Telling Your Artist Story

Guest blogger Brennen McElhaney discovered a new way to share the story of his art and his inspiration with his website audience. He shares how to “show your story” in a beautiful format.


Artwork courtesy Brennen McElhaney


Recently, in the process of redesigning my artist website, I ran across a wonderful online photo-journal that inspired me to add two pages to my site.

In The Make is a beautifully produced website that documents studio visits of West Coast artists. Each article features dozens of large photographs of the artist, the artist’s work and studio in order to tell the story of the artist’s creative process. Interspersed between the photos is the transcript of an interview with the artist.

Artists fascinate people. Folks who are interested in your artwork also want to know about you, your personality, your motivations, your studio space, and your process of creating. Your story makes your art more accessible and adds value to your work.

Most artist websites have an artist statement, biography, and perhaps Curriculum Vitae. Often these can be a bit dry and academic, so why not also tell the story of your artwork in a way that does it justice and engages the imagination of your audience?


Brennen McElhaney Studio Collage


Show your story in photos

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Delight your visitors with lots of big, juicy, photos of your studio, or better yet, you in your studio in the process of creating your art. Whether you are a painter, potter or glassblower, people love to see and learn about the process of your work. Go ahead and let them into your world.


Brennen McElhaney's Studio


Tell your story in words

Here’s your chance to share the things that motivate and inspire you, as well as anecdotes and your personal quirks. An interview format provides a good structure to tell about yourself in your natural voice, but the text could also be an extended artist’s statement or an article written about you. (As an added bonus, more written copy automatically makes your website more SEO friendly!)

I added the following pages to my website:  Studio Visit and En Plein Air.


Brennen McElhaney Painting on Location


Being an outdoor painter, I also want to show myself on location. In my experience, people like seeing artists working out in the field and often enjoy engaging in conversation. Painting en plein air is part of my process and seems a natural extension of my studio, and a natural topic to feature for my web audience.

My new website is built with WordPress using a customized theme. I hope this offers some inspiration for how, as artists, we might tell our story a bit better. What methods do you use to tell your story?

Special thanks to the creators of In The MakeKlea McKenna, Nikki Grattan, and Dana Laman for their generosity and inspiration.



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  1. Hey—
    thanks for the great idea. The personal touch might be just what’s needed for my website. Might also help me to get motivated to update it!

  2. What an amazing way to not only portray your paintings but also allow the viewer to know where they are coming from.

  3. ohhh…i really love it! i’m going to go rework on my “about” page now!!! thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Kathleen, Ronald, & Kathryn,

    Thanks so much for your comments! I hope you find the info helpful and inspirational.

  5. Lovely article, Brennan,
    And so much fun to have a peek into your studio and painting lifestyle. (I was really paying attention – even googled Drew Struzan – curious to know who is this that has two books on your shelf ?)
    Thanks, too, for the inspiration – you are so right, the getting to know the real artist is so much more interesting than the curriculum vitae.
    See you later at your opening at the Cliffs at Walnut Cove,

  6. Wonderfully written article. Love the ideas and inspiration.

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