Artist Tip – The Artist Website

Simply put, an artist’s website is their most important marketing tool.  It is where your entire portfolio resides on the internet–where anyone globally can access and learn about your work. Therefore, it should be simple, professional, and comprehensive.

I have seen many artist websites, some are absolute nightmares, some incomplete, some neglected, some only have a facebook page (and sometimes only personal ones at that) and some are pretty damn good.  There are crucial elements that every artist needs on their website:

– A custom URL – Use a variation of your name or studio name.  This will make it easier for people who are looking for you to find the site.

– “HOME” – The landing page is the introduction to your site so make it powerful and concise. Welcome visitors to your page with a short introductory paragraph and some images.   Make sure to have a sentence that states your location and that you are a contemporary artist, painter, sculptor, etc. (This is for search purposes, which I will discuss a bit below).  You can also include links to all of your social media on the home page.  Hopefully your site will allow your contact information to display on every page, but at the least put it on the homepage, and possibly create a separate page for all your contact methods.

– “ABOUT” – Here you can create one page that includes your focused artist statement, bio, and CV or you can create “child” pages for each element.  This depends on the length of your materials, so use your best judgment.  Images of you, your studio, and exhibitions are good on these pages.

– The artwork pages or galleries – Of course this is where you want your visitors to land.  I do not suggest having images of every work you have ever created on your website, especially if you have been making for a long time. Break your work up into time periods, separate themes (bodies), or even media.  Some artists only show their newest work on their website. This is a judgment call too but make sure your categories are clearly defined. The newest work should be at the top of your page or list of pages.  Make sure to list the title, date, media, size, and PRICE of each work on your website. If you want people to inquire or purchase from you, tell them how much and if you will do a payment plan.  Very few people will contact you if they do not know how much they might be spending, the social semantics of “if we have to ask we cannot afford it” still holds true to many people.

BLOG – Yes, it is a must.  Use your blog to post news about your art including new works, works in progress, exhibitions, ideas, shows or artists that inspire you–anything that keeps fresh content on your site. Dedicate a few hours a week to posting updates that automatically go on to your social media as well so you extend your reach.

CONTACT – If you choose to have a completely separate contact page make sure to include your email address, phone number (if you want calls), and links to all your social media.

These “rules” are meant for artists that are directly marketing themselves, if an artist is represented by a gallery there may need to be some changes based on the contract.  It is essential you honor your contract and use your website to promote your work in your gallery’s inventory.

A little about search… Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term used a lot in marketing and pushed by all sorts of sales people that want you to pay them to make your site #1.  This is not important for a solo artist.  Yes, you want people to find you but if they don’t know your name already, you could spend thousands of dollars on SEO, keywords, tags, and link building and still not be found in searches. So, here are a few important things that help with search and boost the importance of the information on your website.

– Use a platform already built for SEO such as wordpress, squarespace, weebly, or wix.

– Use text on as many pages as possible, search engines cannot find images.  Some keywords are great.  The first sentence on your homepage stating your name, location, and that you are a contemporary artist is great for search.

– Share links to your pages on social media and encourage others to share them as well.  The more links to your website the easier search engines have to work to find it.

– Regularly post new content on your blog, search engines like new content.

If you have no idea how to build a website or want to make sure it is simple and easy to navigate let us know.  We cost a lot less than a web designer and can consult with you on building a simple, effective site!

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Artist Tip – Marketing Materials

I have talked a lot about creating a professional portfolio, website, and having your own noticeable brand.  These are all essential for applying to exhibitions and galleries, even they don’t require all of the materials, they will see the effort you put into your online presence and portfolio. That professionalism makes people take notice!

Once you are accepted into a show or gallery, then they have to market your work too, it takes a lot of work and time so if you provide them the materials that make it easier for them, you will be a rockstar in their minds.

Provide your written artist statement/bio/CV in a format they can easily add their branding. Make sure you’ve had them edited and looked over so there are not any typos and grammar issues. Also, have images of all of your artwork inventory ready for them, not only that they can use for web, print, and marketing but they may have clients who would like to see more of your work, so have it readily available to them.

My last post was about images but here are a few quick pointers:

Have digital files of high res (8 inches at 300 dpi), medium res (6 inches at 200 dpi), and low res (6 inches at 120 dpi) saved.  The high and medium res can be saved as TIFF files, and I recommend using PNG files for the lower res, they don’t degrade over time like JPGs.

