This is the most common and irritating question that I ask artists.
I say “irritating” because I’m the one who’s often irritated. That’s because I often get these long, sweeping email from artists who pontificate about this or that in an effort to forge some sort of relationship with me which I absolutely love. I love it. I love artists and I love contemporary art.
But here’s the thing.
Time and time and time again, I find that the talented artists who talk the most are the ones who don’t have personal websites. It simply amazes, shocks and saddens me.
We are living in the 21st Century. There simply isn’t any reason why talented artists shouldn’t have their own, personal websites that they control. I’m not talking about a social media page or a page on another art retail platform or a page on a gallery website. Those things are great to have as well, but I’m talking about a website that bears your name and that you control outright.
Having your own website is crucial.
A website is one surefire sign of a talented, committed artist who wants to take greater control over his/her own creative destiny. Simple as that. Speaking purely for myself, I don’t care how talented you are as an artist; if you don’t own and operate your own personal website, you are not on the radar of the contemporary art world.
What I find so shocking is the amount of pushback that I still get from some artists on this issue. Look … if you’re afraid of technology or you don’t want to do the work associated with being an independent artist and having something as elementary as a personal website, then cop to it. Admit it. But don’t blame society or the tech world for your fears or shortcomings. This is about you … not the world. Get some training and get plugged in. Get a website.
These days, websites are super-affordable and easy to use and navigate. They don’t have to be fancy. In fact, I think the simpler, the better. The whole point in having a personal website is that YOU create it and YOU set the rules. This is what independent artists do … for the most part anyway.
Let me quickly say something about independence. No one is truly independent. We are social creatures and I don’t care how much of a loner you are, you need people. No one is truly independent in the purest sense of the word. Even God has other living beings in His presence to keep Him company.
What I’m saying here is that at this moment, a personal website is one of the best ways for a visual artist to show THE WORLD how serious you are about your work and your commitment to your own, singular voice. It’s a communication tool with NO middle man. It’s a way to reach out to others … on your own terms … and not the terms of some other site where you have a single page of virtual real estate.
Having a page on someone else’s website is great. Do it. However, nothing is more important than having your own website where YOU control absolutely every single thing about that site. Social media and retail art platforms come and go, but your own website is here to stay.
Get your own website and keep it updated. Your website is your personal and professional calling card. It’s your direct link to your audience. There is no third party involved.
When you have your own website you are choosing to honor your own, unique voice and you’re speaking directly with your audience. An artist who owns a website is a force to be reckoned with. There’s nothing magical about it. Yes, websites are a lot of work (if you’re doing it right), but few things say “This is who I am” like a personal website.
If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, get one. I do not interview artists who don’t have their own websites. I don’t take them seriously. There’s no way for me to promote them to the world if they don’t.
If you want to debate this issue, fine … but take it up with the person looking back at you in the mirror. Don’t waste anyone else’s time.