“I Can Focus On My Painting And The Website Does Everything Else”
Keight MacLean, a Toronto-based painter, has always used social media to display her beautiful artwork.At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of her sales moved online and it became harder to manage enquiries through emails or direct messages (DMs). That’s when Keight signed up for the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program to create a professional online store that made selling easier. Now the only thing she has to think about is painting.
Keight has made art all her life, graduating from an Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) and the school’s Florence Program where she spent a year in Florence, Italy studying the Old Masters first hand. After graduating she decided to become a fine artist full-time and pursue it as a career. “Inspired by my time studying the Old Masters, my paintings combine the old with the new, reproducing historical portraits by hand before applying contemporary and experimental methods such as fluorescent spray paint, re-harvested artists’ mediums and destructive techniques,” explains the artist.
Keight’s experience in Italy inspired a lot of her art: “With a love for European history, my focus on women was born after years of reading male-driven histories. My work now seeks to celebrate the many women in historical portraits, either without a name, known only in reference to their male relations or entirely unknown, giving a voice to the silenced.” Through the new website, customers can browse collections such as Silenced, Gold or Drips, and even choose the size of the art piece.
Keight’s work has been named “Best of Painting” at Toronto Online Art Fair 2020, and includes art pieces in collaboration with other artists like Moira Ness. She showcases her paintings on platforms such as Society6 and Artsy, and exhibits her work in art galleries such as Studio 22 as well.
Although Keight sold her pieces online before joining the program, she believes it provided her with the necessary tools to achieve a more professional look for her website.
“Opening an online store with the help of the ShopHERE initiative resulted in a more streamlined process to my online sales and made my work accessible to a larger audience,” commented Keight.
She also pointed out that her student Helper ensured a very seamless transition to the online store. “Matteo was extremely helpful in every part of the process. From building the website to walking me through how it works and answering all my questions, he was friendly and professional and made the whole process a lot less intimidating.”
Keight has discovered that setting up the website can be painless with the right support: “I was walked through everything and given the knowledge that I needed to succeed with the online store!” Since launching, the artist saw a massive change in how she conducts her business as the online store takes away the pressure.
“I have one place to send everyone for sales; no more negotiating how to take payment or explaining different shipping or pick-up options. The website practically does my job for me,” said Keight.
When prompted about whether other small businesses should join the ShopHERE Program, Keight replied: “There is no downside! Having a website built for you for free to your specifications PLUS an extended free trial of Shopify features? I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner!” “Get as much of your work or product into consumers’ faces as you can right now; everyone is online more than ever, take advantage of it,” encouraged Keight.
To view and purchase historical paintings with modern techniques, have a look at Keight’s website. Check out her art-filled Instagram page to view all of her paintings as well. Do you know an artist or a small business that could benefit from the ShopHERE Program? Read more here.