September 3, 2014


945_How to Simply Keep Your Art Organized Part One

Do you find it difficult to keep track of all your art that you have made over the years? Do you forget when you made what? Or which gallery has what? Or even worse, where your Art actually is?

This used to happen to me.

Until I started giving every piece of art I made an image number. What started out as just a little simple idea turned into one of the major contributing factors that has allowed me to thrive as a fine artist.

I am going to cover this important topic in detail in my next two blog posts.

Here is Part One:

The Concept:

I assign a four digit unique ID # to every piece of art I make. The numbering is sequential. I began with #0001 when I graduated from Art Center College of Design. I am now at #3,743.

This number is always written on the back of my actual artwork along with my name, title, size, date, materials and website. As an aside, just let me stress that the most important piece of information of all 7 is your website. In addition, this same 7 lines of information should also be entered in a database, an excel file or any other word processing file you are familiar with. I use File Maker.

Having a digital sequential record of all your artwork saves you countless hours of time. It is here that you would record dates of when a painting was sent to a gallery, where or to whom it was sold, etc. What is important is that your art becomes traceable and filed by it’s unique image number.

Using ID#s are very, very helpful. Here are the first of three primary benefits to using a sequential ID numbering system for your artwork:

#1 Never lose your artwork on your computer.

It is helpful to think of this number as a second title to your work. Like your social security number, it will always be listed with your artwork. This ID# is shorter than the actual title, totally unique and also informs you chronologically when it was made. This four digit number should be included in the naming of it’s digital photos, jpegs, high rez scans etc. on your computer, all stored in the same folder using this same ID #.

Your computer’s search feature (command F) loves unique 4 digit numbers and will instantly tell you how many iterations of that particular art exist and exactly where they are on your computer. When you nest dozens of folders all named with unique ID#s in a folder on your hard drive, your computer will order them sequentially automatically. This is a tremendous help in keeping folders of many images organized. Being able to easily and instantly find your artwork can save you countless hours of time.

I even list this number alongside all of my website images. so that if someone is interested in 5 paintings, I can ask them for these little ID #s and immediately pull them up on my computer or send them jpegs or high rez scans.

The ID#s are short and so when image files of a particular painting are attached to an email they can easily be seen and verified that they are in fact attached.

Later this week I will be posting the second part of How to Simply Organize your Artwork which covers how using image ID #s makes it easier to stay buoyant in your practice and freeing up more time to spend making your Art.

I am very curious as to how you handle the organization of your artwork. Please leave your comments below so that all of us can possibly learn more.



Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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