Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Research: Artist Websites and Self-Publishing

Today’s era of online self-publishing has provided artists with a new platform for discussing and displaying their work, networking and promoting themselves. Websites allow artists to post their artist statements, bibliographies, art works and ideas. They are able to sell their work and promote themselves without relying on galleries. They challenge the more traditional elitist system of gallery representation for artists, making self-promotion and self-publication affordable and available to everyone, opening up the previously exclusive world of art publication to the general public.

The Australian Business Arts Foundation has published a document entitled “Business Skills for Visual Artists” which gives an overview highlighting three major types of online sites where artists can promote their work. The first type of website is called a Template site, which allows artists to update the site and provides some flexibility in the appearance of an individual’s website. Using the Template, artists can add images and biographies, as well as organizing mailing and stock listings (Australia Business Arts Foundation). Here are three examples of Template sites for artists:




The second type of website for artists is called an Artist Community site. These sites are usually designed and operated by artists, for artists, at little to no cost. Community sites are used for networking with other artists, as users may upload their work, write about their ideas in a blog, and/or post their biography and artist statement (Australia Business Arts Foundation). Artist Community sites encourage interaction and mutual feedback between artists who use the site. These sites are focused on networking and collaboration between artists rather than on buying and selling work (although prices may be listed). These websites often take the form of .org and .net organizations and networks rather than .com commercial sites. Here are three examples of Artist Community sites:




The third type of artist-based website is a Portal site. These are commercial sites focused on connecting art makers and art buyers, allowing both groups to search for artworks. These sites charge fees for artists to exhibit their work on a search network. These sites may also connect users to other art-related products and services such as framers (Australia Business Arts Foundation). These sites constitute a commercially based network of web pages designed to connect the galleries, buyers and makers to promote business transactions, unlike Artist Community sites which enable artists to discuss their work and form social networks with each other. Following are examples of Portal sites:



The advent of digital photography made it possible for anyone and everyone to take photos and upload them to the internet, achieving results that previously could only have been created by professionals. Likewise, the creation of websites has made it possible for artists themselves to take on some of the functions once performed only by gallery owners. Although there are numerous benefits for artists using websites to post their work – including the opportunity to network with others in the industry, as well ways to promote themselves — it can be argued that the wide accessibility of such sites has diluted the market, since anyone and everyone can create blogs or online gallery spaces. While the traditional process of selecting only a few artists’ work for gallery exhibitions has had the effect of creating an elitist marketplace, barring many artists from finding a wider audience for their work, there is a formal selection process in place that purports to screen for quality. By contrast, the current proliferation of artists’ websites has reduced the overall quality of work displayed online, therefore undermining the credibility of this format.


Australia Business Arts Foundation. “Website Resources for Artists.” Business Skills for Visual Artists. 2007. 6 November 2008.

1 comment:

JoyceH said...

Hi Zoe well done your essay is well researched, I commend you on looking at the Australian Business Arts register . It is interesting what you discovered. I thought the NAVA site and “whatson “site were the best for our type of Art making but it is interesting as the Art world is huge, there are worlds within worlds. Hopefully you students will eventually work out how to make your own sites for minimal or no cost but the range of approaches and alternatives you uncovered is interesting .
Your discussion on your practice is comprehensive, it’s interesting to note that you are all in the process, at some stage you need to step back and respond to what you see is the end result and look at how these images and objects find connections in the world as separate and finished things, that have stepped beyond process. It was nice to meet you good luck for the future