Another beautiful artist’s website

1 Jul

Anna Raymond is a textile artist whose website is made in Flash and doesn’t show up on mobile devices (word of warning – the internet keeps on changing), but on a computer screen, it’s delicious!

Easy to navigate, with fun moving parts and a textured appearance that you don’t see often on computer screens, but I personally relish, this is a toy of a site!

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raymond2

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You may have heard Flash being slandered a lot lately, or been warned not to use it because mobile device makers have not integrated the software into theirs. But let’s not condemn Flash. I am not a web designer, let’s be clear about that, but a Flash website can have an alternative format in what is called ‘the back end’ (webpages that are kept online amidst your website files, but not made visible). This means that a mobile device can pick up the specially-made alternative pages, where Flash won’t work. Thank you, Stuart from Sennep, for explaining that to me.

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Gendered Social Media?

29 Jun

As all you wonderful people who took the Artexposure survey (if you didn’t, here it is), already know that there’s a consideration if, in a ‘global’ world (we’ll leave the discussion of women excluded from education for some other forum), the internet allows for equality. Here is a nice graph by Information is Beautiful:

genderDo you think this is true? Why? Your thoughts in comments or on the Facebook page would be great. Thank you!

What the internet can do for you

28 Jun

It’s Monday morning. While you’re fretting about going to work,remember all the good things that the internet can help you achieve!

deanmorris

Just for fun! With thanks to Dean Morris.

How art groups should not use Facebook

26 Jun

I’ve recently had some ‘friend’ requests from newbie arts groups (I forgive them ’cause they’re artists and they haven’t yet discovered this blog) and (horror!) businesses that I have never given business too.

Door-to-door sales died in the 70s, I was led to believe. So why are some cheeky businesses now knocking on my my virtual territory to get me to use their product? Do they think I need them to know what I tell my sister about my breakfast choices? I don’t care if 5 of my friends are friends with you. They’re consenting adults and probably know you. I don’t.

petrol cards

Anything on Facebook that asks to be my friend must be one. And I expect that to be an individual human being!

If you don’t know who’s asking to connect with you on Facebook, click ignore, and then click the option I don’t know this person.

If you want me to like your products/organisation/cause, then create a Facebook page or set up a group. I recently did both, and it was easy-peasy. Once I started a Facebook group I had two dozen fans in a couple of days. Great! Until I realised that having to check the group’s wall for updates is too much hassle. So I created a page, which drives any updates to my personal news feed. Everybody is welcome to comment and engage in discussion, but I can’t access personal information of people who aren’t connected to me. Sorted!

For more on how to get started with Facebook for personal and/or group purposes, here’s a good article by Jeff Bullas.

And if you started on facebook in the ‘wrong’ way, it’s not too late to change. I did it. Even super amazing art organisation Artquest changed their Facebook profile recently, and moved up to a fan page. It’s all about keeping up with online facilities.

Artists & Art Professionals, take the survey!

25 Jun

Calling all creatives who want to know more about how artists use the internet!

artexposure logo

If you are an artist or arts professional, please TAKE THE SURVEY! In about 10 minutes you can really help gather data that can help all of us find out how artists are doing in an increasingly digitised world. In all circumstances the information will be treated  carefully and not shared. No private data is collected. More info here.

Sleek Black double-blogging website

24 Jun

Carl Gent is an artist who has kindly helped with this research. He has a website that is unusually minimal initially, but it gets more and more interesting as you explore it’s hidden gems. Open it and play!

Stylish help

23 Jun

I love this website. It’s very clever, changing format depending on what size screen it’s opened on (responsive design), but I like it mostly because it’s humourous,  beautiful in that a-little-bit-retro kind of way, and full of good ideas and lots of tips for artist websites! Take a look:

colly.com

Online diaries

22 Jun

In conversations I’ve had recently with various artists and web developers, it seems that the very flat colours/backgrounds on many websites are not what artists who place o lot of emphasis on texture in their art prefer. Debate rages as to whether you should have a minimal background to enhance the work, or a background that stylistically matches the haptic feel of the works. So far, I get the impression (just from talking to people – this is not statistical evidence!) that web developers seem to say ‘uniform flat background’ more than artists who work with 3D/textiles and textured paint. Ultimately, it’s down to taste, and that’s a matter of opinion!

Jennie Hale has a very tactile online diary:

jenny hale webshot

This example is viewed best on small screens (screen size = another consideration for artists websites). I choose this example too because it is unusual for an online diary (blogs are plentiful, as you know) to actually look like an old-fashioned hand-written one. This one uses some of the visuals we would expect from a physical object. Like photography, the online interface sometimes tries to blur the distinction between the real and the virtual.

Online evolution

20 Jun

A website is a work in progress. Some just evolve the way children grow up, and develop organically. Some, occasionally, shoot in a new direction and are re-thought from the bottom up. Visually, a great leap was made by The Little Artists John Cake and Darren Neave:

Pre-2008 version. Well crafted, vibrant and very unlike most other artists websites. But on first impressions it does look like a Cbeebies project…

Current version. Still makes good play with strong colour combinations, and the fun factor is going nowhere! But on first impressions this IS an artist website.

Quote #2

17 Jun

Tony Cattermole is a business advisor who specialises in SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and has looked in depth at their online presence. The Business Link website features this pertinent quote:

“The results prove that there is a digital divide among London’s SMEs – those that embrace the Internet as an important component of their business and those that think they can do without. That mindset could hamper their road to recovery. Websites are a cost-effective way of generating sales, reaching customers and launching new products and services.”

I went to see Mr Cattermole, and again and again he said; “websites and not events, they are processes.”

His 5 top tips are:

  1. This is a form of marketing not technology – communicate with your customers
  2. Put your customers first – make sure the website meets their needs and answer their questions
  3. It’s your words that matter – stylishness is less important
  4. How will customers find your website? Make sure that you optimise it for popular search engines such as Google
  5. Don’t delegate the content to your developer – you know your customers best

Crafting a website

16 Jun

Just made a call for wow artists websites on social networking sites, and some were linked here. Fast results!

This website by designer Wieki Somers features mostly ceramic and porcelain objects. While there seems to be no obvious connection between the butterflies and the shape of the sculptures, the flapping creatures work to add visual consistency to the site, and the movement adds interest and is definitely original. Zandra Rhodes used to call her dresses ‘butterflies’, here the butterflies are sculptures, each, I interpret, with different wing patterns. It looks great gives pause for thought. Nice!

Surf the net and drink tea

15 Jun

This blog is not about the art displayed on the websites featured here (but if you’re interested in that, click here). The issue at hand is how are artists using the internet? Or presenting themselves online?
Artist Jared Gilbey‘s website features some rather smooth animations that are fabulously professional, funny, and comfortable like a cup of tea. