Artist Profiles on Portfolio and Gallery platforms

I still have to scratch that itch about the ways contemporary/visual/fine artists can network professionally and also be found by (and interact with) collectors and the general public…my post reviewing the quantity profiles of artists on LinkedIn in various locations didn’t completely satisfy my curiosity.

Soon I’ll be looking at representation on the more research-focussed networking platforms (e.g. Academia.edu and ResearchGate.net), but in the meantime I thought I would have a look at what else is out there…

For this post, I am looking at artist profile sites/platforms with a portfolio/gallery/directory focus and/or elements (as opposed to an overview of sites with a networking or collaboration focus).

Most are more passive gallery-style sites, but since they can help artists get found and some offer free ways of presenting artists’ portfolio of work and develop opportunities to connect with collectors and provide ways of selling artworks. With that in mind, it’s important to consider them.

 Artist Profiles on Portfolio & Gallery platforms

SaatchiOnline.com

SaatchiOnline.com is more of a portfolio site and enables artists to sell direct to collectors.

Obviously it has the strength of the Saatchi brand as it relates to art.

Screen shot of SaatchiOnline.com home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screen shot of SaatchiOnline.com home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

From the website:

Saatchi Online is a platform that allows emerging artists to showcase and sell their work and gives art lovers insider access to new talent from around the world. Started by London’s renowned Saatchi Gallery, Saatchi Online aims to continue the gallery’s legacy of promoting new, contemporary talent and bringing great art to a wide audience.
For Art Lovers
A place for first-time buyers and serious collectors alike, Saatchi Online brings new talent directly to our members through a curated environment. Featuring a diverse range of mediums and price ranges, Saatchi Online makes it easy for anyone to purchase art. Like something? We’ll deliver it directly from the artist to you, anywhere in the world.
For Artists
Our vision has always been to empower sustainable careers. We enable artists to sell their originals as well as make them available as prints while giving them access to an engaged global audience. Artists manage their own portfolios and price their own work letting both artists and collectors skip the formalities of the traditional gallery structure.

Count of Artist profiles on the site:

Screen shot of SaatchiOnline.com artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screen shot of SaatchiOnline.com artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Note on Australian Artists:

As at 9 September 2013, there is no easy/direct/exact way of filtering artist profiles by location. I queried SaatchiOnline, the suggestion was: Click “Shop for Art” on the homepage and filter the search by “Location.”

As at 3 September, there were 3130 works of art by Australian artists, that’s 87 pages of results ( in case you wondered), when filtered by Originals Only and viewed as full images. That number grew to 3157 by the time I finished going through each of those 87 pages (today 9 September 2013).

To get the number of ~336 artists profiles, I I trawled through those 87 pages of results, collating a list of artists currently with work for sale; then I removed duplicates to get that number. It will only ever be an approximation as there is scope for a couple of issues:

  • Manual error on my part if I missed a particular arts (87 pages of search results people…I am only human)
  • If the artist doesn’t yet have work for sale or has sold all their work (Will have to see if sold works are kept active in the portfolio, but that’s for another day)
  • There were 27 new results in the search results from the time I started to the time I completed. These could be new works by existing artists, or they could have been completely new artists…until there is a filter within SaatchiOnline’s artist directory, I will never be able to get an exact count.

I now have list of those 336 artists and links to each of their profiles which I am tempted to post in case anyone is interested…

Count of Profiles
Letter Global
A 2334
B 3804
C 3076
D 2419
E 837
F 1615
G 2447
H 2338
I 461
J 1060
K 2473
L 2294
M 4187
N 1024
O 788
P 2524
Q 96
R 2287
S 4282
T 1646
U 184
V 1407
W 1735
X 49
Y 365
Z 576
Total 46,308

Looking at visitors to the site:

Cavaet: tools like Quantcast, Compete et al are perhaps more useful at giving a broad brush stroke picture rather than being authorative statements of data that is definitively, unquestionably accurate. They are more useful at indicating growth trends and seasonal trends, as the exact numbers cited vary.  Numbers are more likely to be focused on a US visitor audience and smaller sites may not register.

