Studio Sixty Six

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A...

Posted on May 14, 2016

Artist websites. They are one of the most important tools an artist has in order to make their work visible these days. A website is also an important tool when it comes to showing curators, gallerists, and potential clients that you are a professional artist, that you are serious about your work, and in turn, that they should take it seriously too.

At Studio Sixty Six, we have found several of our artists through their artist websites, and we continue to scour the Internet for new, exciting emerging Canadian artists to include in our upcoming exhibition programmes. Through our experience, we have developed a list of tips for artists on how to best present their work on their artist website.

When it comes to designing your artist website, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

// BASIC STRUCTURE + CONTENT.

Artist websites typically follow a certain structure and they usually include the following pages:

  • About / Bio. This is the page where the visitor to your website will get a sense of who you are as an artist. It should include a short biographical paragraph, an artist statement, and a link to your artistic C.V. Some artists do not put a link to their C.V., but this is important information for galleries, collectors, and art competitions.
  • Portfolio (A.K.A. the MOST important page on your website). The portfolio page should be a curated collection of your work that best represent your practice and how you want to be seen as an artist. The images should be high-res and look professional (there is nothing more off-putting than looking at poorly photographed artworks).
  • Contact. This is the page where an interested visitor – say a curator, gallerist, or collector – will go to get in touch with you about your work. Avoid using a generic contact form. Be sure to inlcude a couple of different ways visitors can get in touch with you, like your email address and any other relevant points of contact, such as links to your social media pages – you want to make it easy for visitors to communicate with you.

  • // DESIGN.

    The design of your website should reflect your work. Generally speaking, it should highlight and emphasize your work and not distract a visitor. Try using a clean, modern template without loud colours (for example, white is a popular choice in web design circles for 2016-2017), and limit yourself to 1-2 font choices.

    // USABILITY.

    Make sure that your website navigation is clear and usable. Visitors to your website should be able to figure out how to use the navigation within 3-seconds or else they might navigate away from your page. Stick to a simple navigation menu that is horizontal or vertical that will appear in the same place on all of your pages.

    Another usability feature to keep in mind is your portfolio page. It is up to you on how you would like to set up this page, but make sure that if you are using a thumbnail-to-lightbox viewer, slideshow gallery, or a horizontal-scroll plugin that your users will be able to figure out how to use them easily and that they can easily find their way back to your websites.

    // OTHER TIPS.

  • Be sure to make your website mobile-friendly! More and more web-users are using mobile devices to look at websites, so this is a very important feature to consider when thinking about your own artist website.
  • Do highlight your new work on your website! It will help to contextualize you and your practice and give a sense of what you are currently working on.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to have a 1-2 lines or a short paragraph describing an artistic project or series. This information will help curators, gallerists, and collectors understand and contextualize your work.

  • // WHAT TO AVOID.

  • Any design elements that will shift focus from your work.
  • Avoid any website elements that use Adobe Flash. It is not mobile-friendly, and Adobe recently stopped suporting this software.
  • Do not include older work on your website if it does not reflect your professional practice (e.g. early student work, works in progress, etc).
  • Keep the content on your website relatively brief – do not present visitors with an information overload!

  • In summary, your artist website should be a professional online space that puts your best foot forward, it should reflect your practice and your artworks. When you’re designing your site, have fun and make sure that it is something that you are happy with – the most important part is that you have taken that first step into the World Wide Web, and you will find that it will open your work to entirely new audiences.


    Written by Danuta Sierhuis

    About

    Studio Sixty Six is an emerging artist gallery located at 858 Bank Street, Suite 101, in the Glebe. This is our official blog, where we share what's happening at the gallery, as well as in the broader fine art and design communities of Ottawa.

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