Friday Tips: Resumes


It is time we discussed the necessity of the resume, and what to list on it.  If you feel you haven’t yet accomplished enough to make for an impressive resume, then writing a biography may be better suited to your career at this stage.  But whether you feel you’re ready to write a resume or not, I’d like for you to read through this section.  It will likely give you several ideas about how to describe your work, and may also teach you a lesson or two about promotion. 

By the way, please do not look down on the word “promotion.”  Picasso was a master promoter.  So was Diego Rivera.  So was Andy Warhol (although I suspect that getting shot was outside the realm of his plans).  It’s a part of the business.  It can be a very distasteful part if handled in the Barnum and Bailey sense, or it can be a very sophisticated aspect if handled with integrity and intelligence.  I personally see it as an essential means of informing my clients about the worth of my artists, which in turn assists me in helping my artists make a  living.  Needless to say, I’m pretty keen on both points.

As for resumes, I’ve printed below what a typical one looks like–this for a sculptor who works in stainless steel.  Some of the achievements I’ve listed are substantial, some are not.  I list them all regardless, since as a whole they seem more impressive than they do individually.  Use this format as a guide for your own resume if you like, or formulate your own.  So long as the thing reads well, it should do just fine.


1955 Degree in Sculpture Design, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO. 
1962 Studied sculpture under Richard Stankewicz, New York, NY.

Juried Exhibitions: 
1992 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO. 
1993 LauMeirer Contemporary Craft Show, St. Louis, MO.
1993-97 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO.
1998 Two-Man Show, Shidoni Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
1999 One-Man Show, Leopold Gallery, Kansas City, MO.
1999 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO.
2000 Two-Man Show, Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM.
2000 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO.
2001 One-Man Show, Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM.
2002 One-Man Show, Leopold Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2002 Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO
2003 One-Man Show, Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM
2004 One-Man Show, Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM
2005 One-Man Show, Leopold Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2006 One-Man Show, Adieb Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM
2007 Boston Museum of Fine Art

Leopold Gallery; Kansas City, MO
Adieb Khadoure Fine Art; Santa Fe, NM
Savage Stephens Gallery; Carmel, CA

Select Commissions:
1994 “Monolith in Steel,” Private Collector, Denver, CO.
1996 “Westward,” Private Collector, Miami, FL.
1996 “The Journey,” Private Collector, Las Vegas, NV.
1996 “Elevators, Wheat” Kansas City Board of Trade, Kansas City, MO
1997 “Pathfinder,” Private Collector, Santa Fe, NM.
1998 “Pierce the Sky,” Paul Mueller Co., Springfield, MO.
1998 “Hemisphere in Steel,” Douglas Adams (author), London, U.K.
1999 “Ripened Grain,” DeBruce Grain, Kansas City, MO.
2000 “Floating Sphere,” Private Collection, San Diego, CA.
2001 “Design and Innovation,” Mack Truck, Bethlehem, PA.
2001 “Picasso’s Eye,” Private Collection, Boston, MA.
2002 “Design and Innovation,”  Overland Park Convention Center,   O.P., KS
2003 “Giving More Than You Take,” Osborne Plaza.  Olathe, KS.
2004 “Stellar Outpost,” Private Collector, San Diego, CA.
2005 “Horizon Interrupted,” Loveland Sculpture Garden, Loveland, CO.
2006 “Sphere,” H&R Block; Kansas City, MO

2006 Not By Bread Alone, Paperback Book
2005 Southwest Art Magazine
2003 Kansas City Star Magazine
2001 Kansas City Star

This resume fits onto one page, and quickly informs the reader of the sculptor’s accomplishments.  Do I mention that he very nearly gave away his first commission, “Molamphy Memorial,” as well as his second, “Inner Section”? No.  Nor do I ever mention his sacrifices, or how tough the road was, or how numerous the setbacks.  The only thing I indicate is how successful he is now.  Besides, once I took on his career, his prices rose, his belief in himself shot up, his designs became bolder, and now he’s one of my most sought-after artists.  In fact he has exhibit next September in the Boston Museum of Fine Art.  Now he and I can talk about his starvation years, but only because success has been achieved.  If we hadn’t achieved it yet, there’s no way I would discuss it.

In filling out your resume, you’ll likely have to use a similar tactic of making yourself seem more successful than you feel you are.  There is nothing wrong with this, so please feel no guilt. 

Example:  When the Beatles, still largely unknown in 1962, were preparing to leave Liverpool for an engagement in Germany, their manager printed up posters promoting a concert they were to give prior to their “European Tour.”  That tour was a long-term gig at a cheap club in downtown Hamburg, where they slept in a dank back room, and played eight hours a night for pennies–or pfennigs, if you prefer.  Still, did this type of promotion detract from the uniqueness of their music?  To the contrary, it helped their style to become better known.  Within two years they were on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the world of music, if not the world of youth, was changed forever.

If your work has true substance, and you know it has substance, these mild exaggerations do no one any harm.  It’s the work that counts; the promotion merely helps you to take it where you need to go.  So fill out the resume, exaggerating if you must, but never lying.  As the years go by you’ll achieve things of greater significance, making moot the need to exaggerate.  Of course it would be great if you never had to exaggerate at all, but rarely will you meet a successful artist who didn’t have to do the same when they were younger.  Very rarely.

9 thoughts on “Friday Tips: Resumes

  1. I’ve always wondered what a gallery director thinks when they DON’T see anything listed under Education. I don’t have a formal art education so most of the time I’ve just made a statement in that area about my ongoing self education. I don’t place it at the top of my resume either.

    What would you suggest to an artist who has been exhibiting for many years on this point?

  2. I find that experience, acceptance in juried exhibits, and representation by a credible gallery are of greater substance than where an artist went to school, whether or not they even went to school, and what they studied. As a dealer, I’m always most interested in what an artist is creating now, and in what they’ve created in the past. I don’t even care if they’re self-taught, so long as the work is exceptional. Besides, “self-taught” can place an artist in some very good company, beginning with that tortured Dutchman.

  3. Pingback: Art Biz Blog

  4. Really interesting article thankyou, I am wondering, how do you recommend listing online achievements? awards exhibitions and so forth..

  5. You list these items under Select Awards, or something similar. Naturally you want them to have some real merit. Neah, I take that back.

    Jim Brothers once created, with a friend, a sculpture exhibition. I mean they brought in qualified judges and all that, so it was legitimate, but still they were the organizers. The upshot? Jim won an award. That was in 1988. The secondary upshot? He now has a monument in the Capitol Building in DC. But of course the latter wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t have true talent, hadn’t spent years in developing that talent, and if I hadn’t spent years in promoting same.

  6. This article is very helpful! It reminded me of some art experiences (commisions and collections) that I had omited because I considered them insignificant. Now I’m going to list them in my resume!


  7. This is a great article. I’ve been very hesitant to even attempt an artist resume for many reasons. This article is very helpful on alot of different levels, and JUST the push I need.

  8. Very insightful article. I’m curious what you would recommend for emerging artists that are in the very beginning stages of sharing their work, and thus have only one or two small local exhibitions/shows to list in their resume? The debacle is this: I have figured I would need to build more history before crafting a resume…but to build more history I often need a resume. I have many exhibitions behind me in other art (theater) and now I am engaged in fine art photography. I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to list these somewhat un-related histories.

Leave a Reply