Art Objects Observed: I’m Trying, But You Are Making It Difficult, Addendum

The addendum to my January 26th post about the importance of the user friendly-ness of artist’s websites (see the re-post below),  is about a recent gallery experience. Friday, I had a drop in and say hi gallery appointment in Boston, nothing formal. The gallery owner asked me to sit across from her at a table, she turned her computer sideways and said lets talk about your work.  My website worked smoothly, nothing was spinning, beside each piece of artwork, clearly displayed, was the title, dimensions, medium and date, etc.   It was a great meeting, I’ll tell you about it when the ink dries……. just sayin’.. clean up your website.

REPOST OF :                                                                                                                         Art Objects Observed:  I’m Trying, But You Are Making It Difficult                 Recently, I blogged about artwork that I have seen in galleries under the heading “Art Objects Observed”.  Today I am writing about artwork that I have struggled to observe online.

For the past few hours I have been working on my talk, Wax Collage: Beyond Technique for the 6th International Encaustic Conference.  After reviewing jpegs of work submitted to me, I decided to search the internet for additional examples of wax collage to find a balance and conversation among the images for my presentation. However, I feel compelled to stop my work and shout, artists, PLEASE make your websites user friendly. I am confounded by the difficulty I  encountered navigating and the lack of important information on too many websites. I was confronted by a smorgasbord of flashy, moving, spinning things with little or no information about the work. Did I mention long periods of loading?… don’t get me started.  This tour of artists websites was like arriving at a gallery, and the door was locked.

For those of you whose websites must have been designed by Rube Goldberg, I offer to you, with a grin,  the Joseph Herscher video below as an example of the experience that you have created for a visitor to your website:

Now that I am done ranting, but still a little cranky, here’s a few basic necessities that I believe are important for a user friendly artist’s website:

A website is an ever changing entity, which should be frequently updated, refined and tweaked.

Your website should showcase your work, not the website designer’s work.

Your name should be clearly displayed. If you insist on having a signature at the top, please put your name in a legible font underneath.

Along with your name,  your biography, statement, resume and contact information should be obvious to the visitor; displayed along the top or side, in a font and size discernable to the human eye.  Do not make the visitor hunt for this information.  Adding a footer, also containing this information, works well for the belt and suspenders effect, but not necessary.

The background color or pattern should not compete for attention with your artwork.

The following categories should be well written and not in a PDF. No one wants to download your info.  Biography: please do not say that you have been making art since you were 3 years old. Write about your adult art life as it pertains to the work on your site.  Resume: start weeding as it grows.  Statement: here is your chance to tell the world about your work. Your artist statement is not a participant in the thesaurus olympics. Just write about  about your work. What would you tell a friend about your work? Some starting points may include your motivation, technique, process and historical or social influences.

Your contact information should be accurate, an email address and maybe your phone number. Do not give your street address.

When a visitor clicks on an image it should appear instantly and without fanfare. It should enlarge to a size that showcases the work.

Beside each piece of artwork, clearly displayed, should be the title, dimensions, medium and date.

Millions of people have access to your work, make their visit wonderful, effortless and share-able.  Do not forget to add social networking share buttons.

A website is your personal gallery. How does your website compare to your favorite brick and mortar gallery? I am sure that the gallery is uncluttered — simple, elegant website design, the artwork is immediately visible –easily accessible click throughs,  the art object description is complete and adjacent to the work, and if you ask for more information, the gallerist speaks about the artwork without ambiguity –a well written statement.

The next time you land on a website that you like, take moment to consider it’s content and flow.

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5 thoughts on “Art Objects Observed: I’m Trying, But You Are Making It Difficult, Addendum

    • You’re welcome. I had to pass on the info because it struck me as we were looking at my website, this was all that represented me, nothing real like a painting or even a postcard, just pixels.

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  1. Hi Marybeth, thanks for the input. I used to have years on my work, but then a friend who worked at a gallery told me that I should not do that. So I took them off. But I recently updated my website and decided that I wanted to categorize my work by year, so I guess, I decided to go against my friend’s advice! Is there any situation where one would not put the year on their work in your opinion?

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