What Is A Body of Work?

When I first began selling my art, I did a lot of research into everything that went into being an artist, a lot of research. When I first began networking in the art world, a lot of art professionals asked me questions about my “body of work” and at first, I thought they just meant all of my work, like everything I’ve ever made.

But that was not the case.

Consider a body of work like a series, multiple artworks revolving around the same theme, technique, concept, philosophy, etc. The series is unified and cohesive in whatever way you choose.

Bodies of work tend to be preferable for gallery owners or collectors because they speak to a narrative within your work. They show that you can plan things out and work within a specific context.

When you work within a series, it’s simple for the viewer to know where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. Viewers like patterns, recurring elements and themes, certain symbols.

As artists, sometimes we tend to create only the art we want to create, when we want to create it. We might make a portrait this week, a landscape the next, switching from one medium to another with nothing else to it. This can leave the viewer unsatisfied, they see you’ve tried all these things but where is the narrative? Where is the emphasis? What do you care about?

While it is normal to move around, to not be repetitive so as not to get bored, you should strive to create series of art to go deep into that experimentation. You want to try a new technique? Make ten pieces so you can achieve a level of mastery and greater exploration than you would have had you only tried it once.