Building Your Online Portfolio

Building Your Online Portfolio

As an artist, your online portfolio is your resume – a way for galleries and potential clients to see the quality of work you do. Like any other resume, it should show both the growth you’ve experienced and the talent you possess. It’s not just a sales catalog of your work; your resume should be an enticing taste of things to come.

Curate Only Your Best Work

Take a step back and look at the body of your work. Your portfolio should only offer a small sample of the work you can do. Most artists’ style evolves as they grow – and their work reflects these changes. Always choose work for your portfolio that shows the direction in which your work is going. What kind of work do you want to be doing in the future? Display only the work that speaks to you the loudest, that uses materials in the best way and that you are truly proud of.

Give Viewers a Story

Using perfect images, first show your entire piece, then delve into a succession of detailed shots that show the process of your work. Take the viewers behind the scenes to let them feel as if they’re with you while you’re creating your pieces.

Begin each page with a simple title and a short paragraph that describes the work. It should be enough to tempt the viewer into checking out the entire project, but not enough to explain everything at once. Add a series of images after that, showing your work in detail.

Keep the Website Clean and Simple

Your work should be the star, not the website design. In fact, the design should fade completely into the background – so much that it effortlessly shows off your art without anyone noticing it. Include a good amount of white space and reduce or remove any stray logos or design elements that catch the eye.

Not only should the visual impact be simple, but the design itself should be, as well. You don’t need fancy fades or slide shows to showcase your art. Use a simple design with basic tabs or links at the top of the page and keep titles simple and straightforward. Use one font and use it throughout the site and keep the colors the same on every page. Viewers should always notice your work and never comment on your website design.

Add a Biography

Viewers want to know about you, as an artist and as a person. A good biography will have multiple elements to satisfy these desires.

• Share your artistic point of view. Let readers see the world as you see it. Include a mission statement or a declaration of your life views.

• Include your artistic back story. How did you grow to be the artist you are today? What childhood influences did you have? Did you have any life-changing experiences that helped to form your work?

• Add your real world connections in the art world. Include awards, influential clients, press clippings, shows your work was displayed in or publications that mention you.

• Keep your persona approachable. Add personal trivia, unusual hobbies or guilty pleasures you may indulge in. Become a well-rounded individual in viewers’ eyes.

Make it Easy to Share

A website does no good if no one sees it. Besides adding the address to your email signatures and business cards, add social media links to the front page so viewers can share it with friends and colleagues.

• Add a contact form so potential clients can find you easily and include information about what kind of freelance or contract work you’re seeking.

• Include a weekly blog that covers some aspect of your work and include social media links on each post.

• Invite comments and discussions on every post and ask open-ended questions to encourage answers.

• Include multiple ways for people to find your work for the best marketing punch.

Keep it Fresh, But Never Trendy

Avoid adding anything extremely trendy to your website to avoid it looking dated too quickly. Your site should be a living thing – always growing and evolving. Change up the pictures as you improve and grow in your work. Add new content to your blog on a regular basis.

This doesn’t mean you have to post a new blog on a daily basis, but it does mean that if you decide to do it weekly or monthly, you should never veer from that schedule. You should strive for a look that says you just polished the site in the last few days. An artist’s website is never a finished product, but it should always look as if it is.

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