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Build your Online Creative Portfolio

#iamsociable #artsmarketing

by Natalia Komis +44 (0) 7533268848




SOCIAL MEDIA – The Low Down Does your current online presence reflect the professional image you’re trying to project? 1. Pinterest and Instagram help to reach the crowd who’s searching and engaged with the ‘visual’. Imagine hash-tagging your Baththemed painting with #Bath #art and then having someone inquiring about purchasing it. Yes, it happens! 2. Blogging drives web site traffic since fans and prospects will find you based on Google searches and blog post syndication. 3. Facebook is a great venue to build your social community. However, only 5-15% of your Facebook messaging ever gets out to your followers. This limited distribution cannot be counted on to drive your business or messaging. 4. Twitter lets you connect with influencers, who will let others know about your work and shows. Twitter also lets you have a great conversation with followers and non-followers. Facebook Have you got a facebook fan page? To create an Artist Page go to • You will be prompted to choose a Page Category. • You will then be prompted to choose a Subcategory and enter the required information. • Finally, you will then be prompted to agree to Facebook Pages Terms and then click Get Started. The Business page that you are creating will be representing you and your art, (Your Brand) therefore, complete the Profile page thoroughly, by providing all of the information that this section asks for. There is also room for information on your art, media, exhibitions, news and more. Make sure that you have spelled everything correctly. Have a friend or family member check your Business page for you, for accuracy, completeness and spelling.


1. The Name of this Page is Important in Order to be Found in Searches. 2. Your Cover Photo and Profile Image Are Extremely Important. This image should be related to your art in some manner. The size that you are allowed to work with is 851 x 315 pixels and should be resized and planned prior to uploading and displaying. Use photoshop to do this, or otherwise there are several free image editing programs that you can use to resize and crop your images (1) (2) 3. Create Albums to Show Your Portfolio on Facebook. After the images are uploaded, make sure that they all have individual titles, descriptions and prices. If you have a website, put a link back to your website in your description as well. This should also be done and can be part of your Profile too. 4. Create External Links Back to the Facebook Business Page. Any emails, newsletters, blogs and websites that you maintain should have links inviting people to view and “Like” your Facebook Business page. You are trying to build as many followers and fans as possible to see your art. Let everyone know about this Business page. 5. Add tabs for your instagram, pinterest, shop, blog at the top of your page. You can do this through

Due to facebook using promo adds and algorithms it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach a wider audience for free. Therefore you need to make your content better, more exciting and more image based. Rather than post a sentence post an eye-catching image with content and a link back to the relevant web page or blog. Connect your instagram accounts to your facebook profile and make your images stand out more.


Twitter You have 160 characters to tell the world what you do, who you are and why to follow you in your twitter bio! What are you using your twitter account for? Is it a personal account, a professional account or both? Tell the world about your interests so that we want to follow you. Make us want to know more. Make us laugh.

This is a great example of a business bio. In one sentence they’ve completely spelled out what they do, who they are, and what they’re passionate about. Their profile is completely filled out, and they have an attractive, simple logo. It’s quickly clear what IFB is all about.

Marvel Executive Editorial Director, Ryan Penegos, is a great example. His profile picture conveys that he works in the comic book field. He has a complete profile including his position, company name, company website and Twitter page, personal interests and personal website. He keeps it light and humorous while informing you exactly of who he is. An artist example: Park ranger turned fiber artist, out to change the world, one felt hat at a time—Carrie C. Mulligan, @ccmfelthats


The importance of Hashtags Hashtags are a brilliant invention! Description? A way of creating a conversation anyone can follow. A way of being found, a way of engaging anyone and everyone. For example: #bath #artsmarketing #iamsociable 1st Location 2nd about/content 3rd company/brand/association Google Campus example: When doing an event at Google Campus London, there was a screen that showed all of the tweets containing #googlecampus PLUS, at the front of the audience was a huge sign with the twitter handle for the evening e.g. #beinghuman Result? People wanting to tweet in order to see their tweet on the screen – more audiences through social media – more awareness of the event and the location – more association with the brand - more followers/fans. All for free! Smartphone photos + artwork + hashtags = free viral promotion. Artists!!! Relax about fans taking phone pictures of your work. No one is going to reproduce this work from a less-than-ideal setting. If a fan snaps a smart phone picture of your exhibition space or a favorite piece of work, they are probably going to post it on a social media site. So, if you promote a hashtag that can be added to their post you then you will be associated with it. And, ta-da!!! Free Marketing.



