5 New Websites Artists Can Use to Boost Their Careers
There can never be too many online tools to support artists and other creatives. Below, we share five innovative and practical websites launched over the past year (or slated to debut in the months ahead), which serve to make artists’ lives easier—so they can spend more time, energy, and resources on what they do best.
In 2016, London-based web developers Nick Gubbins and Scott Wooden noticed that it was increasingly difficult for their creative friends to find satisfying freelance work (and fair pay). They launched Easle early this year to help high-quality creatives get reliable gigs worldwide. They’re rolling out the platform industry by industry, with illustration and graphic design represented at present, and photography, composing, animation, and filmmaking on the horizon. The site is notable for its product features, including a messaging service and the ability to generate and process contracts and payment. All creatives and clients on Easle are vetted to ensure quality and reliability, and are held accountable for work and payments.
Kickstarter’s new platform for creatives of all stripes works on a subscription model, allowing users to support individual artists. A clear competitor to Patreon, Drip allows people to pay small monthly amounts (as little as $1) to individual artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, podcasters, or others, and in return they receive perks: behind-the-scenes photographs, videos, podcasts, or even a work of art. Though it launched in November, the site is still in beta mode and operating on an invite-only basis, but a public launch is slated for early 2018. While its efficacy remains to be seen, Drip is particularly well suited to artists who create work that is digital or internet-based, and is especially tempting for those who already have a sizable social media following to capitalize on.
The brainchild of former gallerist Adam Yokell (who, in full disclosure, formerly worked at Artsy), Foundwork serves to connect artists with gallerists and curators, to help them get representation, exhibitions, or other career-boosting opportunities. Any artist who attended or is currently in a U.S. MFA program is welcome to set up a profile on the site, which can include an unlimited number of images, a CV, and other biographical details. The aim is to introduce lesser-known and emerging artists to gallerists and curators, who can sign up for an account and use Foundwork to contact artists directly. Though the user base is still small, it includes a strong geographic diversity and artists from top MFA programs like Yale, UCLA, and Columbia.
Though it launched in the U.K. in 2016, this year Fat Lama arrived in the U.S., allowing more creative people to rent out their expensive equipment, from cameras to video gear, drones, or musical instruments. (It’s particularly well suited to photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and DJs.) Dubbed an “Airbnb for stuff” by founders Chaz Englander, Rosie Dallas, and Owen Turner-Major, the online platform helps individuals both earn and save cash. For example, an artist can list her DSLR on the site and make an easy $50 by loaning it out for the day. Meanwhile, the artist renting that camera gets what they need for a specific gig—without having to spend $2,000 to buy the equipment herself.
Artists and other creatives have long been hard-pressed to find a comprehensive, user-friendly website that provides listings for artist residencies, grants, incubators, open-call exhibitions, and other opportunities. Katrina Neumann, Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria, and Kira Simon-Kennedy sought to rectify this by building Rivet, a unified database of “programs of all kinds that provide time, space, and support for creative people to develop their work,” as Simon-Kennedy writes in Rivet’s guide to applying for these opportunities. The site, which is planned to launch in spring 2018, aims to not only aggregate these opportunities, but also make it easy for artists to parse through them and filter down to their own qualifications and interests. The online platform has been in the works since fall 2016, when the founders began work on it at the New Museum’s NEW INC incubator.
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Creativity Editor.