Successful artists should always have a press kit available to hand out or mail. This kit should also be accessible on their website for interested parties.
Just what is a press kit and why should an artist have one? A press kit is just what it sounds like, as it is a group of documents presenting the artist’s background, education, experience, past exhibitions, publishing achievements, competition awards along the artist’s current and future shows, etc. Electronic press kits should be part of an artist’s marketing and branding program. In addition, a press kit should also be included and made a part of the artist’s printed collateral materials.
People who would have an interest in an artist’s press kit are editors of both print and online publications, gallery owners, art reps and prospects who may be considering purchasing your art. This may sound like a challenge to perform and extremely difficult to compile this information but in reality, I will show you that you probably have the bulk of the information already. This information just has to be compiled, formatted and packaged correctly.
Here are the main components of an artist’s press kit:
1. Biography – As part of any press kit, website or collateral materials, an artist should have a well-written biography and most artists already have this information. It should be updated and closely edited.
2. Artist Statement – An artist statement is necessary to allow any interested party to help them understand why you are creating your art and what you are trying to achieve with your art. See link below to our article on how to write an artist statement. How to Write the Perfect Artist Statement.
3. Exhibitions & Shows – All past group or solo exhibitions and shows should be listed from newest to oldest. What if you have not been accepted into any shows? Say so. Many artists without any exhibition experience skip all of this information as they are embarrassed that they do not have any exhibition experience to show. To me, by not presenting any information will say to the reader “I am inexperienced and I do not want anyone to know.” Remember, every artist had to start somewhere and if you are a good artist, that is more important than anything else to other people.
4. Exhibition Awards - All past awards (no matter how important or not) from any exhibitions should be displayed and shows should be listed from newest to oldest.
5. Past Publicity – Any brochures, exhibition postcards, news releases should be made a part of the kit and embedded into the package.
6. Current Shows – This would be a list of any shows or exhibitions that you are currently a part of, at the time that the press kit is being sent out. Have links to that gallery exhibit as part of this section. Make sure that this information is always up to date.
7. Future Shows – This information would be about any future shows or exhibits that you have been accepted in to, at the time that the press kit was sent out. Include links to that gallery show (if any or the current competition if any) as part of this section. Make sure that this information is always up to date.
8. Current Press Releases – These would be current press releases announcing your current shows, awards, appearances, sales, talks and any future shows. Again, same as 6 and 7 above should be kept up to date and current. See our article on how to write a press release. How to Write a Press Release for Art Events.
9. Contact Information – This information would include name, mailing address, telephone and email address or any other way that someone can contact you.
10. Website – Include a direct link to your website, portfolio, and blog. If you do not have a working website (Facebook, My Space, and Flickr do not count) I can direct to you several online artist websites that are free and very easy to upload to and to administer.
Now, all of this information should be compiled and formatted in a way that makes it easy to read and clear to understand. I suggest having headings for each page or section. Try to have each section one page in length only. Pick a plain text such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. The idea is that you want this press kit very easy to read, such as an editor, gallery owner or art rep as they do not have a lot of time to read. However, a buyer of your art will take the time to read this information.
Finally, have someone (other than yourself) proofread your press kit very carefully for you. Save the press kit in a PDF file or at least a non-editable word.doc. In addition, have the press kit in printed form for any events and have the electronic version available online and part of your website too.
With a well-designed press kit, will make it easy for someone to learn more about you, your art and how to contact you quickly too. Good luck!