Building your artist website doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process thanks to this golden thread by Sierra King. Sierra is an Atlanta based Artist, Photographer and Archivist. Her creative and arts administration work is dedicated to documenting, preserving and archiving the work of Black Women Artists. 

Let this guide you in your quest to establish yourself as an artist on your own terms, starting with owning your space on the Internet. 

Octavia Butler #blkcreatives Sierra King Artist website

“You’ve got to make your own world, You’ve got to write yourself in.” – Octavia Butler

YOUR WEBSITE = YOUR WORLD 

Artists: You have / should have your own website 

Action: Host your own virtual exhibition

Majority of artists are waiting for their next break. The next opportunity that will put their work in front of the right people. The next gallery, museum, incubator to showcase their new pieces to gain a larger audience. The audience that needs and wants to see your work is the one you already have, share it with them first. 

The best place to do that is on YOUR website where you can control your narrative and showcase your work exactly how you intended for it to be seen. 

"The audience that needs and wants to see your work is the one you already have, share it with them first. The best place to do that is on YOUR website where you can control your narrative and showcase your work." – @SierraChas for @blkcreatives Click To Tweet

EXHIBITION LANDING PAGE TEMPLATE 

It’s an easy start by creating a new landing page. A landing page can be as simple or as robust as you want it to be. Most website builders like squarespace, wix and wordpress provide templates where you can drag and drop the information. 

“It’s your world and building it requires you to know what you want to go inside of it.”

I suggested below a standard amount of elements that would tell the full story of you as an artist, your work, and your process. Think about this just as you would a formal exhibition and how can this landing page become an experience rather than just a gallery. 

– “Opening Day” Feature

– Show Statement / Artist’s Statement 

– Videos of work being made 

– Videos of you talking about the work 

– Photos of work hung in space / digital renders 

– Gallery / Shop to buy work 

– Playlist of music 

– Drip to Instagram or preferred platform

These elements cover how you want the work to be seen, context as to how the work came to be, and additional things such as a shop where your audience can buy the work or gift shop items like limited edition posters.. You should definitely take the extra mile by getting your work professionally photographed. If that’s not in your budget, ask a creative friend to barter or try your hand at iPhone photography. 

BLUEPRINTS AND EXAMPLES 

Joc asked for examples and I had already been looking at a few artist sites that triggered me to write the original twitter thread. Take what you need. 

Example: here.there.everywhere. Group Exhibition / Virtual Exhibition extension 

Artist / Curator: Sierra King 

Website: https://www.buildyourarchive.com 

here.there.everywhere website example https://www.buildyourarchive.com

Notes: For my own website I wanted to do a few things: 1. give people the timeline of what it took for the exhibition to be mounted 2. answer the question, “How did you do this?” 3. Give the exhibition a virtual space to live and be experienced after the physical one is de-installed. 

Example: Renegade Renaissance Virtual Exhibition 

Artist: LE BohemianMuse 

Website: https://www.lebohemianmuse.com/renegade-renaissance

Sierra King artist website blkcreatives LE BohemianMuse
LE BohemianMuse artist website https://www.lebohemianmuse.com/renegade-renaissance

Notes: This artist went all out from beginning to end. She provided videos and context to her work along with a gallery to view the work. I’m sure that this was a part of a larger content plan that helped her audience learn more about her as an artist and invite new collectors into her practice. 

Example: Digital Render Templates for Gallery / Shop

Artist: Dea Jenkins 

Website: https://deajenkins.com/paintings

Dea Jenkins Sierra King artist website #blkcreatives
Dea Jenkins artist website https://deajenkins.com/paintings

Notes: I really love when artists take time to think about the presentation of their work. It’s so much cleaner when the work is photographed professionally. The step further here is that she imposed the work inside of a digital rendering so that you can see how it would look in a frame. 

Example: On View Page 

Artist: Chandler Stephens 

Website: https://www.liberated.space/on-view

Chandler Stephens Sierra King blkcreatives artist website
Chandler Stephens artist website https://www.liberated.space/on-view

Notes: This is an alternative to a full virtual exhibition landing page or when you are a part of group exhibitions is to create an on view page. Here, the artist used the photos that were taken on opening day to showcase not only her work but also people interacting with her work in real-time.

HOW TO DO IT 

Here’s a short to-do list of the minimum that you would need to do “promote” the exhibition. 

– Set up exhibition page 

– Announce exhibition 

– Create an eventbrite 

– Create a facebook page 

– Create facebook event + connect to eventbrite 

– Add works from your Gallery to Facebook page Shop

– Post to Instagram with links to Facebook shop

USE PLATFORMS TO SPREAD THE NEWS, NOT TO HOST THE WORK 

When you shift your mindset to thinking about using the platforms to spread awareness about your work rather than hosting it, they can be used in a variety of different ways. 

"When you shift your mindset to thinking about using the platforms to spread awareness about your work rather than hosting it, they can be used in a variety of different ways." – @sierrachas for @blkcreatives Click To Tweet

– “VIP Opening” = send newsletter to collectors a week early 

– “Soft Opening” = Push photos of work to IG Stories a week early 

 – “Grand Opening Week ” = Post photos to IG feed with prices once a day + Newsletter to general 

– “Extended Show” = Release new work + extension

NURTURING YOUR AUDIENCE AND COLLECTOR BASE WITH INSTAGRAM 

Instagram has a lot of cool features that allows you to collect date directly from your audience via IG stories. One way to find new collectors is by asking questions. Use features like polls and DM link in the following ways below: 

IG STORY + POLL

Ask:  “Do you have one of my works in your house?” 

Response: Yes or I will 

Follow up: Send thank you note to existing. Send newsletter sign up link  to those that answered I will.

IG STORY + DM FEATURE

Inviting people to your online exhibition: 

Action: Use DM feature in IG STORY to say, “You’re invited to my exhibition, DM me for the link” 

Response: Send me the link! 

Follow up: Send link for eventbrite and follow up when they have RSVPd to say thank you.

PLAN A FUNNEL THAT WORKS FOR YOU 

Now that you have all of your content in place, your links are live and ready and your website is optimized for the best virtual experience there is to offer. It is most important that all of those channels are communicating with each other. Here is a sample funnel that can be used below: 

Funnel: Website > Newsletter > Eventbrite > Instagram > Facebook > Shop > Website > 

I had fun creating my own world using the content from my recently debuted exhibition “here. there. everywhere.” at MINT GALLERY in Atlanta,GA. You can now view it online here. 


About the Author: SIERRA KING, an artist, archivist and curator who is deeply committed to documenting, preserving and archiving the work and contributions of Black Women Artists.

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