The first questions to ask yourself when preparing a resume are: For
whom is it intended? What do I want it to represent? Applying for a zoo
keepers job you might put down your experience carrying llamas across
the Andes but you would probably leave it out when apply for a position
as a hair stylist. For galleries you should have information they will
be interested in: previous exhibitions; articles on your work and so on
that serve to establish you as a serious artist/craftsperson in their
There are various ways of organizing the information to be presented.
When initially contacting a gallery the resume should be one page for
ease of reading. Therefore only the most relevant information to the gallery
owner is used. It is usual to have information listed in reverse chronological
order, that is with the most recent item first. One would thus have several
lines on education, exhibitions, awards, articles on your work and if
there is any room left a line or so on work experience if necessary. Point
form is another approach which lists your strong points.
This might be accompanied by xeroxes of important articles about you
or your work. If you have post cards of your work, or exhibition catalogs
available they should be included.
The resume, xeroxes etc. serve as an accompaniment to the letter of inquiry
personally addressed to the art gallery director or owner. (No "Dear
Sir" letters). The package is a "throwaway" and serves
as an introduction to the gallery. If the gallery is interested in seeing
slides they will contact you using a stamped self addressed post card
which you included that has a check box for 'would like to see slides'.
By keeping the packages weight down one saves money in the long run by
sending slides out only to those galleries really interested in seeing
your work. If asked to (or if you like, even on the initial contact to
the gallery) you can send the entire presentation package to the gallery
which should consist of:
- Strong re-usable packaging, preferably with peel and stick return
address labels enclosed.
- Personal letter to the director or curator
- Short resume and possibly full C.V.
- Slide page of 20 slides and descriptions. Alternatives include color
xeroxes of slides, or prints, color photo labels or other images.
- Statement on work.
- Xeroxes of articles, B/W photos as necessary.
- Return postage for package, separately labeled.
The letter should be a personally addressed, carefully done one. It may
touch on one's intentions in the work, reasons for seeking representation
at that particular gallery or more pragmatically one's prices for work.
A possible resume organization for presentation
to a gallery is:
Name and address at the top, Telephone number
Birthdate (if you feel it necessary)
Education (all dated items most recent first) Formal
art education, Academic education, Apprenticeship, work study programs
One-Man Shows Include date, gallery name,
Juried Exhibitions and Group Shows Student
exhibitions - if appropriate
Awards and Grants
Work in Collections
Articles about the Applicant (Include newspaper
articles) - Author's last name, first
name; article title, magazine or newspaper (underlined), pages, date
appropriate), Languages (if
Special skills or interests (if
appropriate) i.e. Something the gallery
owner can interest customers with: ".
. . and the artist collects poisonous snakes in their spare time".
It is a very good idea to pay for a professional typist to type your
resume as they are familiar with typing conventions, make few mistakes
and have a professional quality word processor which lends an air of respectability
to even a small resume. The copies made should be done on the best quality
copier available as the grainy, smeared copies so often produced from
over-used equipment detract from the resume. The resume should be in an
acetate or vinyl report binder to protect it and add to the presentation.
If you have your own computer you will be able to produce quality resumes
The page of numbered slides should have little red dots on the lower
left hand corner of each one and your name legible on each. The dot is
on the side of the slide which is the correct view of the object (ie you
can read the writing). With a black permanent marker draw a little arrow
in the top right hand corner of the slide to show which way is up. When
the slides are loaded in a carousel the red dot will show so the viewer
knows they have the slide upside down and oriented correctly for viewing.
Many people like labels on each slide listing title, materials, size,
date of the work. The slides, together with a page of numbered slide descriptions,
goes in another acetate or vinyl binder. All this looks slick, lets you
put less cramped information about each slide on the sheet and allows
the viewer to read about the slides while using a projector. Look at slide
library slides to learn the conventions for slides.
Xerox copies of important articles may be included as may some black
and white glossy prints (5" x 4" min.) for the gallery to use
in publicity should they decide to use your work. I have color post cards
of my work made every year and because they are cheap per unit i can include
color pictures of my work in every package. Color lends a curious validity
to one's work. Post cards have the advantage of being already half-tone
screened so that they serve admirably for publication in newspapers-a
fact that may need pointing out to the recipient. If one makes post cards
regularly then one can offer 500 or a thousand cards free to a gallery
as exhibition announcements as an incentive. Of course maybe you will
get them done by the gallery for free or be able to go halves on a card
for a specific show. Always ask for an overrun with such printings.
Finally, you should include return postage. This gives a professional
effect (you often get the stamps back) and is a bit of insurance for getting
your slides back.
All of the above is a guide, not the only way to do things. However,
the better your presentation the more seriously galleries take you and
the better your results. This holds especially true when applying for
an exhibition in a gallery.