“Older” artwork presents a dilemma when designing an artist’s website. On one hand, it’s nice for visitors to see your progression as an artist, you’re proud of the work, and the art is still for sale. On the other hand, you want your current work to be most prominent, and you want visitors to know what you’re working on now.
If someone were opening your website as they would open a portfolio, you could guide them through a tour of your career—showing them the works in the order you prefer. In a portfolio, this is usually front to back. But the Internet doesn’t work that way. Thanks to search engines, visitors might land on any number of pages on your site before they see your home page. You have to be ready.
Every page has to be a landing page.
So how do you show “older” art on your website? Here’s one way.
Your main menu would have a link titled Art or Portfolio. Clicking on that link would take site visitors to a page with your most recent work or with categories of that work.
Your primary art pages (meaning the pages that display the art you want people to see first) would be the fewest clicks away from the Home page. In the following example, Bronze Sculpture is a primary art page. It’s one of your categories.
Home -> Portfolio -> Bronze Sculpture (or Recent Bronze Sculpture)
You feature 10 recent works on that Bronze Sculpture landing page. You could then have secondary pages to show your older artwork—linking from the Bronze Sculpture primary page. They’re not links in your main menu, but are only found from your primary art pages.
In the examples below, both wildlife and figurative works are secondary pages (remember that secondary pages are more clicks from the Home page).
Home -> Portfolio -> Bronze Sculpture -> Wildlife 1995-2005
Home -> Portfolio -> Bronze Sculpture -> Portraits & Figures 1995-2000
Home -> Portfolio -> Bronze Sculpture -> Wildlife prior to 2006
Home -> Portfolio -> Bronze Sculpture -> Portraits & Figures before 2001
The above examples for secondary pages are better choices than “Older Work” or “Archived Work.” Site visitors will appreciate the descriptive categories and these categories highlight your subject matter (or medium or style) rather than when the work was created.
Another reason to use descriptive categories for your Web pages is that, as I said, you can’t control where visitors land on your site. Every page has to be welcoming. Every page has to have your name on it and show visitors exactly where they are. Every page has to provide context.
FINAL WORD: Older art has a place on your website, but not necessarily front and center. Descriptive language and clear navigation on your pages will allow site visitors to easily locate, appreciate, and purchase (!) your current and past artwork.