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Web presence is a must for artists

This article was published in the March 2002 "Artists of South Sound".  It was written by Elizabeth Bennett, Editor and Publisher.  For more information about "Artists of South Sound" you can telephone (360) 705-2766 or email
     Making art is only the beginning of a long journey for an artist.  If he or she wants to sell that art, it will require a great deal of work and smart marketing.
     When designing a marketing plan, don't forget the Internet, says Ed Thompson.
     "In this day and age, having a Web presence is absolutely mandatory if you're interested in being seen.  You just have to be there."
     Thompson has been managing his wife's Web site ( for five years.  Two years ago he volunteered to handle Web pages for members of the Olympia Art League.  The site,, now showcases the work of 22 artists who pay just $25 a year for Thompson to produce their Web site pages.
     Thompson says artists exhibit their work via the Internet for different reasons.  Some enjoy posting their artwork to share it with friends and family in faraway places.
     "It ranges from artists who are doing it for fun to artists like Carol, whose art is her sole source of income," says Thompson.
     However, people can only see what they know about.  Thompson says artists can't be shy about flaunting their Web site address.  Have it printed on business cards, mailing address labels and checks, and include it in e-mail signatures.
     Getting the Web page up and working requires a lot of work for both the artist and a
Web master.  If an artist wants the site to work, he or she must supply information that will attract Web surfers.
     "The better information you give to the service provider, the better chance you'll be found," Thompson explained.  "The Internet is made up of key words, so an artist must look at himself as key words.  What they do is a key word, who they are is a key word."
     For example, key words that lead to Carol Thompson's Web site include seascape, sunset, art, fine, artist, oils, painting, print, limited, note, and card.
     Sometimes a word will present a selling opportunity from an unusual source.  Carol has sold several prints of a rose called "Chrysler Imperial" that grows in front of the couple's home in Olympia.  Car buffs, in search of a car of that same name, have been led to the painting on Carol's site, which resulted in sales to nontraditional customers.
     Take advantage of the Web by selling on ebay's auction site.  Thompson, who keeps an average of 150 prints of Carol's paintings at auction, says the site has been a tremendous tool because it's a kickover to Carol's personal Web site.
     Thompson feels the Internet should be an integral part of any artist's marketing plan. 
     "Search engines are extra kickers," he says.  "It's nice having your catalog in the sky just sitting up there."
Ed Thompson can be reached at (360) 357-8368 or via e-mail at  He arrives early to the Olympia Art League meetings to answer questions.  The meeting is at 7 p.m, the second Thursday of the month, September-May, at the Capital Museum Coach House.

© 2001 Carol Thompson