Do you know how to create a fine art portfolio online?

To make money as a fine artist, you need to put your work in front of gallery owners, professional curators, and art collectors.

Creating an online portfolio seems like an obvious way to start, but with

at least 100 platforms, apps, and websites that promise to help promote your art, it can be hard to know where to spend your time.

We’ve put together a guide to 5 of the most popular and effective online portfolio tools* specifically for fine artists.

*No social media tools are covered in this article as they are something different altogether. If you’d like to know more about using social media to gain popularity and market your art, then jump to our article about marketing art with zero budget.

Web & App Portfolio: Behance (FREE)

At a glance: Behance gets 60+ million page views every month so the opportunity for discovery is high. But with 10 million members and counting, your portfolio might struggle to stand out.

Millions of creatives, from designers to fine artists host their works on Behance. The portfolio site was bought by Adobe and ties in nicely with Creative Cloud apps (if you use them).

Behance is free to use and you can throw a portfolio together really quickly. Here’s an example:

Click here to open the portfolio

If you gain followers, likes, and views from the Behance community, your art will be featured on the front page. That means you have a high chance of getting discovered by curators and collectors.

Behance also has an app for IOS and Android that allows you to access your portfolio on your device and offline. On the downside, your portfolio layout will look just like everyone else’s and your image thumbnails will always be displayed in the same way.

Get started on Behance

Web Portfolio: Small Victories (FREE*)

At a glance: Put all of your images in a dropbox folder, connect it to Small Victories, select a template, and get a gallery-style website. Fast, easy, and basic.

If you don’t want to spend lots of time creating an online portfolio this is perfect. The free tool is the passion project of two coders and is really easy to use — even if you’re not good with technology.

Drop all your art into a Dropbox folder, log onto, connect Dropbox, and choose a site template. For an art portfolio site, we suggest using the Slideshow or Feed theme. Remember to resize your images so they load quickly.

On the downside, this tool is pretty basic. If you want anything fancy you’ll need to do the HTML code yourself. And if you want to customize your domain name, you’ll need to buy the Pro version (only $36 a year).

We think this is perfect if you want to create multiple portfolios for different uses, but is a little too limited to be your only online portfolio. Plus you can’t access it offline.

*Pro version available for just $36 a year.

Get started on Small Victories

Web & App Portfolio: DeviantArt (FREE*)

At a glance: This is the place to go if you want a community of artists (even if most of them are digital creators).

If you want to know where the artists hang out online — it’s here. DeviantArt is the most popular site for artists on the internet. As with the other options on this list, you can upload your art and make a portfolio with ease, but the biggest advantage to DeviantArt is community.

You can write journals, comment on artwork (and get comments in return) and participate in highly active forums. It’s a great way to build connections with artists around the world.

If you want to sell digital prints of your artwork, DeviantArt makes the whole process simple with their online store. Upload your work, choose the option to make it a ‘print’ and let people buy prints on paper or canvas.

On the other hand, the majority of art on Deviantart is digital, so as a fine artist you might need to work a little harder to find like-minded artists.

Get started on DeviantArt

App Portfolio: D Emptyspace (FREE)

At a glance: If you want your portfolio to stand out, a virtual gallery space ought to do the trick! This is a new app, but it’s easy to use and not oversaturated with millions of creatives.

Our app is a great way to set up a unique online portfolio. Unlike other options on this list, you’re able to create a full virtual gallery with walls and everything. You can upload your art, scale it to whatever size you like, and make multiple galleries in different colors.

It’s a great option if you need to show a potential curator a specific theme or series of work. And yes, you can share your galleries with people who don’t have the app.

To be fair, D Emptyspace is still new and developing. You can only get it on IOS — we’re still working on the Android and Web versions. But we’re a small team dedicated to building a diverse community of artists around the world. Bonus: It’s early days, so the chances of getting noticed and followed by others is high!

Get started on D Emptyspace

Web Portfolio: Fabrik ($11 Monthly)

In a nutshell: If you want a no-nonsense customizable website AND portfolio, this is how you do it.

Fabrik is your ultimate hack to create a beautiful website with an art portfolio. The system is pretty intelligent and handles the complicated stuff like image resizing and embedding. In their own words, “let us spend our time thinking about things like load-balancing, geo-locational efficiency, site-caching and scaling infrastructure. We have people here that enjoy that sort of thing, you just get on with making great work”.

You can choose from 8 themes and customize the layout even further. Added features include blog scheduling and email support. All this doesn’t come for free though. You’ll still need to buy a domain name (if you’d like it customized) and pay $11 a month or $110 a year.

Get started on Fabrik

Tips & Trick to Build Your Online Portfolio Fast

Before you launch into signing up and making a portfolio, prepare yourself with these items. They’ll help you work much faster and save time when creating portfolios over multiple platforms.

