Art, Artists, and the Web: Part 1--Why Every Artist Should Have Their Own Website
First rate art is in danger of being left behind in this new age of the global Internet highway. The World Wide Web is like Walmart or Home Depot coming to town. Art galleries as they now exist, are going to become the Mom and Pop version of selling art.
Chances are if you are an established artist, and look for your medium or subject matter on the Web, some very web-savvy artist will show up, sometimes repeatedly on the first two or three pages of a search engine and your name is no where to be found.
This can change, but established artists and the galleries that represent them need to start thinking differently about their approach to the Internet. And galleries need to help every artist they represent have their own website. This will make a revolutionary difference in how first rate art is represented, because right now really good contemporary art is hard to find on the Web, and because of this fact, really good contemporary art is in danger of becoming irrelevant or worse, obsolete.
Every artist needs his or her own website, and every artist needs to get his or her own website now.
There are several myths I would like to dispel.
1) Websites cost a fortune.
Websites do not have to cost a fortune. There are lots of good people involved with the Web who don't have a huge overhead who are good at designing websites.
Good websites for artists can be designed for $500 or less. You can get a domain name for under $10 and have it hosted for under $100 a year. This is one of the best investments in your career you will ever make.
You also do not have to pay a fortune to get your website on search engines. For a presence on the Web, you need patience, information and knowledge (more on this on Art, Artists and the Web: Part 4).
2) My gallery is in charge of marketing and I don't need a website in my own name.
Every artist needs a website with a domain name that includes his or her name--"www. yourname.com" or "www. yourname artist.com." What artists do not need is a website that includes the gallery's name--"www. gallery.com/yourname."
Websites need to be easy to remember and Web visitors are going to pay a lot more attention to an artist that has their own domain name. Web visitors usually skip over websites that are hosted by galleries and pay almost no attention to artist's pages on gallery sites.
3) If I have my own web page, then the gallery or galleries that represent me won't be able to control the direction that the gallery would like to go in.
The artist and gallery can work together in creating the artist's website. However, it can't feel as if the gallery is holding the artist hostage. There is nothing worse than finding an artist you really like on the Web, seeing a couple of picture and a link to the gallery. Web visitors never go back.
The artist's website can be an excellent promotional tool for the gallery. There is no reason why an artist's website cannot promote both the gallery and the artist.
If the gallery is concerned about an artist having an email address of his or her own, there is an easy solution. The person who sends the email gets an automatic reply saying their message has been received. The same email message can be forwarded to both the artist and the gallery, and together they can decide how the email could be answered.
Established artists need to become conscious of the new way people are viewing and experiencing art. There are literally billions of people out there who don't know that you or your art exists. They associate your subject or medium with artists who show up on search engines. They don't care about what gallery you may be associated with, they care about who shows up on the Web. If you don't start showing up on the Web very soon, not only will no one know who you are, they won't even care.
But, great art doesn't have to be left behind. Artists and the galleries that represent them can join the new global Internet highway, have fun enjoying the ride and be part of the new global art revolution. Start now and start right away.
© Mary Baker 2005
Mary Baker is a contemporary realist painter, whose studio is in Newburyport, Massachusetts. This New England city, north of Boston, has been the inspiration for the artist's realistic oil paintings. Mary Baker is a professional artist and has shown in New York art galleries.
You can visit Mary at her website, Mary Baker Art, at http://www.marybakerart.com, see her beautiful paintings and read her articles on a variety of subjects including, Art, Artists and Money, Creativity, Tips on Breaking the Creative Block, Why Buy Original Art and the four part series on Art, Artists, and the Web.
A list of articles can be found on her Site Map and Mary's paintings can be seen on every page of Mary Baker Art.
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