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If you’re a regular reader of The Tattoo Blog, then no doubt you’re familiar with the once a week profile of various tattoo artists that I do.  These profiles come from tattoo artists that I’ve grown fond of and who I’ve discovered through word of mouth, magazines, news, etc.  There are numerous ways that I find out about tattooists, but what it all typically comes down to is searching the internet, following links and reading.  From that point, whichever work best catches my eye and holds my attention is going to be featured.

All that being said, over the last couple of years I’ve come to formulate a few specifics that I look for while searching for artists to profile.  Through these specifics, I’ve realised that it isn’t just my own preferences at work, but general methods of self promotion that need to be addressed amongst so many tattooists.  As a result, I’ve decided that this week rather than profile a particular artist, I’m going to list some of the things that I feel can help a tattoo artist get themselves and their work noticed online.

The number one single most crucial piece of advice that I can offer is whether you’re just starting off or you’ve been tattooing steady for thirty years and counting, get a decent website up and running that showcases your work.  While registering your own domain name and getting a professional (or at least a computer savvy friend) to design and maintain the site is the best possible route to go, if money is an issue, just grab a free blog from WordPress or any one of the numerous other free blog sites out there.  The important thing here is to have a place to upload photos of your stuff and create the best online portfolio possible.  Stay away from using a MySpace or Facebook page as the primary source to showcase yourself and your abilities.  In short – they suck.  They’re cluttered and too busy and overall unimpressive.  As bad as it may sound, when I come across an artist whose only source of self-promotion is a MySpace or Facebook page, I just pass them by.  If you’re going to take the time to upload your work online, go the distance and get yourself a real site.  You’re an artist, you work in a creative field.  Create a page that makes a positive impression and attracts people, not one that repels them.

Once you’ve got a page and you’ve uploaded your work, get a bio down.  By bio I don’t mean three lines saying that you like to tattoo and draw.  While that may be the more tempting option, it doesn’t tell people anything about who you are, where you’re from and how you got to be where you currently are.  People like to know about the artist that is potentially going to tattoo them and a strong or interesting bio helps a lot.  Don’t be shy to tell people about what you’ve accomplished, what awards you’ve won, which magazines have featured your work.  Remember, people have come to your site because they’re interested in what you do.  Give them a reason aside from your work to be impressed by you.

Last but not least, keep your site updated.  If the last time that you updated your site or let anyone know what’s been going on with your career is 2003, then people aren’t going to bother coming back very often.  Not only that, but you’re also doing yourself a disservice by not uploading your most recent work on a regular basis.  Everyone improves with time and if the only work that you have on your site is seven years old, then people who visit your site really aren’t going to come away with a good idea of your ability.

So there you have it.  Just a few of the things that I think are pretty vital for any artist who wants to help themselves stand out from the rest.  Of course, the actual tattoo work itself is the most important thing, but that stuff is hard enough as it is.  Why make things even more difficult for yourself with a crappy/non-existent online platform to showcase your artistry?

Here’s a few examples of excellent tattoo artists and their sites:

Virginia Elwood – A basic WordPress blog that she’s rocked in her own way, proving that you don’t have to dish out tons of cash to have an impressive site.

Nick Baxter – One the best tattoo artists currently working runs a site that has tons of info about tons of stuff, plus its good looking and easy to navigate.

Mike Devries – Professional, well organized and best of all, home to a seriously rad tattoo artist.

Miss Arianna – Great art, great site, much respect goes out to Miss Ariana.  Magnifico!

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