  1. A folder of hi-res photographs of all the art you want to upload (here’s a guide)
  2. A pre-written artist’s bio in a word document that you can copy and paste (here’s some good advice)
  3. Artwork names (and descriptions if you need them)
  4. A sense of how your artwork fits together to tell a story

Download D Emptyspace for iOS:

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download

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What the Ratio 1:1.61 Has to Do With Hanging an Incredible Exhibition

What the Ratio 1:1.61 Has to Do With Hanging an Incredible Exhibition

“Here’s where you’ll curate your art for the exhibition.”

You’ve been so focused on creating art, you probably haven’t thought about how you’ll show it.

Staring up at that blank slate, wondering what to put where can be paralyzing. Especially if your work is different in size and style.

Do you feel confused about hanging an exhibition? Here’s a quick guide to beating the fear and laying out your first exhibition.

Using Grid-based Layouts

Grid-based layouts are easy to implement and plan out. The key is to leave equal spaces between artworks and keep things looking uniform.

The golden ratio helps you plan compositions that are pleasing to the eye.

The golden ratio is the mathematical ratio of 1:1.61. It’s been used by great artists, architects, and more for over 4000 years. Some people even argue that it was used in the construction of the pyramids! Here’s what the golden ratio looks like:

In practice, you can use it to create a gallery layout that looks something like this:

The golden ratio is an exceptionally powerful system to use if you’re struggling to get things to just ‘look right’. Follow the flow of the spiral and compose your work as one cohesive whole rather than individual pieces. This works best for series and multi-paneled works.

The perfect viewing height

Here’s where things get really interesting.

When people first put their artwork on D Emptyspace, they get pretty excited about increasing the scale of their work. We’ve seen artworks take over full walls — and we love it!

However, these big works might look great on the app, but blowing your work up too big in real life has some significant downsides. Before you decide to go 8 foot high with your prints, think about how far away from your viewer will be from your work.

Will they be able to appreciate your art in its entirety? Or will they have to put their neck out trying to see what’s happening near the ceiling?

Conventional wisdom tells us that the perfect viewing and hanging height for artwork is eye level. (If you want to get really specific, 58-inches from the floor to your painting’s centerline is the exact height you should aim for.)

If you’re attaching the artwork to the wall (not hanging it from wires), remember to add ½ the height of your painting to the recommended 58 inches to figure out the position to hang from.

The viewing height rule doesn’t apply to digital spaces, so have some fun!

When you’re curating a digital art gallery, you can cover as much or as little of the gallery wall as you like. Because your viewer will be looking at your gallery from their device, they’ll be able to view the full range of your work no matter how much space on the screen it takes up. When in doubt, just try filling the entire wall.

This is where you can really start to play with scale. In a digital space, a wall transforms into a canvas for you to ‘paint’ with your art.

A final note on breathing room

Just like you create drama in your art pieces with silhouettes and shapes, don’t forget to do the same thing when curating your gallery wall.

Juxtapose complex works by giving them plenty of breathing room and neutral space. This simple trick will take your exhibit from cluttered and amateur to sleek and professional.

Download D Emptyspace for iOS:

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download


How To Get an Exhibition in the Big City When You’re a Nobody

How To Get an Exhibition in the Big City When You’re a Nobody

Getting your artwork in front of the right eyes isn’t an easy task.

There’s a crazy concentration of artists, buyers, sellers, collectors, and galleries in big cities like New York and London. They’re practically bursting at the seams with creativity. The opportunity as an artist is incredible but these major cities also attract the best of the best. In other words, your competition is tough. Really tough.

We talked to six successful artists, curators, and collectors to get their top tips for getting your foot in the door with galleries in major cities.

If you don’t buy a ticket you’ll never win the lotto

A few months ago, I chatted with an artist named Cande Argiluar (amazing guy, doing amazing cross-cultural work). He was busy preparing for his first exhibition in New York. His story was almost a depressing one — for the few weeks before getting the good news from New York, he was thinking of giving up on exhibiting altogether.

But he got the call. And now he’s so busy painting, creating, and exhibiting, that he couldn’t even find the time to give me a quick quote for this article!

Point is, getting into a gallery is tough. But if you get scared and don’t jump into the fray, you’ll never make it.

Artist Cande Argiluar standing by his piece “Ha Ha Ha”

Every day a man begged God to win the lottery. But he stayed poor until he died. Soon he accused God, “I begged every single day to win the lottery, but you never helped me!” and God replied somewhat exasperated, “You never bought a ticket.”

How to start talking to gallery owners and curators

I’ve spoken to artists and curators, and they all say the same thing. Developing a personal relationship with gallery owners or curators is the best way to get your work on the wall.

