Online Tips for Artists

Brian Sherwin from MyArtSpace has created a list of tips for artists looking to be seen online. Some of his tips include..

  • Answer email that you receive about your art promptly.
  • Be smart about how you list your contact info.
  • Have a website or online community profile that is devoted to your artwork.
  • Create free accounts on online art communities.
  • Maintain an active blog for your art.
  • Establish yourself on social networking sites.

Read the rest of Brian’s artist tips over his My Art Space Blog. He’s also involved with the online art galleries at My Art Space and New York Art Exchange.

If I could give just ONE tip to an artist looking to create an online presence it would be to create your own website, with your own domain name, on your own web host, built by yourself. If you’re too cheap to have your own website, you probably aren’t that serious about being an artist.

If you’re only presence online is with a free service (Blogger, Geocities, etc..) or even an online art gallery that charges a monthly fee, you’re cheap and you don’t take your career as an artist seriously. I’m not saying don’t use free services or online galleries as they’re very useful networking tools for artists, but they should come after you have developed your own online portfolio WithYourOwnDomain.com.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. The free services remain customisable to a large degree. You can’t do large scale image hosting etc. but I wouldn’t discourage artists from getting online in whatever way possible as a start….

  2. Hi, Woopidoo

    Good advice. I would add:

    1. Before you start building your website, look at the criteria for good websites. Here’s mine CLICK.

    2. Look at other artists’ websites. (If you click the above link, you’ll find a winners page, which includes a number of award-winning artists’ websites. To read about a top US commercial scraperboard artist with a link to his website CLICK. I feature this artist regularly on my blog, because he sends me graphics of his latest project. (That’s another tip: use free advertising on friendly blogs.)

    3. While you’re still developing your website, join an online art community, such as the one above (Hi, Arty Ted), and ask members to view your website and post their opinions. That will stop you replicating a bad design, page after page.

    4. Once finished, submit your website for an award. Then you’ll get the brutal truth, but you need it! Beware, there are lots of easy-to-win Mickey Mouse awards. CLICK for my favourite joke award.

    A number of good award-givers have fallen by the wayside over the years. I can recommend two:
    Feebleminds Animated GIFs (owner a professional website designer)
    and mine CLICK.

    5. Create a blog to link to your website. Some big art projects do this and give day-by-day reports on how the work is progressing. Day-by-day may be too much, if you’re spending months painting something complicated. Your public doesn’t want a blow-by-blow account of your brushstokes! The beauty of a blog is that it’s much easier to update than most websites. (I know at least 2 artists whose sons write their websites, and when the son goes to college, dad is stuck!)

    6. Keep it simple. Keep it fast. Don’t try time-wasting and unnecessary Flash Player routines. Use XnView to compress your graphics to save memory and time. Research in the UK found that the average broadband user waits only 4 seconds for a page to load before getting bored and going elsewhere. 4 seconds! If your home page takes longer to load than that, it’s a bummer! There’s a lot of them around.

    7. Try your website in all browsers. IE6 may still be the top dog, but Firefox, Opera and others are snapping at its heels, and they read websites slightly differently. Crucial to artists is the different handling of ALT and TITLE. (I must update my website, because Firefox doesn’t read ALTs. It wants TITLE.)

    Gosh. I should have posted this on my own blog, instead of as a comment.

    Hey Woopidoo, I can handle A=Whatsit when I’m not being lazy!

  3. Yeah you might right Liam, discouraging any online presence until you have your own domain is a little harsh. But the problem is that artists add a few profiles to online art galleries and join a couple networking sites and think their work is done online.

    Youre not really online until you have your own website, with your own domain name, on your own web host.

    I think if you can’t invest in yourself as an artist you shouldnt be an artist.. or at least not expect collectors to pay for your work.

  4. Huh, yeah, it is post size Ian. Maybe I can let you use your own comment as a post ;-)

    I could also send the copyright police around :-P

    Kidding..

    Actually, it made me think I should create a post with my list of artist website loves and hates.

    I noticed you got the live link thing going too.