Instagram Instagram is a great visual story board of your life as an artist. The behind the scenes moments, the finished outcomes, the draft sketches, the inspiration. This platforms allows fans and buyers to feel a connection and a closer relationship to the work and to you, the artist. Here are 2 good examples of artist profiles:

Ai Weiwei uses instagram to capture moments and convey where some of his inspiration comes from.

Daniel Arsham uses his instagram as on online portfolio showcasing his body of work.


Can I sell my art directly through Instagram? Instagram does not have a way to allow you to sell art directly through the app. I see it more as a way of creating or finding an audience for your work and spreading the word about what you do, leading people back to your main site or shop. However, some popular artists with many followers release images of work for sale on Instagram along with a direct Paypal address for payment and sell out their editions - so it can definitely be done. (This can also be done through sites such as


Instagram Do’s and Dont’s

DO •

• •

Watermark your image – PhotoMarkr is just one app, which can do this. Watermark with your website address so that wherever your image ends up people can find out who you are. Follow artists you love. Then any time you log on to Instagram you have a ready stream of inspiration to look at. Link Instagram to your Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts and use it to feed them with content. You don’t even need to spend any time on them. It’s a good way to get your work seen. As always, try and lead people back to your main website with an offer or other enticement or info about an upcoming exhibition. Try and get them to sign up to your mailing list.


Post easily steal-able nice straight on usable images of your work. Instagram images seem particularly prone to being ripped off by unscrupulous copyright ignoring trolls. Therefore, use Instagram images as a “tease” to interest people in your work. Post photos of your work shot at a strange angle, a small part of the whole image, or blur out some of the image {you can do this in the Instagram app} The idea is to lead people back to your main content elsewhere and raise your profile. Release any image that you want to keep control over. Instagram images have a life of their own. Once you have set them free you have to just let them go.


PINTEREST Pinterest is not quite as quick and straight forward as instagram in terms of being out and at the event – but it’s a great way to capture those who are browsing on their computers and who happen over an image of yours they like. You can in fact add a little pin button to your image when adding it to your board, this allows for people to buy the product or image. To do this, go to and follow their instructions and load your image – you will have to have a paypal account to use this service. Here is an example pin with the Pin2Sell icon:

A good example of an artist pin board is Jack Hutchinson’s. He has used one board to specifically focus on just his drawing work and explains all about the bulk of work in the info.


ARTSTACK This is very similar to pinterest, but is obviously designed specifically for artists and the benefit of using this is that you have an already established audience who will receive updates and newsletters about featured artists etc. You are able to follow artists, stack art works that you like, and can track the progress of how your own work circulates. My advice: Don’t try and do all three, pinterest, instagram and artstack. Choose one or max two to really focus on. If you feel one isn’t working then concentrate your efforts on the other and see if it makes any difference. A very useful feature on artstack is the trending page – as a curator and art scout myself, I find this page very interesting and is the first place I look for new artists. It’s always a good sign when the public like an artist’s work – as they could become the buyers! Once you’ve ‘stacked’ a few images, you can begin to separate them into collections, essentially giving you the ability to curate your own virtual exhibition. This could of course be very beneficial if you are in a group exhibition – you could have a virtual example of the works that fans and buyers can browse before and after the show. This is a great way to create an extensive online portfolio for individuals, studio groups and collectives on a site used by some of the biggest names in the business. While the site has similarities to Pinterest, it’s focus on art, design and architecture means it remains much more industry focused, increasing its benefits as a marketing tool. It may not be able to replace the carefree hazy ‘earlybird’ filtered days of Instagram, but it’s a great way to discover new work and promote your own without, importantly, getting ripped off. Who knows? You might even find yourself going from a gallery’s Art Stack collection, straight into their real one.


SEDITION This is a very new and unique platform for artists playing with the idea of the non-physical world of art – owning a piece of work digitally. There are major artists such as Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst etc with work on here in editions of 10-1000 all at different prices. This is something that everyone can buy and show off on their TV screens, ipads, desktops, phones. Samsung is a huge supporter of this platform and in doing so they use artwork on their as part of their marketing campaigns. Imagine going to an airport and seeing a huge Samsung screen with your artwork on there – it’s very possible! If you’re interested in the relationship between your artwork, your audience and technology then this is a must platform to be on!

ARTFINDER Another platform that sells art – a very reputable one and very new. They are now taking submissions from artists and galleries that want to sell work online. You do have to go through an application process, but if chosen it is well worth it! WHY SELL ON ARTFINDER? •

Reach a large international audience of art buyers

Up to 70% paid to seller

Create your own store

Secure online payments

Make sure to read the small print and always ask what the commission is.


LINKEDIN Linkedin is a professional networking site and it should be kept separate from all personal business. It is an extremely useful tool to use in order to meet new professional contacts and if done correctly, ultimately to get new business, buyers and gallery contacts. Overall, the object of Linkedin is to create and build a professional network of people, contacts and influencers within your industry. Therefore, it does not make sense just to build a network of anyone, but rather to create a group of people who have a similar interest in what you do, as hopefully these connections will be able to learn from you, as you will be able to do the same with them. 1. When you set up your Linkedin profile, think of it as a visual online advertisement of you as a person and as a professional. Make it good, accurate and interesting, as a lot of people within your industry will see it. 2. Linkedin allows you to begin creating your profile by downloading your email contacts in order to see which of your contacts are already on the Linkedin site. 3. After these connections are made, explore industry related Groups. Join these Groups, see what people are posting and contributing within the Group. Join relevant conversations! 4. Recommendations add value to your Linkedin Profile. Recommendations provide a third party endorsement of you as an individual and as a professional.

YouTube / Vimeo As an artist it is always good to show as many visually stimulating examples of your work and explorations. A youtube or vimeo channel could help engage a wider audience and help explain what you do in a much simpler way. Talk about your work - if you’re a painter show a video of you painting a piece right from the beginning to the end. Use all of the above methods to push the video and then encourage the audience and fans to have a look at your other work on your website/blog.


Other Extremely Useful sites: 1. IdeasTap ( A great art community to build your profile on; look for jobs, opportunities, connect with others with similar interests. 2. Artists Talking ( Another art community, where you can write your own blogs, have conversations with other artists, great networking opportunities, Look for jobs, residencies, collaborations. 3. School for Creative Startups is an education and support programme designed by creative entrepreneurs to empower those with creative skills and ambition to start their own businesses. Also, see – they have a loan scheme which is good if you want to or have already started your own business. 4. Artlyst is a comprehensive London-based, what's-on guide for events, exhibitions, fairs, and auctions. Registered members may post and promote their art events on the website. All listings are free. 5. Find jobs, connect with others all around the world, create a profile or project – this is a much more general site but is good for those not sure of what they want to do. 6. A website and online community dedicated to the creative industries. Aiming to champion creative graduates, startups, freelancers, artists and agencies, and provide help through exposure, inspiration and learning. Launched in 2009, Creative Boom now reaches over two million people every month and has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter. A great place to be featured and also look for jobs! If you go onto their facebook page they run a Friday roll call every week for creative business to post their website to have the chance to be featured. 7. Finally – my blog! I write some useful and informative articles for creatives, especially those who are trying to get into business.


Build your creative online portfolio  

A Booklet on arts marketing for those looking to build their creative online portfolio. Here you will find information on all the relevant s...

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