 

If the gallery has these written and visual materials available on demand they provide them to media and clients easily, either via email or print. A practice I encourage galleries to do is to provide a comprehensive curatorial packet including all the written materials and a high quality image with artwork specs to every client with their purchase.  This is great for insurance purposes as well as provenance records.  The gallery brand should be on all materials since there is no telling where they might end up and who might see them.

Like I said, if you make it easier for them to compile the info and brand it, they will love you for it. As always if you need any assistance with developing your portfolio, website, or documenting your artwork please don  not hesitate to contact me.

  • Justin Germain

High Quality Images

Written materials are key to helping you attract people to your work and connect with it, hopefully leading to more sales.  But having high quality images of your work for your potential clients is of course of the utmost importance.  They have to see the image to consider purchasing it, let alone falling in love with it.  It is imperative that you have high quality images of your work for your website, marketing materials, and to send clients and exhibition organizers.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to digital artwork images.  Blurry images are the worst since they disregard all of the detail.  Miscolored images show that the artist did not take the time to quality check the images, and they deceive the viewer because it is not truthful in appearance.  The same goes for badly cropped, or uncropped images. Pixelated images on a website are not going to make a potential client purchase the work…  So here are a few pointers to ensure you have what you need to make great images of your work.

  • Use a digital camera with at least 10 megapixels to photograph your work, this will provide more clarity and detail.
  • If you do not have a lighting system that evenly distributes illumination on the work, take your photographs in natural light – in the shade on a bright day or when it is overcast is perfect.
  • Use a tripod to ensure no camera shake that causes blur.
  • Crop your images to the edges of the work for square 2 dimensional pieces; if the work is not square crop a square around it with equal gaps around the edges closest to the frame of the image.
  • 3 dimensional pieces can be photographed on a plain stand with a neutral color, white, or black background. Use a color that the work will stand out against.
  • Color correct and level correct with a post production program! Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. will make a big difference.
  • Quality check each image to ensure clarity and no blur.
  • If it is not right retake it!
  • Most cameras capture images at high dimensions, resize you images to 8 inches at the longest side and 300 dpi – this size is good for print materials
  • Resize and save a copy at 72 dpi – useful for sending in emails to press, galleries, and clients.
  • Resize and save a copy at 6 inches and 120 dpi – this should be your web size for posting on your website. Still decent clarity but not great for printing.  This keeps anyone from stealing the image for any useful purposes.  You may even want to add a watermark or copyright to the photo.
  • Create folders for each size and title the images with your last name, title, and dpi for greater organization.

If you are not comfortable with your photography skills or do not have the tools needed, camera, lighting, photoshop, etc. it is in your best interest to hire a professional.  In the long run the cost will far outweigh the loss of sales due to bad images.  I offer full service image capture and post production for $65 per hour, including post-production.

Essential Marketing Materials for Artists

Now that it is a new year, and almost a year into artistserv’s existence, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh some of our early posts.  Hopefully this will remind our followers of the importance having the basics, and to stop procrastinating.  If you have not started on these, make it a priority for 2016!

Focus on the essentials that every artist should have for marketing.  A lot of this will be “known” but it sets the stage for more detail, which I will address more individually in the future.

  • Your website is your most important marketing tool, it is the international headquarters of your business and should mimic your portfolio (see the portfolio section below) along with images of your work organized into groups, or “bodies of work”/ “series,” and a blog.  It should be clean and user-friendly, don’t get too creative with your design here, you want people to navigate easily.
  • Social media, at a minimum you should have:
    • a facebook page (for your art, separate from your personal page)
    • a twitter feed
    • an instagram account
    • a linkedin profile
  • Your portfolio should have at the least:
    • a clear, concise artist statement
    • separate statements for each body of work or series
    • your bio
    • your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or artist resume
    • high quality images of your work with a details list (medium, size, price, etc.).
    • The portfolio needs to be up to date so create it digitally in multiple formats (DOC, PDF, Presentation) so you can easily make additions as you make more work and get more shows!

Like I stated, I will address all of these details on their own (and in depth) in future posts.  In the meantime I suggest you review your materials and use these tips as a checklist.  Of course, many artists haven’t the time or desire to work on these materials, they would rather be in the studio, or maybe they lack confidence in their writing web skills.  Let me know, that is what I do for a living, and so you don’t have to.