Compete data

Rolling graph (this will update as Compete release new data ):

Notes:

  • UV = Unique visitors
  • Compete reflects US data only

Because the above is a rolling total, I have included a screen shot of the past 12 months so you can compare it to Quantcast data (an alternate competitor traffic analysis tool):

Artist-Profiles-Compete-SaatchiOnline

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Quantcast data

Artist-Profiles-Quantcast-Traffic

Screenshot of Quantcast Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Artslant.com

Artslant.com is mentioned in Artpromotivate’s post on social networks for artists:

…the #1 contemporary art network, has comprehensive calendars for openings, exhibits and events, a worldwide community of professional artists, and local city editions for the art lover.

Screen shot of Artslant.com home page (Take 3 September 2013)

Screen shot of Artslant.com home page (Taken 3 September 2013)

Features: You can add profiles, display an exhibition history and archive, plus display up to 60 artworks displayed in a rotating slideshow. The site goes beyond profiling artists, with curators, writers, art lovers, artists, art professionals and more also able to add profiles.

Count of Artist profiles on the site

Artist-Profiles-Artslant-Directory

Screen shot of Artslant.com home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

Note – it is particularly painful to get a count of artist profiles on this site:

  • While you can filter profiles to only display artists in an A-Z list, you have to navigate A through Z to see profiles for each letter (no overall total and no total within each letter).
  • Plus the pagination of the results for each letter is not dependent on a count of results: there will always be 20 pages for each letter regardless of amount of profiles within that letter.

What this means:

  • For letters where there are nowhere near 1000 artists (e.g. with a surname starting with Q, X, or Z):  you have to trawl back through the 20 pages to find the last page of results (I was only interested in the last page of results as I wanted a count of all profiles for that letter).
  • For popular letters: you can only navigate through 20 pages of artist profiles (50 profiles per page). Based on some of the surnames on that 20th page, I suspect that there are more artist profiles for some letters, but there is no way of navigating to them using the site navigation*. With that in mind, what I could find may not be the full count.

* Some examples of truncation of artist profiles for popular letters:

  • “D” truncates at Devine, too bad if you are an artist with a surname like Dix, Duchamp or Dufy
  • “G” truncates at Godoy, too bad if your are an artist with a surname like Gris, Gros, Grosz or Guston
Count of Profiles
Letter Global Australia
A 1000** 19
B 1000** 37
C 1000** 18
D 1000** 27
E 688 16
F 1000** 15
G 1000** 23
H 1000** 21
I 387 3
J 879 11
K 1000** 15
L 1000** 14
M 1000** 34
N 817 3
O 622 5
P 1000** 21
Q 87 1
R 1000** 23
S 1000** 30
T 1000** 17
U 130 1
V 997 10
W 1000** 21
X 36 0
Y 302 3
Z 374 3
Total 20,319 391

** Letters where there may actually be more results, but design of search results in site prevents navigation to those results.

Looking at visitors to the site:

Cavaet: tools like Quantcast, Compete et al are perhaps more useful at giving a broad brush stroke picture rather than being authorative statements of data that is definitively, unquestionably accurate. They are more useful at indicating growth trends and seasonal trends, as the exact numbers cited vary.  Numbers are more likely to be focused on a US visitor audience and smaller sites may not register.

Compete data

Rolling graph (this will update as Compete release new data ):

Notes:

  • UV = Unique visitors
  • Compete reflects US data only

Because the above is a rolling total, I have included a screen shot of the past 12 months so you can compare it to Quantcast data (an alternate competitor traffic analysis tool):

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 - July 2013)

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Quantcast data

Artist-Profiles-Quantcast-Traffic

Screenshot of Quantcast Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Rhizome.org

Rhizome.org is mentioned in Artpromotivate’s post on social networks for artists:

The [Rhizome] ArtBase encompasses a vast range of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers to aesthetics and critical ends. We welcome submissions to the ArtBase; they are reviewed by our curatorial staff on a monthly basis.

Screen shot of Rhizome.org home page (Taken 3 September 2013)

Screen shot of Rhizome.org home page (Taken 3 September 2013)

 

Count of Artist profiles on the site:

Screen shot of Rhizome.org artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screen shot of Rhizome.org artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

I could find no way of drilling down to a particular region.

