Today, we are going back to the art career basics and building blocks. I want to talk about the importance of creating a web presence. Hopefully, many of you already have one. A web presence is crucial for exposure and networking for your art. This article is for those who think it costs a lot of money, time, or energy to maintain a website. I have some free and simple solutions to get you and your work online in no time.
First, of course is the very popular social networking site MySpace. I have to admit I wasn't much of a fan at first, I was under the impression that the sites were always ugly and glaring and that MySpace was primarily a place for teenagers. Well, I stand corrected. I have seen some beautiful MySpace sites run by emerging artists and professionals. You control your space, and can easily upload your art into a slide show or other format, choose some music and set the scene for showing off your art to the world. You even pick a URL that you can share with others and not just other myspacers. You can share your links to other sites/galleries you might be affiliated with to direct visitors to your "real" website or galleries if you have one. Before you know it you will be finding friends that you had forgotten about as well as letting everyone know you are an artist, and all for free.
Also, it is a great way to make the larger art community feel smaller and become friends with other artists you admire. If you are not already on MySpace check it out, I highly recommend it. Just watch your time on the site- it can become addicting! Now with this being said, I wouldn't only use MySpace to promote your work. Most of the time, MySpace pages tend to be a little more personal in nature, and might not be professional enough to submit to a potential gallery or client as your "website."
Here are some examples of some artists myspace pages that I like: http://www.myspace.com/studio545
There is also Facebook which is becoming more popular, as the layout is clean and simple. You don't get you own URL though so only other Facebook friends in your network can see your work. Again, you can display all your links to various other websites where your work is hosted, which is nice. I enjoy the MySpace application more for promoting your art, as it seems a bit more dynamic. Yet, I do currently have both.
If you don't have a website for your art and only do one thing towards setting up a web presence, I highly recommend setting up an online portfolio on a site called carbonmade. This is a great application, and the closest thing I have seen to a FREE classy website. This site is very easy to use and update and allows you to create a beautiful and did I say a FREE web presence. With this site you get your own URL so this is something that can be professional enough to print up on some business cards when you are just starting out. It has little fluff or frills, but it looks sharp and does the trick. It doesn't take long to make a site that will fit your needs here. I also have a carbonmade site, where I keep a virtual studio sale for my older work that is in a different style and no longer represented by galleries.
Some carbonmade sites that I like are.
If you are really trying to make a go of it as an artist without a web presence in this day and age you are just shooting yourself in the foot. There are many opportunities to be had out there and the web really allows you to reach clients and galleries from all over the world. You do not need a web designer, or your own domain name to play in this game, nor do you need money. So, stop with these excuses. It is up to you to put yourself and your work out there. You can do this!
If you have created a great looking MySpace page that promotes your art or a carbonmade portfolio, or a portfolio on another free site that I need to know about, please post it in the comments section.
See " Desire Suspended" by Megan Chapman at the Blue Moon gallery
located at 718 Central Ave.
Hot Springs, Arkansas