Free Online Artist Portfolios: Part Four
I’m back, finally!
I signed up with MyArtSpace in 2006 or 2007. It’s a lovely space, with a very professional look. I’m probably more fond of MyArtSpace than I should be because it’s really buggy. I’m only today finding out just how buggy it is! For instance, I can’t log in to it through my usual browser (Firefox, probably because I have AdBlock and Flash Block turned on) — but whatever the reason is, the “submit” button is missing from the login section of the page on my browser in FF, and I can’t find an alternative location to login from, so I’m having to use an alternative browser.
Even worse than that, however, is that when I go to view my art in different browsers, it may or may not show up! First I couldn’t view my own gallery if I was logged in using Opera 9, Google Chrome, and IE 7, but I can’t view my galleries in Safari for Windows whether I’m logged in or not. That’s not good.
And let me just go ahead and get my final complaint out of the way: MyArtSpace allows artists to add music to their gallery pages. In my humble opinion, this is a bad idea. It has nothing to do with viewing art, and the last thing I want when I go to any webpage is for somebody’s else’s choice of music to start auto-playing over the music I’m already listening to, so I will click away faster than you can say “lickety-split.” Your mileage may vary, but artists — beware; just because you can add something to your web page, doesn’t mean you should. This is most true for sound and animation — unless you’re a musician or an animator, and even then, you probably want to allow viewers to turn it on; or at least turn it off, but by no means should you offer your viewers no choice — unless you want to lose potential viewers.
Enough with the complaints; let’s get to the heart of the matter — creating your own gallery. As with most online portfolios, it’s a good idea to keep your resume, statement, and bio in a plain text format, such as in Notepad, and then copy and paste from that into the appropriate little boxes provided for such information. The little info boxes on MyArtSpace are quite small, so be sure to check that your information got inserted correctly — that your desired content is all there and that undesired line breaks didn’t get inserted.
Uploading your images to the galleries can be a little more complicated on MyArtSpace than on some other online portfolios; first, you need to upload the images, then organize them into portfolios, and then from the portfolios, create your galleries. Luckily they provide a good tutorial, helpful graphics, and a wizard to make things even easier. In fact, you probably want to use the wizard to upload your work the first time — or anytime you plan to upload several pieces into a new gallery.
After they’ve been uploaded, your images will be contained in an image library, where you can go to add new work, and edit or make some detailed adjustments to existing work (such as adding a watermark and making the images printable, zoomable, downloadable, and emailable). Just go to “Edit and Organize My Art.”
In either the wizard or the standard library view, there’s a nifty tag cloud for adding tags chosen from a list. I used to be able to add my own tags (such as “encaustic,” which is not an option you can choose from), but now attempting to add my own tag just hangs up the browser.
The portfolios are for organizing bodies of work, and you can add a description for each portfolio, choose which piece represents which portfolio, and add new pieces to each portfolio.
Finally, the gallery page is where your work gets publicly displayed. They are displays of your artwork in a Flash-based page; one page per each gallery. Any image that is not in a portfolio cannot be added to a gallery. Each gallery contains thumbnails and a large image slideshow, with information for each image. Here’s where the music would play if you added it. Here’s where I would click away from your work if music plays. Just sayin.’
I haven’t found a way to re-order the order in which your images are displayed, and it seems they are displayed with the latest added shown first. Just keep that in mind as you build your galleries. Start with the one you want on the left first.
MyArtSpace also offers an online store, but it costs, with various options and price points. I haven’t added it, as I have my own website.
As with most other online portfolio sites, the artwork on the front page is displayed by most recently added, which quickly falls off the front page. I added a few things in the past hour or two, and they are now on pages 2 and 3, and I’m sure they will be buried deep by the time I publish this story. (Amendment: the front page does not show the most recent work, but featured content; however, you can search for “Most Recent” artists, galleries, or images. Several hours after my initial post of this story, my images are on pages 9 & 10, and my latest Gallery addition is on page 4 of “Most Recent” under “Galleries” For what it’s worth).
My two favorite things about MyArtSpace are the quality of articles about artists (as well as the quality of artists showing there), and the opportunities for community with other artists. I have met quite a few artists online through MyArtSpace. You can “friend” other artists, and send them emails when you add new work or have an opening.
They also offer what seem to be some high-quality art contests with great opportunities to show your work.
Overall, I view MyArtSpace as an attractive (if flawed) space to show your work, but more importantly, it’s a great place to connect with other artists – if you use it to it’s fullest potential — and a great place to see and read about some very cutting edge work. Worth the effort, I think….
My next review will be in a few days as I sign up for FineArtAmerica.