Found Myself is a completely free artist community whereby artists can set up an artist portfolio and sell art directly through it. What I find very interesting and original here is the Honor System, whereby artists are rated according to being active on Found Myself and giving donations.
Artists aren’t obligated to pay a commission on sold art, but are asked to give a voluntary donation whenever they want. Donators are given various perks throughout the site. Below I list some of the more useful features of Found Myself, and give a brief tutorial for setting up a portfolio of your own.
Features of FoundMyself.com
- The drag and drop interface is intuitive and easy to use. Easily add artworks, galleries, blogs, slideshows, and much more.
- Honor System
The Honor System gives all users free access to all the great features, with the hope that they will give back if they sell artwork through FoundMyself.com. Increase your honor rating by commenting, participating in the forum, by donating, and by being active.
Having a good honor rating carries great benefits throughout the site. Make any donation and other artist’s exposure ads will not be displayed in your gallery.
A 5% or higher honor rating gives SEO benefit to all links in the forum and gallery (Removal of the rel=”nofollow” tag). 10% or higher rating gets artists exposure on the Foundmyself front page, as well as on their newsletter (for donations). Those who achieve 20% or higher ranking can exchange it for exposure points or Reach websites with no ads. Reach websites is the professional artist website service offered by Found Myself. There is a free version, but this includes ads. With a 20% honor rating, these advertisements will be removed. The honor rating has a direct effect on the number of hits to your portfolio. The higher your rating, the more likely people will visit your Found Myself profile.
- Artists can easily include Paypal and Google Checkout buttons next to each artwork, which accepts all major credit cards!
- Access to a variety of free art promotional tools, including exposure points, slideshows, flash galleries, customizable banners, and PicFlip. Artwork can be posted to Facebook and Twitter directly from your Found Myself gallery.
- Artist Blogs
Each member receives a free artist blog to use as they choose. Art blogs are useful for sharing thoughts, new of art shows and other events, and updating your fans about your artistic progress.
- Art Competitions
Free art contests are held regularly and are only available to Found Myself members.
- RSS Feed
This means that people can subscribe to your Found Myself gallery. Whenever you add a new artwork, they will be updated through their feed reader.
- Found Myself Forums
To setup your forum profile, go to Forum Settings in the left menu. Click profile and enter details about yourself, including website, location, occupation, and artist bio. Also edit your forum signature after clicking Edit Signature. Include a link to your art website (which can be your Found Myself portfolio, or an exterior portfolio. Click Edit Avatar to upload a profile picture of yourself for the forum.
- The link to your gallery can be personalized. It displays in this format foundmyself.com/USERNAME
How to Setup a Found Myself Portfolio
- Go to FoundMyself.com and click Join at the top.
- Choose a username. Make it simple and easy to remember as this will be the one used in your gallery URL. Fill out the form and click Submit. Next, go to the email account you registered with and click the link there to activate your Found Myself account. Click the Login Here link on this page to login, then the Home link at the top.
- Here you will be presented with two options at the top – I am an Artist or I am an Art Lover. Choose I am an Artist if you are setting up a portfolio.
- Uploading Art
Click Upload Art at the bottom of the popup. (This link is normally found by hovering your cursor over the FM logo and choosing Gallery-Upload Art.) There are options for adding either images, video, or audio files. Click Add Files. Multiple images can be uploaded here by selecting more than one at a time. Click the blue button at the bottom Add Details and Categorize Your Art when completed uploading.
- Adding Details
Click Add Details below each image. A popup reveals options for title, description, keywords, dimension, medium, price and shipping.
- Creating Albums and Adding Images
Found Myself makes creating albums and adding images to them very easy. Simply create a title for your album, then drag and drop the images on the left into the album on the right. Rearrange albums in the same way as well.
- Customizing your portfolio
To customize your Found Myself portfolio, hover your cursor over the FM logo at the top. Click Gallery to reveal a submenu, then Customize Canvas in this menu. Also, reach this page by going here. Here you can add various widgets by dragging and dropping, including a newsletter, About Me, slideshows, and social networking profiles.
The About Me is a great widget for adding a little bio about yourself, plus a link to your art website and artblog. Use the social sites widget to add links to social networking profiles, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Easily create an artist newsletter by adding the newsletter widget. Also, drag and drop a slideshow with the slideshow widget. Make sure you click Save at the top when you are finished setting up your Found Myself page, so you will not lose changes.
All in all, I think Found Myself ranks up there with the best free portfolio sites I have seen. Everything an artist would need to showcase and promote their portfolio is included here, all for free. Of course, it is not as beneficial as having an artist website, but this is a very good place to begin, especially if you do not yet have an online portfolio.
What do you think of Found Myself? If you have a Found Myself portfolio, you are welcome to post it here so we can visit.
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