    Dion

  5. What happened to Arty Ted? Did you wipe him? Chuckle, chuckle.

    Liam Murray has taken his place while I was writing. And yes, I agree. My website is hosted on my ISP’s 15MB of free space. It takes up only 10Mg so far, but has a lot of pages and graphics.

    Where you and he might be in disgreement is over how the ISP handles your website design. My ISP (Tesco) allows you to upload your own source code, and this is what I want. Other ISPs give you a cheap and nasty website designer and demand you use only that. Useless.

    Trouble is, you don’t find which type of ISP you have until you join up and try to make your own website. I was lucky in my choice.

  6. Umm, was it a link to another site? I did delete something on this post.

    Basically, if it’s from a person I don’t know and just looks like theyre promoting their site I delete it without thinking. Otherwise the post quickly fills up with links to sites that have nothing to do with the topic of the post.

    I can be ruthless, but if I thought too much about every comment I deleted I would never get anything done.

    He should at least try and make the comment look like it has something to do with the post and the link might not be deleted.

    And, a good web host can be found for about $10 per month and a domain name can be found for $10 per year, which is peanuts. If an artist can’t afford $10 per month he/she should eat less so he/she can afford it.

  7. Coxsoft – I’m assuming that’s an inside joke, otherwise you’ll have to enlighten me?

    I’m a newbie to this blog although not to blogging itself – I dabbled in political blogging reasonably successfully for a couple of years (as Cassilis) but found it increasingly frustrating. I’m back now under my own name just blogging about what interests me – be it politics or art.

    My blog is on blogger and I have a very cheap little hosting package and a knocked off copy of Dreamweaver – that’s enough to get you a reasonably ‘pro’ looking online presence…

  8. Here Here!

  9. I can’t say it’s terribly surprising that an editor at myartspace would suggest joining arts-related social networking hubs, but I find it difficult to believe doing so makes all that much of a difference, in the vast majority of cases.

    I concur that, of all things one can be doing online (and remembering that online activities are no substitute for the real-world networking and promotion that artists have engaged in for decades) the most important thing is to have one’s website. Ideally one that is clear, easy to navigate, not Flash-based, and doesn’t attempt to resize a viewer’s browser window (to name only a few of my own pet peeves). But, really, the point of that is as much about search engine presence as anything else:

    We’re not yet at a point where it’s absolutely standard practice for an artist to have his or her own website. We’re moving towards that reality, certainly, but there are still many people for whom the artist website (as opposed to a profile at a representing gallery) looks amateurish or desperate. What having one does ensure, though, is that when somebody googles your name, they find information about you right off the hop. So long as that’s accomplished, and so long as the first hit for your name isn’t something embarrassing (say, a deviantart page), you’re probably fine.

    The blog idea is an interesting one; blogs certainly do generate a great deal more search engine action than other kinds of websites, but, again, I’m not sure how or if this would necessarily help one, in and of itself.

    Oh, right. Being on Gawker Artists ran up my traffic quite a bit. To no discernible end, but if people like pageviews, it’s there.

    Ooh. And thanks to Coxsoft Art for that unexpected blast of 1996.

  10. “…create your own website, with your own domain name, on your own web host, built by yourself. If you’re too cheap to have your own website, you probably aren’t that serious…”

    This is good advice for ANY entrepreneur. Having MyCoolBusiness126@aol.com makes you look slightly unprofessional at best, and fly-by-night or not to be taken seriously at worst.

  11. Seems few older artists, and guess i am one at 49, have websites, those under 35 seem to all have one, its a generation thing, different ways of doing things. Some things we gotta get over our Luddite prejudices, kicking and screaming for me.

    But few galleries or organizations do the common courtesy of replying to inquiries, I always reply in thanks when I get a reply, whther affirmative or not. Manner and character do count, something lost on our selfabsorbed age.

    I even replied to a Cardinal. Wrote to the Vatican about any kind of possible commission for some of my latest studies, and got a reply from the head dude himself, the Cardinal in charge of Cultural affairs, saying he was handing the info over to his Secretary, in charge of the 2011 Vatican Venice Bienneal pavilion, go figure. Probably will take awhile and not expecting much, but did write back, and explaining how getting in Contemporary Art is not a good idea, that a new art would arise, confronting mans responsiblities, to his fellow man, nature, and God. The three things that make true creative art. I think he may have liked it.

