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Show Your Stuff: Getting Your Work Online

Show Your Stuff: Getting Your Work Online

Originally Published October 2008

If you’re a lifelong artist like me, chances are you remember how proud you were back in grade school when the teacher would post your latest masterpiece in out in the hall, on the corkboard, for everyone to see. At home, the refrigerator door was your own personal art gallery, displaying all your latest artistic triumphs. And now that we’re all grown up, the Internet is like a refrigerator door for the whole world, a place where everyone can show their work, often for free. There are so many online galleries and photo sites, however, that it can be hard to decide which to choose. I thought I’d put together a list of places you might consider when looking for a virtual art gallery to hang your work. Your options include joining a community that offers gallery space, building a website, using a photo “sharing” site such as Flickr, and writing an art blog.

If there’s a site you know of that isn’t here, but should be, please leave me a note in the comments section.

Forums and Communities

Online forums often have member galleries where you can upload your work. One of the nice things about communities like this is that you can get feedback from other members about your work. This is a great way to improve your skills.


As the name implies, ShareCG is a file sharing site (such as ImageShack), but you can also use it as a portfolio site. It’s up to you whether or not to allow downloads of your work. There’s a forum, tutorials, and a bunch of great downloadable content here. (Added 12/15/2008)


Deviant Art, which we profiled here, is probably the world’s largest online art community. It contains a forum, and offers free gallery space. There is also a subscription option that makes the ads go away, and adds a few other new options. I can’t emphasize enough how huge dA is. You may feel overwhelmed by it’s size.

Digital Painting Forum

This forum, hosted by Painter instructor Marilyn Sholin, is subscription-based. There is gallery hosting included, and a critiquing area.


If sci-fi/fantasy is your thing, you might want to take a look at Epilogue. They offer free gallery space here, with a subdomain name ( of your very own. This makes it easy to direct interested buyers and family members to your gallery. All submissions must be approved, however.

Create Your Own Website

It used to be that, in order to have a website, you either had to know HTML or hire a website firm for a ton of money. Now there are many options, ranging from free to nearly-so, that don’t require programming knowledge. Here are some website builders that are dedicated to artists.

Big Black Bag

Big Black Bag does not have a free option, but they do offer a free seven-day trial. Their monthly rates are higher than MosaicGlobe’s (above). But they have been in business since 2004, and the service seems promising. Their focus is photographers, artists, and graphic designers.


After creating your website using Artspan’s website builder, you’ll get your own domain name and be included in their directory. It’s like a huge online art gallery, where you benefit from all the collective traffic. Paid options only. Includes a forum and other resources, making it much like a community site.

ArtistPortfolio lets you create a free online portfolio, not a website. You can upload and display unlimited images, but the display size is rather small. Chances of someone browsing the web and finding you here seem very small, as there is no search function, and your portfolio does not have a unique address.

Photo Sharing Sites

Another way to get your work online is to use one of the numerous photo sharing sites, such as Flickr. There’s no law saying you can’t upload a digital image to a photo site! A JPG is a JPG, after all. Some of these sites have community features built in, and others do not. Here’s a short list of the more well-known sites.


Flickr is big. It’s huge. It’s owned by Yahoo, so enough said. The advantage to you is that they will be around for awhile, and so will your gallery. Although Flickr has a free option, even the paid option ($24.95 per year) is dirt cheap compared to most of the website options we were just looking at. You can keep your photos on Flickr and then use them on your blog, so keep that in mind when we get to the blog section below.


SmugMug is $39.95 a year, which a lot more expensive than free, but much cheaper than most website solutions. The gallery features at SmugMug are very Web 2.0, and make Flickr look rather pale by comparison. You can use SmugMug photos on your blog, as with Flickr. There are further, professional upgrades which allow you to brand your gallery, so that it essentially looks just like a website.


Blogs have many advantages for showing your work online. They’re easy to set up. They are often free. They are search engine friendly. They’re as easy to use as a word processor. Blogs tend to be of the standard diary type: each entry is dated, and new entries “push” older ones downwards. This may be just what you’re looking for, however, if you want to “publish” your latest works as you finish them. It’s a great way to let your friends, family, and fans see what you’ve been up to. The two major blogging platforms mentioned here have free options.

Wordpress is my favorite blogging platform, and it is far and away the most popular. Digital Image Magazine is a Wordpress blog. There are tons of templates available, and you can switch designs at any time, even after you’re up and running. You can store up to 3 gigabytes of your images on Wordpress’s servers or grab them from your Flickr account. Read the full description of features here.


Google’s Blogger app is very popular. You can use your Flickr images here. Honestly, Blogger (and Google, for that matter) just seem so…Web 1.0. Just my opinion.

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