view of their work. Where business cards are handed around at events, the artist postcard is traditionally tucked into the back of 8×10 bagged bin photos and the like.

Creating an Artist Postcard


 Artist Statement

Intended to be read by the viewers of a piece or group of art, the artist’s statement is a conversational work three to four paragraphs long which describes the artist’s point of view about what they are offering.

Writing an Artist’s Statement


Artist Show Listing

This is generally maintained for the artist’s own sanity :). It’s a chronological list of each show the artist is in. It lists if the show is juried or non-juried, the names of the works submitted, and the results. This can be useful to have for a variety of reasons – and it’s a royal nightmare to recreate from memory later on.

Maintaining an Artist Show Listing


Artist Resume

The artist resume is primarily used when an artist wants to request participation in a gallery’s space either as part of a group show or for a standalone project. Many galleries require an artist resume to help them decide who is “worthy” of taking up their space.

Writing an Artist Resume


Artist Curriculum Vitae

This is the ultimate of the documents. Also known as an artist’s CV, this is primarily intended for becoming part of academia. An artist CV lists every single thing an artist has ever done that relates to the world of art, from start to finish. It is the complete dossier of an artist’s life.

Writing an Artist Curriculum Vitae


Let us know if you have any comments on or additions to this list!