Artist's websites


What is your view on having a dedicated artist's website? How important is it to you and why? Do you think Facebook or Instagram is good enough?

If you don't have your own website, is it because of the cost? Or do you have another reason?
Probably depends on why the artist wants a dedicated site and how well known/established the artist is. That holds true for a dedicated site's importance, too. I used to build and maintain sites for a number of local organizations, and the hardest thing for them to grasp was figuring out what they wanted the site to do for them.

Social media will have a built-in audience, and an an artist can narrow that down to the market they want to serve. Ideally, though, for best visibility online, a combination of a dedicated site and frequent use of as many social media platforms as possible is, probably, the best mix for any reason for having a web presence.

Cost shouldn't be a limiting factor for building/maintaining a dedicated site. There are a number of excellent web hosts that charge less than $10/month, include a domain name in the deal, and make it easy for almost anyone to build an attractive site without coding knowledge.

I no longer have a website or even own a domain name because I have no reason to have one (see first paragraph 🤪). My art doesn't sell, so I don't need a retailing site. Nor do I use social media, but only because they all (at least the ones I've tried to join, including FaceBook) require a cell/smart phone to sign up, and I don't use one. Besides, I'm more of a curmudgeon than a socialite 👹 Biggest reason, though, is websites and social media take up a LOT of time.
I used to maintain a website and own a domain name but have since taken it down. The most I ever made from the website was $12K but it was generally closer to $7.5K. Before I took it down, it had dwindled due to so many art sites on the Interweb. Now I sell several on social media and that is my only (other than local) sales.
I suppose I never thought of my website for the purpose of selling, though I have made a good living from it for the most part. I also have a gallery that takes care of my sales for the pieces they have exhibited and the ones they have on hand, or if they have collected the work via the gallery or if buyers have filtered through them, etc. That only rarely gets blury. When it does, we easily work out the commission percentages.

But back to the website thing. It's there for multiple purposes. It's there as a portfolio mostly. It's there as an archive and it does run on a database. I use the backend to keep track of my sales and the locations of the work, as well as a variety of other information on each piece of artwork. there's a thousand pieces in there. I needed something to help me keep track of everything.

It was also put there to solicit galleries, museum curators, granting resources, and of course, collectors. There are options to buy the work, but the prices are not seen unless you click on the "price" link, then it pops up in a window. I didn't want it to be all about that. However, galleries do want to know your retail price range, so they do need access to know.

I do use some social media and I have sold a bit through Instagram, but all my social media (for me) is there for the purpose to direct people to my website. It's where all my information is: news, events, new work, my blog, different series of work, my CV, statement, about pages, etc. To me, the cost of running it does not matter because it's just part of being an artist. Same with the storage facility I have to pay for, which is more a cost a dislike to pay, but it's necessary. I have about 250 pieces there that have not sold and probably another fifty sitting in the gallery. I keep my flat files here at home, and that's another 75 or so. This all might be TMI, but the website helps me keep track of this. It's definitely worth it for me.

At one time, I had about ten of fifteen different domain names pointing to my site. That was a long time ago. I once sold on eBay and had and got a letter from their lawyers, but I ignored it. I had I had I had a lot, then sold them. But now I just have a few with my name in it, and the first domain name I ever purchased in 1996.

I don't have Facebook anymore because I hated the social aspect of it very much, so I completely deleted it, which I wish I hadn't now because that would have been 2000 people I could have told about this forum!
Yes, I left mine open even after it dwindled for the same purpose but the klinker was when my county decided I should pay taxes on my inventory just like a regular brick and mortar. I just deleted the site immediately.
I have had my own site since the early days of WetCanvas ones, I forget what it was called but it was a WYSIWYG one.
A good number of my sales come from it, especially locally. Etsy used to be my big selling site but no longer. My big plans to market locally kinda went poof with everyone else's plans for 2020 marketing!
I should say postponed. We are still in the most restricted lock down phase here. :( Vets are still required to not allow humans indoors, so no use putting up cards now.

Anyway, my reaction to covid was to start a huge veg garden to feed my family and neighbors and I have a lot of work to do with all that!
I had a site in the late 90s-early 00s.

I started it primarily an educational site for carvers who wanted to do raptors, and as such it won all kinds of awards. It was administered and maintained for free by Steve New, a falconer in England who just liked my work. Here's Steve's baby eagle owl, Gizmo.


I also used it as a venue for guest artists who were also falconers--there are a lot of them. For example, this still life by Jean Sherlock.


And of course, as a venue for my own work, but nothing ever sold. Then Steve became very ill with a degenerative nerve disease and couldn't continue, so I gave it up.

The best thing to come out of it was that one of my old girlfriends signed the guest book, and we got back in touch for awhile. We had our own guitar shop in Cambridge MA in the mid-70s. Those were wonderful years for us both.
OMG, that baby owl is adorable! ❤

It would still be nice if you at least had a free site, not to sell, but as an archive to show all your hard work throughout the years.
Steve had all that stuff, I know nothing about it, and he vanished into the wilds of Brittany quite awhile ago. I'm sorry to say it's unlikely he is still with us. It was a terrible shame; he first lost the use of his legs, and he was a black belt in multiple Japanese martial arts. His daughter, to make things even worse, has Turner Syndrome. Just a wretched deal all around.

He also played guitar. Here he is with Gizmo.


More of Gizmo.



The Harris's hawk bust I posted in Arty's derailed Shredder thread is modeled after Steve's Harris, Sigi. I gave it to Steve as a present for all he did for me, even though he tried to refuse. Getting it through Customs proved quite complicated; they couldn't seem to get it through their little bureaucratic brains that it was a gift and therefore not subject to taxation.

I miss him. Life sure does suck sometimes.