It isn't perfect, but I have been working on this for a very, very long time (perhaps almost 2 years now)...I've been dragging my feet, trying to get it perfect. But to be honest, there are just pieces I don't have right now. And I am no longer going to use that as an excuse to hold me back from moving forward.
Through facebook, google+, greenmartini, modelmayhem, coroflot, etc I have put a lot of time and effort into ways that were supposed to allow me to share my work with others-be it modeling, graphic design, painting, photography, etc. Some of these worked decent. Some were a waste of time for me. One thing was for sure, it is way too much work maintaining so many accounts! Plus, which ones do you include on business cards, since no one site seems to be able to do it all-I guess that is the consequence of not having just a single area of focus. It was time to think about a website...a place where I had a little more control over the layout/design, and could just have a selective portfolio for ALL of the art forms I do.
I decided to go with WIX because I initially thought they had a shop option that was included in the free package-I need free because I most definitely fit the label of starving artist, and while this is not ideal (wix gets to advertise on my site) and I worry about how others will view that and judge me, it is better than nothing. After everything was designed and ready to launch, I found out that in order to actually USE the shop, I had to upgrade my account, which unfortunately wasn't an option right now. While I understand in many cases why there are fees for artists to have a shot at selling any work (even in galleries, shows, or real life shops), it causes a huge issue if you are already spending more than you make just to make the art to begin with, not to mention all of the other expenses that go into this line of work. It ends up forcing the artist to raise prices way beyond what the average person is willing to spend, and in a cruel cycle, personally I feel it often times cuts the chances of them selling their work anyway. Crushed that the shop I worked so hard to put together was down the pooper, I started to brainstorm... cue the endless research, and with the help of a friend who tested so many online shop options for me, we eventually found shophandmade.com and I created my online shop ... while this did not allow me to do my initial goal-of having everything in one spot-and created yet another account to manage, it did however allow me to get my paintings/knitted creations out there and it opens up the option of people being able to purchase handmade, original artwork, directly from me, in an easy way, from the comfort of their own home, wherever that may be.
Redesigning my website happened so many times, I lost count. Whether it was due to the color scheme, the layout, the various templates, etc. I found myself struggling with a familiar issue... I've always had a difficult time labeling myself, committing to anything to define ME (signatures, logos, website designs, descriptions, art titles, artist statements, business names, etc). The templates and stock backgrounds were nice and easy, but something was just off...no matter what I did. The graphic designer/artist in me wanted something more original...after all, I am creating a lot of one-of-a-kind art. It finally hit me... go back to where some of this stuff really took off...where I really started being my own artist: self portraits. How much more "me" could that get?! Suddenly, everything just started falling into place. I knew the perfect image, which lead to a color scheme, and layout. What a great reminder to just reconnect with myself, to be the true me, to stop feeling like I have to commit to outside ideas/labels/templates as a definition of me... and realize, none of this has to be permanent. I can change my mind and redesign at any point. It was amazing how much more freely things flowed, how much more enjoyable it was. It got back to the original goal-of creating something that was FREEING.
Loads of other issues had crept up in between, including my computer suddenly becoming too old to use WIX's site/editor. Crap. Thank goodness for kind friends with computers. Though that issue should make updates in the future continue to remain an adventure. ;)
After all the brick walls, the hurdles, the struggles, the worries... I am so very happy to finally be able to share this... http://nfgartist.wix.com/nfgartist