Written by Cathy Savels
It was on a hot summer’s day in south-west France when I and my partner, web developer Joe Biro, came up with the idea of creating a free platform for artists and crafters from different disciplines. We could combine our joint skills, me as an established Artist and Joe as a Website Developer. Little did we know that when we launched on 1st January 2010 it was going to become a global success in such a short period of time. In month 9 we reached over 103000 unique visitors and traffic is still increasing all the time.
The idea was born from the sheer frustration of approaching one gallery after another and being met with much snobbery, arrogance, aloofness and general unhelpfulness. We knew other artists and crafters were having exactly the same problems and wanted to do something. We wanted to give artists a place where they could be seen and would be able to openly express their creativity.
A selection of featured items from members of Total Art Soul
Gone are the days when the great masters were able to do an apprenticeship with another great master and learn their skills that way. Community spirit seems to be difficult to find and so learning from others with similar skills is proving more and more difficult. We wanted a site where creativity of any discipline could be nurtured and where more experienced people could help those just starting out.
Our vision of the site was to encourage artists to share and expose their works without having to worry about marketing themselves. Members can upload to their own personal gallery and this is fed through to a main Members’ Gallery so everyone gets exposure. Members have a personal blog space, a gallery to showcase their work, a chat room, a forum and a video upload function. The discussion boards serve to grow in the creative process while networking and connecting to international but English speaking like-minded artists.
Active members get featured on the main site blog and random members are featured on the front page. Everyone gets a little space of fame given the fact that they are active in some way on the site. We dreamed about a creative, artsy and useful platform and we feel we have achieved our dream.
Recently, we wrote the Eureka Internet Guides to fund the platform keeping it free for our members. These Internet guides, one for Twitter, one for Stumble Upon, and The Art of Pricing are illustrated step-by-step and clearly laid out tutorials on how people can price their products, can drive more traffic to their site but also save much time by using free automated tools, giving more time to be creative. All of the success of Total Art Soul comes from using the methods described in these Tutorials and we wanted to pass this on. Anyone can do what we did.
We are a worldwide community which also makes it very interesting. Not only is there much diversity in the creations being exhibited but having different cultures makes it fascinating too. At the moment we have 64% members from the US so to get more people from the UK would be wonderful.
I’ve seen many amazing creations here on Folksy and would love to be a seller here myself. Alas I live in France so for the moment that is not possible. It would be great to see some of those on our site. Any of you would be more than welcome to join our community. http://www.totalartsoul.com To join, just click signup and start taking part. :-)