Having been a professional artist for around 20 years, I have a huge catalogue of work. This catalogue amounted to around 320 works, all of which were presented on my website. I used my website as an archive of my work. It was useful for me to see what work I had produced and what work was available. I also used it as a resource for others (especially students) who often email me for questions. The website included press and links to interviews. It was essentially a one-stop place for my work.
My mentor was very keen that I completely redesign my site. She felt that it, in its current state, it did not present my work in the best light. It looked old-fashioned and; thus, made my work look traditional. She felt that the way my website presented my work made me a difficult sell to the type of galleries with whom I might to develop a relationship. I essentially needed a re-brand. My work needed to become fresh and contemporary. My catalogue of work required a major edit to only focus upon work that was relevant to now. My mentor suggested some website I should look at, particularly those where you can just click on a single image on the home page and you can scroll through several works. All the websites she suggested were very simple in format. They had little text with the work presented on a simple white background. They had very few sidebars. Alongside the artwork, there was an ‘about’ section and a ‘contact’ section. ‘About’ had a general artist statement and bio.
What my mentor pointed out was that my website was a shop window for my work. If I needed an archive of work, I should do this elsewhere. My mentor also suggested which work I should have on the site. Over 300 works were edited down to around 20. I had 8 in past works, and around 15 in current work. I found this very difficult. I didn’t always agree with the works that were chosen, but I also realised that if I needed to change the perception of work, I had to trust my mentor and their judgment. Some works that I considered landmark pieces were omitted in favour of works I had never considered my strongest. However, as a gallerist, I am also very aware that works that an artist considers their best work aren’t always their strongest. Artists tend to focus on the process more than the finished outcome, so their judgement can be swayed by the challenge of making a particular work. In my role as Director of PAPER, I am also aware that the works that may sell in exhibitions aren’t always the ones that both I and the artist might not believe are either of our favourites. Therefore, I had to trust in my mentor’s experience and knowledge and follow her judgement
You can view my redesigned website at www.david-hancock.com. I used a template in Squarespace. Squarespace allowed me to create a very simple and professional website, and they have a variety of templates. It isn’t the cheapest option available, but it is the most reliable and easily the best. I designed websites on various host sites offering versions of these sites to my mentor to comment. Squarespace offered everything she had requested and gave the finished site her full approval.