Looking at visitors to the site:

Cavaet: tools like Quantcast, Compete et al are perhaps more useful at giving a broad brush stroke picture rather than being authorative statements of data that is definitively, unquestionably accurate. They are more useful at indicating growth trends and seasonal trends, as the exact numbers cited vary.  Numbers are more likely to be focused on a US visitor audience and smaller sites may not register.

Compete data

Rolling graph (this will update as Compete release new data ):

Notes:

  • UV = Unique visitors
  • Compete reflects US data only

Because the above is a rolling total, I have included a screen shot of the past 12 months so you can compare it to Quantcast data (an alternate competitor traffic analysis tool):

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 - July 2013)

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Quantcast data

Artist-Profiles-Quantcast-Traffic

Screenshot of Quantcast Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

CultureInside.com

CultureInside.com is mentioned in Artpromotivate’s post on social networks for artists:

…an international multilingual online social network for the arts community

Screenshot of CultureInside home page (Take 4 September 2013)

Screenshot of CultureInside home page (Taken 4 September 2013)

Features: Set up a profile, find friends, upload work, sell work and more.

Count of Artist profiles on the site:

Screenshot of CultureInside artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screenshot of CultureInside artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Looking at visitors to the site:

Cavaet: tools like Quantcast, Compete et al are perhaps more useful at giving a broad brush stroke picture rather than being authorative statements of data that is definitively, unquestionably accurate. They are more useful at indicating growth trends and seasonal trends, as the exact numbers cited vary.  Numbers are more likely to be focused on a US visitor audience and smaller sites may not register.

Compete data

Rolling graph (this will update as Compete release new data ):

Notes:

  • UV = Unique visitors
  • Compete reflects US data only

Because the above is a rolling total, I have included a screen shot of the past 12 months so you can compare it to Quantcast data (an alternate competitor traffic analysis tool):

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 - July 2013)

Screenshot of Compete Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Quantcast data

Screenshot of Quantcast Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

Screenshot of Quantcast Data for 12 months (August 2012 – July 2013)

 

Artists2Artists.net

Artists2Artists.net is mentioned in Artpromotivate’s post on social networks for artists:

Keep up with fellow artists, curators, art gallery owners and other art community reps.  Exhibit your own artwork and videos, create your own groups, blogs and forums. Share your links and even embed your portfolio into other websites, Facebook, and more.

Screenshot of Artist2Artist home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screenshot of Artist2Artist home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

 

Count of Artist profiles:

Screenshot of Artist2Artist artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screenshot of Artist2Artist artist directory (Taken 25 August 2013)

Looking at visitors to the site:

No results retrieved for Artists2Artists on compete: siteanalytics.compete.com/artists2artists.net/ as at 4 September 2013.

Artrise.com

Artrise.com is mentioned in Artpromotivate’s post on social networks for artists:

Interact You never know whom you’ll meet. Artrise unites the entire art industry on one social networking website.

Showcase You never know what you’ll find. Artrise is your artists’ portfolio website to share what you create with others in the art network.

Expand You never know where you’ll go. Artrise engages you with other artists and art industry professionals to build your network.

Screenshot of Artrise home page (Taken 3 September 2013)

Screenshot of Artrise home page (Taken 3 September 2013)

 

Count of Artist profiles:

Screenshot of Artrise home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

Screenshot of Artrise home page (Taken 25 August 2013)

I could find no way of drilling down to a particular region.

Looking at visitors to the site:

No results retrieved for Artrise.com on compete: siteanalytics.compete.com/artrise.com/ as at 4 September 2013.

Conclusions and notes

Evaluating whether a site is a best fit to profile your work is very subjective and can depend on the nature of your work as well as your brand as an artist.

The primary driver should be whether the site/platform is the most effective way of meeting your goals. So it is important you consider what are your primary and secondary goals in setting up a  profile for yourself on any site (is it to interact with other artists, sell work, build a profile beyond your physical location).

