Why Build an Artist Website?
Building and maintaining a website as an artist can be daunting. It’s a lot of work, especially if you aren’t naturally inclined to digital space, digital creation, or marketing yourself. It might be so daunting that you wonder if you need an artist website in the first place. So, why do it in the first place?
If you want people to know about you and your work, you need to be on the internet in some capacity. You don’t have to become a fulltime art influencer or spend your whole life trying to get yourself on the first page of Google results, but you do need to be there.
Now that so much of the art world exists on social media (particularly Instagram), you might not think that a website is necessary. But in the end, a website offers unique benefits compared to a social media page. It’s easier for visitors to navigate a website rather than scroll through your accounts to find the information that they need. Plus, if you mix your art with your personal life on social media, you might not want to send a potential funder to your feed where they’ll have to wade through pictures of your cats to get to your art (although we’re sure that whatever it is your cat is or was doing is irresistibly cute).
Here are some of the benefits of creating an artist website.
Control Your First Impression
If you have a website that you can share with your audience, possible funders, curators, or other people who might be interested in your work, you can guide their first impressions rather than hoping that your audience manages to get the right impression after finding your social media pages, reviews, or any other pieces of information about your work that’s floating around the internet.
A website can function as an extension of your aesthetic or sensibility. The way you organize your website can demonstrate how you see your work–which pieces fit together and under what general organizing principles. Is it most important to organize by theme? By medium? These decisions can create very different impressions for your audience.
Your website can also give viewers a look at how you want to be seen. Is your website built like a Tumblr from the 2000’s? Like a GeoCities website from the early days of the internet? Is your website pastel and minimalist, like a company marketing to millennials? Is it organized in a no-nonsense, traditional way like a news website?
Use your website to demonstrate how you want to be seen by your audience.
Boost Your Professionalism
People–including funders, collaborators, donors, and the media–will take you more seriously if you have a website. Having a website demonstrates that you take your own work seriously enough to dedicate time and energy to presenting yourself and your work to the public.
Often, the first step to being taken more seriously is to take yourself more seriously. A website is a way for you to take yourself seriously, and to demonstrate that you’re doing that to others.
It’s hard to get opportunities for artists like grants and freelance gigs without having a centralized place on the internet to send people who want to work with you.
Plus, you can make it easy for people who want to work with you to get in touch. Many artists either list their email address on their website or, if they don’t want to list their emails publicly, they build a contact form on their website.
One major benefit of a website is that you can use it to pull together disparate information. You can use your website as your CV or resume, your portfolio, online store, and a jumping off point for any media coverage or information about your upcoming shows and events.
Artists are often working on a lot of different projects, sometimes in multiple media. Say you are an audio producer who has also written a few essays and poems, and is just getting into a needlepoint phase? You can put all of that work on a website, organized however you like. It’s easy to compartmentalize your work into different pages or tabs so that you can keep everything in one place, while showing the breadth of the work that you do.
Help You Stay More Organized
You might have a bunch of photos and videos from old performances or gallery shows floating around somewhere, reviews of your work saved in email folders that you’re pretty sure still exist, and nice photos of your finished work in your Instagram feed. A website can help you consolidate all of that information in one place when you need it; to keep track of your projects, collaborations, and relevant coverage over time. If someone asks about a particular piece of yours, you don’t have to go digging through your archives, you can just send them a link to your website.
You can use your website like a running CV, a continuously updated list of your work, your accolades, and more.
Makes it Easy for the Media
If you want media to cover you and your work, a website will definitely help. Having a website makes it easier for you to pitch yourself to media outlets and to individual writers because you can send them to a site where they can easily look at your work and determine if you’re a good fit for their beat or their audience. And once you do get someone interested in writing about you, your website will be a boon to them as they will likely need your bio, headshot, and several high quality images or videos of your work.
One of the best ways to get media attention for your art is to make it easy for the media to work with you.
Build a Website to Save Time and Energy to Create Art
Fractured Atlas wants artists to have the tools you need to support your practice, to make it as easy as possible for you to focus most of your energy on creating work. We know that you aren’t an artist because you want to spend a lot of time working on budgets and managing your contacts list.
But by spending some time to put systems in place, like a website, you can actually set yourself up to spend less time overall on the admin work that supports your creative work. If you do the legwork to make it easy to consolidate your work in one place, you’ll ultimately spend less time going forward if you always know where your materials are and can easily share them.
About Nina Berman
Nina Berman is an arts industry worker and ceramicist based in New York City, currently working as Associate Director, Communications and Content at Fractured Atlas. She holds an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago. At Fractured Atlas, she shares tips and strategies for navigating the art world, interviews artists, and writes about creating a more equitable arts ecosystem. Before joining Fractured Atlas, she covered the book publishing industry for an audience of publishers at NetGalley. When she's not writing, she's making ceramics at Centerpoint Ceramics in Brooklyn.