UK artist and curator Simon Tarrant has curated exhibitions at the Tower of London, held successful pop-up exhibitions, and has been reviewed by the BBC and the New York Post Here’s his advice.

“It’s about researching if your work fits with the profile of the gallery, however from personal experience I have had most success when creating my own pop-up exhibitions in unusual places.”

But what about getting your work into bigger exhibitions?

“All galleries are hard to get in to and invariably it comes down to cultivating relationships with curators and jumping on as many competition and group exhibition opportunities as possible. Curator Space is an excellent platform to find out about new exhibition opportunities.”

Simon Tarrant pictured with Debbie Moore in front of his artwork “Pineapples”

And if you don’t actually live in the big city? There are plenty of ways you can still create a personal connection with gallery owners, and in some cases, bypass that need entirely. Simon’s first big win was through applying for a group show.

“I got into my first big gallery, the Royal Academy of Art by applying for the Summer Exhibition. With a rotating committee each year it’s a bit of a lottery, but nothing ventured nothing gained. More often than not it [applying to galleries] is as part of a group show or charity fundraising exhibition. For example I will be participating as part of Art for Youth UK, which takes place at the Mall Galleries from 11–13 December.”

Participating in charity events can be a way to put your career on the fast track. It shows that your art has a market (people will buy it), puts your name out there, and according to an artist we interviewed, can generate lots of commissions. Click here to get all the details.

Here’s some parting advice from Simon.

“It’s all about personal contact and recommendation — pursuing each and every opportunity — and demonstrating a track record of exhibitions and a decent mailing list. Also a genuine commitment to marketing, social media and developing a sales strategy.”

Know what type of portfolio to use when

Getting your portfolio right can be a tough task. That’s why we’ve created an entire post dedicated to it. In a nutshell, just one version of your portfolio isn’t going to cut it.

If you’re applying by sending in a physical portfolio (a technique many artists use), you might actually be wasting your time.

“It’s a challenging process, especially as so many galleries use relatively unqualified interns to assess portfolios.” Simon Tarrant

In some cases, curators are looking to receive a specific submission centered around a theme.

“When I put out a call for submissions, I ask for artists to submit up to three pieces. What I prefer to see from artists is a cohesive grouping because I like to give each artist their own section of wall space. When I get submissions that do not relate well to one another either in technique, subject, or point of view it’s difficult for me to understand what the artist is trying to say. I like to hang pieces that are immediately recognizable for that individual artist.”
— Joseph Abbati, Curator for Scott Weiber’s California State Senate Office

Joseph Abbati pictured next to one of his “Linemen” series

Here are some must-haves for your portfolio toolbox:

  1. An offline folder with hi-res photos of your art on your phone or tablet
  2. An online gallery/dedicated portfolio on an app like D Emptyspace
  3. An up-to-date website with hi-res images of your work and more detailed descriptions
  4. Small printed samples of your work that you can carry around with you (some artist laminate these and put them on a little ring binder)
  5. Bigger prints to show art galleries (either in person or via mail)

The key to a good portfolio is to “Keep it simple,” as pro fashion and portrait photographer Andrew McMeekin says.

“Don’t go on about yourself and about how you were a photographer when you were four and your grandma bought you your first camera. No one is vaguely interested in that story. If you check some statistics on websites, you’ve only got about 3 lines before someone gets bored and switches the page. So make sure your vision and portfolio is very easy to navigate.”
— Andrew McMeekin, Photographer

Andrew McMeekin pictured on the Salt Flats of Bolivia

Start Collaborating with Other Artists

Collaboration is a no-brainer. When you work with another artist, or even with a group of artists, you instantly get a group of people with different strengths and resources working towards a singular goal.

It’s a powerful thing.

Street artist Mohammed Ali regularly collaborates with painters, musicians, and other creatives for his live painting shows. He’s got some interesting criteria when choosing to work with someone or not.

“The artists I collaborate with have to not only be good artists, but also good people. If you’re a basic asshole with a big ego, I can’t work with you. I can’t connect with you. I want someone who’s gonna share positivity. Just be respectful and nice.” — Mohammed Ali

When looking to collaborate with people, make sure you find artists who compliment your personality type, and who are just as passionate as you are.

Street artist Mohammed Ali (Aerosol)

Blend creative passion with business-sense

Burnout is real. If you overwhelm yourself with an endless list of tasks and a plan that you never stick to, you might start resenting your work. The solution to this? Build a strategy that supports you in your pursuits.

Prolific painter Ricky Joyce (who’s aiming to get into the big New York galleries soon) gives some parting sage advice, “To continuously set up exhibits and show your face takes a lot of time and money. It’s important to make sure exhibits are worthwhile for you financially and time-wise. Always make sure they are a good fit for your art practice.

Download D Emptyspace for iOS:

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download