First or Third Person Dilemma?

First or Third Person Dilemma?
Contributed by Neleisha Weerasinghe.

There is no flawless artist statement and bio supervisor who will come after you for breaking regulations that never existed (big sigh of relief)! You can’t go wrong unless you have a lot of typos, poor language, or tenses that aren’t aligned. When creating your artist statement and bio, here are some tips for which tenses to use and when.

Artist Bio

The bio section is all about you and your artistic achievements. It isn’t your personal narrative. It’s written from the perspective of a third person (otherwise, it would be an autobiography).

Write it backwards in time, noting that your most significant successes are those that occurred most recently. You can start a bio with a short summary paragraph.

Artist Statement

In contrast to your bio, which focuses on your achievements, your statement focuses on your work—specifically, the present direction of your work, rather than the history of how you arrived at this moment. It’s your chance to define a body of work before others define it for you based on their reactions to it. Because, it is a statement, it is written in the first person.

Exception for Websites

However, there is an exception to the rule of writing a biography in the third person, when the information is on your website, that is.

It’s fine to integrate your statement and your bio on an About the Artist page, and to put everything in third person. If you separate them, don’t call your statement a statement. A statement should always be written in the first person. Statements are made by a single person.

It’s also completely acceptable to write anything in the first person. In fact, it is okay for an artists’ ‘About’ page to be written in the first person because, come on, everyone knows you wrote it and it can be strange to speak about yourself in the third person.


Follow suggestions rather than following rules. Make whatever decisions are best for you and your business. What is your gut reaction to this situation? What do you enjoy writing the most? If the idea of writing in the first or third person makes you feel sick, don’t do it! Write in a style that allows you to sound like yourself while also allowing you to communicate everything you need to your audience.

Writing about your work is as personal as creating it and you have complete control over what works best for you.

Watch our video on this topic for further information: