As an artist, you’re probably more likely to spend more time creating and imagining, coming up with new artworks. Putting up an art portfolio website may be the last thing on your mind but it’s important to get this sorted out to make sure that you maximize all opportunities to gain and increase audience for your work. Art portfolio websites connect your talents to your target clients, enabling you to do what you enjoy doing and get paid for it while you’re at it. Different from an art blog that functions more like an active zine with community contributors, an art portfolio website usually represents one or a small collective of artists and their work without necessarily weighing in on the critiques of the art scenes and movements.
Creating a personal website is incredibly important and for those who are just starting out to create their digital presence, you may already have an existing art portfolio so most of the work from here on out is just digitizing your work and laying them out in a single cohesive space. Think of this as curating a digital gallery of your works - you get to decide what pieces need to be highlighted, and arrange them according to your story and intent.
With a free art portfolio website - with intuitive templates by Strikingly that you can use as a working canvas, you can start building your brand online and reach out to potential clients and followers. Agencies, companies and fans are always on the lookout for the next creative idea. When done right, an art portfolio site can represent your work and your brand effectively.
See also how to create an industrial design portfolio here for the designers whose bread and butter isn’t the typical canvas.
How to Get Started on Making Your Digital Art Portfolio
The best art portfolio websites are works of art on their own. Consider your online art portfolio as an extension of your work and to build it, you must look around you for inspiration. You learn a lot by simply looking through other online art portfolios - and we’ll be going through a few of them later. Find out how other creatives are displaying their work. Pay attention to content, presentation techniques and other design elements that you may want to incorporate into your own art portfolio. But for a few hard and fast tips, here are the important pieces:
- A short bio or about page - this should be a professional summary of who you are, what kind of art you do, and what makes you stand out from those in your specification. This is also an excellent jumping off space for writing about why you do what you do to compel your audience
- Contact details - as a solo artist or part of a collective who’s looking for collaborators or to find work opportunities, opening a channel of communication through phone numbers, email, and other social media accounts is vital - you’ll want to be reachable to your target recruiters and art sponsors. Your portfolio website should have a space that feels like a digital calling card with all the information they need to connect with you.
- Cover page and table of contents - if you have any experience creating a traditional art portfolio, you may already have a working skeletal structure with how you’d like to organize your pieces. For your website, you can use this as a jumping off point of what your menu could look like - with a few minor revisions given a new platform. Once you start building your space, having a good landing page is an excellent way to summarize what you have to offer in both traditional print and digital spaces.
- A curated collection of your work - what do you have to offer? This would be the main focus of your artist portfolio where you showcase your skills, art, and any product work that you have to offer to potential clients. You’ll want to include summaries or website copies of your thought process and inspiration behind each work while offering value to your customers.
- Awards or certifications - if you’ve been recognized for your work, an art portfolio is a great space to house those honors. Include any certifications you may have earned over the years to increase trust in your ability and growth. You’ve been acknowledged by a body of judges in your field - that’s a worthy achievement that your potential clients and collaborators should see!
- Testimonials and press releases - this item is more for those who are superstars in their craft with existing press releases about them, along with flattering words from museums and their curators after showcasing their work. But those who are just starting out may have done some product or client work, and feedback from these successful contracts can help you reassure future clients that they too can get value out of working with you or from what you have to offer them.
Characteristics of the Best Artist Portfolio Websites
It should look good and work well.
It is a given that as a representative of your personal brand, your online art portfolio must look good. However, it is also important that your site creates a positive user experience. The best art portfolio websites are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Your visitors should be able to get around your website and access the information they need with ease.
An example for this is Sato’s website where on top of her most recent artwork, her left navigation is informative and concise - allowing you to take shortcuts to the specific work she does in a single click.
It contains great content.
Design is just one part of building a winning website. Creating engaging content is another important aspect. Design attracts the visitor but it is content that gets him to stick around. Take some time building content that speaks directly to your target audience. Use images and videos to convey your message clearly. Channel your creative talents into creating website content that is interactive and informative at the same time.
Sarah Rickard’s ceramic work has gone from working in her tiny studio garden into a growing market for her lively pieces. She does painting and curation as a primary combination of her artistic process and gives you a glimpse of this as the first thing you see in her portfolio that doubles as a place for her to sell her art.
Create an impact through creative presentation of your work.
A great art portfolio website should be captivating. It should create a positive impact in the person’s mind long after he has left the site. Explore different layouts and options for presenting your work. Your site should bring out the best in you and your talent and entice your audience into either hiring you or purchasing your work.
Bizzarbox does this almost perfectly, down to their branding and presentation - and straightforward landing page that tells you exactly what their focus is.
It should tell a story about you.
Your online art portfolio is a great way for you to introduce yourself to a wider audience. Include a brief story about yourself and your passions. Clients feel a connection to art pieces when they also understand the artist’s way of thinking. Consider adding a blog section to your website and tell stories about your pieces. You can even include behind the scenes stories for some of your best work.
Jessie Zhang, for example, does this by opening their page with an elevator pitch of what they do: artist, animator, music destroyer; and then immediately introduces their blog to get visitors up to speed on the latest projects.
5. It should contain your contact information
Finally, a great art portfolio website should at least contain your CV and your contact details. For the multi-industry artist, CV should highlight only the items relevant to the thing you’re advertising primarily in this portfolio and you can opt to link to a separate resume website as an additional reference. Don’t leave visitors wondering how to reach you for projects and inquiries. Add a custom form to enable them to send you messages through your website. If you have a physical art gallery or an office, it’s important to add the address and map to your premises as well.
Ayaka Tajiri’s website for example, goes into lengths of their exhibition experience after a quick look at their education history, and later takes you to several contact options for artist features and collaborations - all after scrolling through samples of their best work in various media.
More Art Portfolio Website Examples You Should Check Out
Much like the artists that create them, there’s no one portfolio that’s exactly like another. So here’s five more of some of the most impressive art portfolio websites powered by Strikingly that can inspire your next project.
At the end of the day, your art portfolio can take in the shape and form of whatever you need it to be - whether it be specific to you as an artist, representing a collection of creatives with common interests, or a whole movement in the art community.
Ready to showcase your talent to the world? Create your own art portfolio website now and see where this new creative journey can take you. Do you need more time or inspiration to think about it? Check out more portfolio website examples and what makes them special.