WordPress and art is a match made in heaven. It’s no secret that companies and individuals of all trades have been jumping on the WordPress bandwagon lately, but the platform has always been a great fit for creatives. The wide variety of WordPress themes for artists has a lot to do with that.
Users have been uploading images to WordPress since version 2.0 released in late 2005. Later upgrades like the improved Media Library and 2018’s block editor have only improved the editing experience for artists. Today, if you’re publishing visual arts online, there’s a good chance you’re doing so with WordPress.
Why is WordPress the right choice for artists?
There are many reasons why a creative might choose WordPress over a similar service. Popular website hosts like SiteGround have embraced the platform and now offer automatic WordPress installation with all plans. Without the technical barrier of manual setup, artists can simply jump in, publish, and even sell their work.
That improved Media Library doesn’t hurt either. It’s a breeze to manage photos and other uploads with WordPress, and artists who just want to create can appreciate that.
And finally, the platform’s wide adoption has given skilled developers a great reason to build for WordPress. The result is an almost limitless selection of WordPress themes for artists.
What are the top WordPress themes for artists?
If you’ve spent any time searching the repository or premium theme stores, you know that portfolio-style themes for the visual arts are many. Among the most popular free and premium options you’ll find:
- Miyazaki - Free WordPress theme
- WebArt - Free WordPress theme with optional upgrades
- Art Gallery - Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
- Hitchcock - Free WordPress theme
- Navigator - Part of the GeneratePress premium site library
- Illustrator - Premium theme from ThemeForest
- Kai - Free WordPress theme with optional upgrades
- Pottery Studio - Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
- Haar - Premium theme from ThemeForest
- Calligrapher - Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
Any of these would be a fine choice for a creative professional, but like great works of art, they all appeal to different tastes. Likewise, each lends itself to a certain kind of creator.
Miyazaki – Free WordPress theme
If you were asked to close your eyes and picture an ultra-modern site design, you might envision something a lot like Miyazaki. It makes great use of a very heavy typeface and subtle page animations. Plus it offers deep block editor support, so artists who have managed to resist the Classic Editor plugin should feel right at home here.
WebArt – Free WordPress theme with optional upgrades
You can download the free WebArt theme from the WordPress repository. A live demo and optional upgrade information is available at the author’s website. This is a child theme of the author’s free Photograph theme, so you’ll need to download and install that as well in order to use it.
If Miyazaki is a tad bold for your tastes, have a look at WebArt. You’ll find a lot of rounded corners in this design, and the end result is a theme that feels far more playful. WebArt would be a great fit for portrait photographers, but a few of its features are locked behind a premium upgrade.
Art Gallery – Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
Art Gallery is available as a layout pack to users of the premium Divi theme.
WordPress is home to an impressive collection of drag-and-drop page builder tools, but among the most powerful is the Divi theme. While Divi is really only a single theme, it’s numerous layout packs allow users to quickly build well-designed pages with a few clicks. Leverage this feature and Divi quickly begins to feel like a thousand themes (or more) in one!
Art Gallery is one of many Divi layout packs for artists. Its pages are very clean, and the events layout is great for creators and collectors who open their doors to the public. Color is used sparingly across the pack’s layouts, so your images are sure to pop.
Hitchcock – Free WordPress theme
What’s not to love about a theme named after one of the most awarded film directors of all time? While featuring video work in Hitchcock seems like a no-brainer, it’s certainly not required. Like many of the best WordPress themes for artists, Hitchcock is great for showcasing creative works of any medium.
Both Hitchcock and the Miyazaki theme highlighted earlier were crafted by Anders Norén. This guy is a great designer and his free WordPress themes reflect that. Hitchcock alone has more than 300,000 downloads, and that’s no small feat for a theme in the repository.
Navigator – Part of the GeneratePress premium site library
GeneratePress (or GP) is an amazing WordPress theme for artists looking to craft a truly one-of-a-kind website. GP looks pretty simple “out of the box,” but begin to play with its customization features and you’ll quickly realize its true power.
Users with or without access to the theme’s paid service can toggle colors, fonts, and even layouts, while those who upgrade to GP Premium unlock additional customization options and the powerful site library. Items in the library provide your site with a quick but dramatic face lift, and Navigator is a great example of one such library offering.
Illustrator – Premium theme from ThemeForest
Visit ThemeForest for a live demo of Illustrator and for current pricing.
Illustrator is one of dozens (if not hundreds) of ThemeForests’s premium WordPress themes for artists. While its price tag is high, its features are many. In addition to fifteen homepage design options, the theme includes WPBakery’s page builder plugin and the popular Slider Revolution plugin. Slider Revolution is one of the highest-rated carousel plugins for WordPress.
Kai – Free WordPress theme with optional upgrades
On the opposite end of the price spectrum you’ll find Kai, a free WordPress photography theme. It’s very clean, it’s fast, and users can apply an accent color of their choosing. An optional paid upgrade is available to those in need of tech support and those wanting to embed videos.
Pottery Studio – Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
Pottery Studio is another layout pack for the premium Divi theme.
Although Pottery Studio is based off of the same “parent” theme as Art Gallery, you would never guess it by just glancing at the layouts side-by-side. While Art Gallery features serif headings and a lot of white, Pottery Studio sticks to sans-serif fonts and offers many dark grays.
This theme was obviously built for potters, but that shouldn’t stop photographers, painters, or graphic designers from showcasing their work with it. This layout pack is versatile, and its course layouts will serve as a welcome inclusion to artists that enjoy teaching others.
Haar – Premium theme from ThemeForest
Arists can preview Haar at ThemeForest and purchase it for a one-time fee.
Like the Illustrator theme featured above, Haar is a premium theme from ThemeForest, but that’s not all that the two have in common. Both Haar and Illustrator were designed by the team at Edge Themes. The group’s appreciation for the visual arts is impressive.
Haar is the most expensive of the premium art themes showcased, but it’s also the most well-rated. Creators praise Haar for its many portfolio layout options, its strong WooCommerce support, and for its huge selection of custom fonts. Haar includes many of the same plugins as Illustrator at no added cost.
Calligrapher – Layout pack for the premium Divi theme
Calligrapher is another layout pack for the premium Divi theme.
If calligraphy is your trade of choice, Divi includes the perfect layout pack for you! Calligrapher’s dozens of ink blotch and stroke elements will allow you to create a website as unique as your work. The bundled fonts and text effects inspired by real-world calligraphy are a nice touch but can be removed by those in search of a cleaner presentation.
What should I look for when browsing WordPress themes for artists?
Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? There’s no shortage of great art themes in the WordPress repository or marketplaces. Keep an eye out for these features when browsing for yourself or a creative client:
- Clean design that allows artwork to capture visitor focus
- Wide variety of portfolio layouts (although the “masonry” layout is most popular right now)
- Strong lightbox support so that visitors can enlarge portfolio images
- WooCommerce support if you’re looking to sell art from your website
Above all else, don’t settle for a theme that doesn’t complement your work. The variety of beautiful WordPress themes is staggering, so you’re sure to find one that suits your style if you look hard enough!