The World's Tallest Filing CabinetI could legitimately be called anal when it comes to organization.

I like processes and systems.

When I was a kid I resonated with the old adage, “A place for every thing and every thing in it’s place.”

I like the idea that every thing has a home to go to and you can find it there when you need it. I’m not so great necessarily at returning things to their place… but I still like knowing that it’s got one.

Organizer Pro Tip: If the thing you’re looking for isn’t in the first place you look for it – when you’re done with that item – put it back where you FIRST looked for it, because that’s where you think it should be.


Art Inventory Database

So, imagine my joy to discover that there was such a thing as art inventory databases! Whooo! There’s even art inventory APPS for your phone!

Here are some that I came across in my research:

I tried out a few of them and I’ll sharing the hi-lights here.

Artwork Archive

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 6.16.49 PMI LOVE this system. It’s what I recommend to my clients and it’s what I would use if I made more art, more regularly…

The guys involved with Artwork Archive are awesome pants. Really great guys.

John Feustal & Justin Anthony.

Their origin story is wonderful – John developed the software for his mom, who is a working oil painter and couldn’t find tools that helped her with her growing art business. So John made her Artwork Archive. (awwww.)

If you like Artwork Archive – get a lifetime 20% discount off your membership fee when you join! (This is totally an affiliate link – I love these guys!)


FULL DISCLOSURE – Justin contacted me because of this blog post and offered me a membership to try it out and recommend it if it was something that I genuinely liked.

I felt it would be wasted on me so they generously agreed to pass on the free lifetime master membership to Jeanne Bessette who was, the last time we chatted about it, pretty stoked about the service.

I’ve also submitted an article to their website… and now full disclosures over – I can talk about how much I like it.


Home screen with drop-down menu options.

Home screen with drop-down menu options.

Artwork Archive is cloud-based system.

That kinda freaked me out at first, but they have daily back ups and I like the ability to access the info through a browser no matter where you are.

The draw-back to that is that you need an internet connection to access the data.

Maybe Artwork Archive will develop an app of some sort that will work on devices without needing internet access – but then will sync when you get a wi-fi signal. Maybe…

Aside from my freak about the cloud part of it (which isn’t really that huge – everything’s moving to the cloud), the interface is clean and well-designed and intuitive.

They also just recently launched the new “print edition” option where you can create an inventory for a print run off of an existing image. So smart.

It’s got contact management options, reporting and print functions.

All the data is cross connected so that locations, originals, print runs and collector info propagates across all categories – so great!!

There is a free trial – so dive right in and check it out. $40 – $80 a year isn’t bad for this software.

Artwork Archive Gallery



If you like Artwork Archive – get a lifetime 20% discount off your membership fee when you join!

(This is totally an affiliate link – I love these guys!)


***2016 UPDATE***

Artwork Archive has added more insight features for reports and tracking sales and inventory – for those of you that are into in the numbers side of your biz and like to have several metrics with which to compare.

The public profile page has received a facelift and is now another handy arrow pointing towards your work on the searchable internet. A profile pic, a nice catalogue of your works, bio and links to your social medias, blog and website or storefront and the public profile page is a handy encapsulation of your artistic online presence.

The Discovery area of Artwork Archive is a new “featured artist” addition that provides collectors an easy and immediate way to scan the artists and works available and then click through to a profile page. Discovery is searchable by media type. This provides artists with Artwork Archive additional exposure and possible higher ranking for Google search.

Artwork Archive is creating tools and opportunities for artists beyond providing a ballsy inventory tracking system – they’re helping artists to gain exposure and sell their work so that they can get back to making art as soon as possible.

2016 Gallery Update



If you like Artwork Archive – get a lifetime 20% discount off your membership fee when you join!

(This is totally an affiliate link – I love these guys!)



eArtist has the printable forms thing down to a science.

eArtist was built using the Filemaker software, so it’s got the whole deal – searchable, cross-referencing forms (not editable though – they are static) and nice, formatted, usable printouts.

But it is SO UGLY.

I don’t know who they thought they were designing this for – but we’re artists. We want things that are designed well and aesthetically attractive.

This shit is hideous.

eArtist Gallery

I really like the tracking in eArtist – track originals and prints and products. Track what location a piece is in, exhibition history and contacts… It’s pretty ballsy.

But I SERIOUSLY, could not get past the design.

So I bought Bento and replicated everything I loved about eArtist, added more stuff I wanted to see and let go of the printability issue.

You may want to seriously look at eArtist though – especially if you have a lot of call for putting together a lot of information or price listing sheets.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.03.55 AMThis image shows you the kinds of printable scripts available with eArtist under the Exhibition heading. All the info is already there. You change a price on the original – it’s changed across all your data. (That works in Bento too). You can even print labels! WHY is it so damn ugly!?!




Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.27.50 PM-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

FULL DISCLOSURE – Martin the ArtHandler app developer, contacted me and offered me a free copy of ArtHandler to try out. I took him up on his offer and now I’m sharing my findings with you.


ArtHandler is a slick little no bells and whistles kind of art inventory app.

It’ll add an image, title, artist, year and size – and that’s it.

This isn’t a good choice if you’re looking for a robust, functions galore kind of art business app. This is for keeping a personal inventory of your art and basic information

Look – they have a note function!

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 7.28.05 PM

You could legitimately record basic notes on an image – if it’s sold and to who. If there’s a print run on it, how many in the edition and whether they’re signed or not and even price.

The notes function makes it more useful, but it’s pretty bare bones.
Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 8.57.14 PM

Which may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Whatever you decide – I’d highly recommend that you set your art biz up with SOME kind of system. It may not look like much now, but as you create more and more artwork and prints and products and licensing agreements – you’re going to need a system in place to keep track of all your images and the history and contacts and all the information related to each image.

It’s in your best interest to do it now. Before you need it.

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Discussion (8) ¬

    Are you looking for an art inventory database to organize all your art images and keep track of originals, editions, sales, exhibitions, products and contacts?

    Today I quickly review eArtist & Bento as two database options (with lots of pics!)

    Elizabeth Goh says:

    This is great. The cloud is tempting in that I switch around from a iMac to a PC laptop to an Android tablet depending on where I'm at (and, ok, how lazy I am to haul myself over to the desk). Am curious (since I am a bit of a newbie here this may be an old question) – inventory system for art making supplies etc. to keep track (and not rebuy the same thing–guilty) and maybe prep a little for possible materials costs deductions come tax time or in case of an audit?

    Bento is so flexible that you can track anything you want.

    It’s pretty ballsy.

    You’re right about the cloud flexibility… There’s just weird resistance I have to it.
    It’s stupid. I’m being neurotic.

    Oh sorry – art inventory as in keeping track of finished originals, prints, products made &/or licensed with which images.

    Keeping track of which collectors have purchased what pieces – you can keep track of what prints or products you were selling at what fair or convention. Track sales at events.

    That kind I thing.

    Kerry says:

    I purchased eArtist last year and so far I am really disappointed, especially for something that costs this much (over $100). Not only is the interface clunky, but there is a lot of functional deficit, and the fact that one of the founders/drivers is an artist himself makes the lack of functionality all the more inexplicable. I’m going to be better off kludging together a solution from FileMaker directly (at about $300+, it’s a lot more but not if you know what to do with it. Mourn the loss of Bento, everyone).

    Lezley says:

    Oh NO, really? That sucks!!

    Filemaker is amazing pants – but way outside my price range when Bento was still available. Your Bento templates will still work in Filemaker, which is good.
    Let me know how you make out because eventually I’ll probably have to spring for it.

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