These goals should set your priorities in terms of “must have” features and “nice but not as necessary” features, allowing you to be more strategic in considering whether different platforms meet your needs

Don’t adopt based on profile counts alone

While profile numbers are good tool to indicate adoption amongst the community of artists and they can give an overview of competitors and competition on the site, if we were to only use profile count as the measure of success, then consider the following:

Artist-Profiles-Anywhere

Artist profiles count for SaatchiOnline.com, Artslant.com, Rhizome.org, CultureInside.com, Artists2Artists.net and Artrise.com in the light of LinkedIn Search results for people with a current position title “Artist” in the “Arts & Crafts” and “Fine Arts” industry selections.

If you considered platforms based on amount of profiles along, we would probably choose LinkedIn…

However given

It may not necessarily be the best choice if your primary aim is to promote and profile your creative body of work to potential collectors, within the arts industry (internationally, nationally or locally) and the wider community.

Don’t forget that some of these sites are niche

Consider that some of the sites reviewed above are quite specialist in terms of the types of art and artists that they profile:

  • SaatchiOnline.com focuses on the more static visual arts, e.g. painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, sculpting and installations
  • Rhizome.org focuses on the more dynamic visual arts and electronic arts, e.g. artists using software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers

Others with lower profile counts, may be very popular amongst niche audiences – consider that CultureInside.com also allows writers, curators, art professionals and others to join. It could be an alternate route to building your profile and developing connections and networks beyond artist/collector sphere.

Traffic does not equal desired action

Did you note that the traffic figures estimated for each site by Compete and Quantcast varied? Both were considering US traffic only.

You will note, however, that although the traffic numbers varied, the overall trends indicated seem comparable – the peaks and troughs of Quantcast’s data are more extreme but overall the two charts, for the same time period, show the same rough shape – this is especially noticeable when looking at the estimates charted for SaatchiOnline.

We know the tools for competitor site analysis do have some flaws, so external traffic measures should also not be the only measure of success:

  • If your intention is to sell work, then you should consider the sales record of the site. The sales that is more likely to indicate the site’s success in terms of converting visitors into money in your pocket (minus a reasonable commission of course)
  • Reviews by other users will also help you make the most optimal decision
  • Evaluations of others experiences on different sites is also good (they may recommend alternatives you have not yet considered).

Sites not covered:

There were a couple of sites I had to put into the not relevant basket for various reasons (not as relevant to an Australian audience, not aiming at professional artists as the core audience or portfolios were not accessible to visitors):

  • LabforCulture.org: European focus
  • ArtReview: Public access end is a magazine/blog format. The post states it’s possible to participate in groups/forums and create a portfolio – but artist profiles not searchable (or not obviously searchable to the outsider, i.e. me) and I am not willing to pay the subscription fee to find out what you can and can’t do as a subscriber.
  • ArtBistro: Appears to be aimed more at Secondary School/College market (helping them choose art institutes) and early career arts/design grads (helping them find jobs and start careers in industry). There are groups and discussions available on joining, but artist profiles are not searchable (or not obviously searchable to the outsider, i.e. me)
  • Artlog: Public access end is a magazine/blog format. The post states it’s possible to participate in groups/forums and create a portfolio – but artist profiles not searchable (or not obviously searchable to the outsider, i.e. me)
  • Ugallery: While it does have an “International” location filter, there is primarily a USA focus

And two I put into the too hard-to-search-today basket for now:

  • Behance.net is very pretty and very explorative and very much for serious creatives (profiles of some amazing and reknowned people on there), but it hurt my brain in terms of searching.
    There appears to be no publically accessible “directory” of artists outside of searching on terms or specific filters, and the search results don’t return a count…making it a little difficult to get actual figures for locations.
  • DeviantArt.com is an online network for artists and art enthusiasts, The About deviantArt.com states “Proudly showing 265 million pieces of art from over 28 million registered artists and art appreciators”. There also appeared to be no publically accessible “directory” of artists, and I am not sure it has the credibility amongst serious contemporary/visual/fine artists…(that may change after I conduct the straw-poll-becoming-a-survey mentioned in Where are all the artists…on LinkedIn?)
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Comments
One Response to “Artist Profiles on Portfolio and Gallery platforms”
  1. Nathaniel says:

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article
    seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I’m
    not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser
    compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.
    Many thanks

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