    Pays to be nice, but I never count on anything. Except on getting rid of the current wave of academic art, which has impaled itself on the death pyre it served, the very people who created our current economic situation were its patrons.

    Now, you know I cant have my own blog, get enough ahte jsut on here and a few others, not appreciated by Winkleboy and his band of merry effeminant academically brainwashed fools, Artfaggirl has a curious fascianation with me, deletes half and posts half, funny. Brian posts most, giving em hell at Guardian and LA Times. Got a real reputation, a bad one, one I richly deserve, and have earned with a smile. Gotta put a mirror up to the nonsense, the clothing vanishes immediately once one looks from the outside.

    Once we got this move done, putting my processor back together now, getting plumbing in, need drains, air for the Lightjet, ahve inet connections and server going, and we are back in business. Then back to writing Art and Purpose, something completely lacking over the last half century, and so the uselessness of Contemporary “art”.

    got my own website, but hard to update. use Brians and artslant as well. Things are changing, but will take time, back to the basics, the fundamentlas of art, tehcnique and life. Where all true creativity lies. trying to be “new” never is. Being cool is not trying to be, but seeking truth, newness will arise if necessary. Cant be forced, as all these frontin artistes do.

    You know the theme, will continue into the new year.

    art collegia delenda est

  12. It is important to have a personal website– I’ve mentioned that on the Myartspace Blog before– but not everyone is skilled at creating one or maintaining one if something goes wrong. For the interview series on the Myartspace Blog I view hundreds of websites per day and you can tell if someone is not really sure what they are doing. Which can look unprofessional depending on who is viewing your site.

    Unfortunately, if you hire someone to build a site you will probably get cheated if you don‘t have knowledge of website design. So in that sense online art communities are a good route to go if only to meet other artists online and obtain feedback about starting a personal website.

    That said, online art communities that offer free accounts are good for bringing traffic to your personal website if you have one. The same can be said for other sites like Facebook and Myspace. In most cases an online art community with social networking features will have far more traffic than your personal website– which is something you can take advantage of.

    Also, selecting a free art community profile as the hub of your online activity– with other free profiles linking back to that specific account– is the next best thing if you don’t have a personal website. The point is to mesh your activity together in order to bring the most traffic you can to the site you are focused on the most.

    Having a blog devoted to your art is crucial. It can be a powerful resource for bringing more traffic to your personal site as well as the online profiles that you maintain.

  13. Steven said, “I concur that, of all things one can be doing online (and remembering that online activities are no substitute for the real-world networking and promotion that artists have engaged in for decades) the most important thing is to have one’s website.”

    This reply is mainly about this line, “and remembering that online activities are no substitute for the real-world networking and promotion that artists have engaged in for decades”. That is true to a point. However, the business side of being an artist is changing just as other forms of business have changed due to the internet.

    I have come to know hundreds of artists, curators, gallery owners, and art collectors due to my online activities. I have been involved with art exhibits that would not have happened had I not been online. If I had not been online I would have never had communication with Sylvia Sleigh or Vito Acconci. I would have never received feedback from Thornton Willis and a number of other artists who I find inspirational.

    In that sense, the internet has opened a world of opportunities that artists would not have had in the past. We can openly communicate with fellow artists, potential buyers and other interested parties online– which might be one reason why some traditionalists of the art market scoff at the internet.

    I think artists today are utilizing the net more than traditional methods of exposure and marketing. For example, an artist is more apt to establish an e-letter than to pay for sending snailmail invites. At least that is what I’ve observed– especially in the last two years.

  14. Dion,

    Off topic, but do you get hit with bot Viagra ad comments and World Peace comments? I’ve also seen one for some mental health site. Actually, I’m not sure if they are bot comments or just someone actively seeking blogs to post their spam on.

  15. Youre almost half a century Donald ;-)
    I’m almost 33 and probably can’t call myself young anymore. I’m just young compared to old.

    Brian, I agree that there’s some bad personal artist websites out there. The main mistake I think artists make with websites is that they put too many bells and whistles on their site.

    It is worth persevering though. Dreamweaver isn’t that hard to figure out and there’s plenty of web design tutorials online, so there’s no excuses.

    When you have your own professional site up, you can then go create free online gallery profiles that hopefully allow you to point a link back to your domain.

    If I’m interested in an artist from an online art gallery, the first thing I do is look for their own personal website. If they don’t have one my search stops.

    Also, I get hit with all kinds of spam comments Brian. Viagra and penis enlargement pills are easy to spot and delete, it’s the more subtle ones that I don’t like.

    Basically if there’s a link in a comment and I don’t know the person, the chances of it being deleted are increased dramatically.

  16. I agree. Three music tracks playing at the same time and a lot of digital bling can really distract from the viewing experience. I also find a lot of sites that have broken images on them.

    I’d say the most important thing about having a personal website is to keep it updated or at least keep an eye on it. I think a lot of people slap up a site never to pay much attention to it from that point on. That can be a huge mistake.

    It is also important to spread the link to your site around as much as you can. As mentioned, having a blog and using a resource like Pingomatic can be good for that.

  17. I am still blaming my parents for my cheapness. :-)

    Thanks for the info and links.

  18. dfimagery.com says:

    Thanks for reminding me Dion. Us Taureans dont take kindly to reminding, our memories are bad enough as is. you third of a century old Aussie you.

    But I have picked up a few tricks and more than enough interesting times, as in the Chinese curse. Life can be a bitch, then it gets better. Thats always the hope. Sorta like our current economic status. Oh, I know, dont need any reminding about that. Its everywhere, but at least I got a job, and may even help others sometime, but my kid mentoring basketball coaching days are over. Watching them at UCLA, Stanford, Louisville, Boise St. and the pros.

    But my biological is being bitch, it does get better, right? Good thing I adopted, sheeesh.

    art collegia delenda est, us old folgies remember when they were not just unnecessary, but a hindrance, still are.

  19. Considering that you can get a domain name for less than $10…that’s PER YEAR, there’s really little excuse for not having your own. You can even buy a domain name and forward it to a free blog while you’re building your website. Plus you can can use your own .com in your email address instead of using a Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL email

  20. Donald Frazell says:

    There is obviously alot of conflict in these names. Reading about Robert Grahams funeral in the LA Times, the link they give goes to some thrid rate sculptor in Houston. This is why “old” guys like me dont like it all that much, jsut a big characterless phone book usually, only seldom does one come across something worth a damn. This site is great, but havent come across much. Just good for shooting off emails, rather than snail mail.

    Just more stuff, with quality a smaller and smaller percentage of stuff. Got better things to do, like tend my garden, than search endlessly and usually, futiley.

    And Brian, I got a shoe to throw at you. OK, make it slipper.

    art collegia delenda est

  21. People take themselves too seriously and think too much of themselves, or it is the exact opposite of this,

  22. Donald Frazell says:

    Some take art seriously, and artistes are the direct opposite of this.

    art collegia delenda est

  23. I believe the main problem that most new artists are facing is the amount of time needed to successfully promote art online.

    I think that to become a successful artist one should spend a few years concentrating on online art marketing to find out what works and what does not in order to maximize the return of time invested in promotion.

    I recently wrote about effective art promotion online which covers different promotional tactics:

    http://www.abstractart.ws/articles/art-promotion-online.html

    Successful art promotion is a lot of work and is doable only by those who are serious enough about making a living selling their art.

  24. I think there is more than enough time in most cases. Honestly, how many hours does the average person spend watching TV? Instead of doing that… get online and promote. Just a thought.

  25. if you really want to see how it’s done, visit;

    http://www.kellymoore.net/

    best artist website I ever visited

  26. Anonymous says:

    The key is not to neglect your website. It doesn’t matter if it is a large gallery pofolio website like http://www.freeman.boundlessgallery.com But i agree that getting your own website boost your public image.

Speak Your Mind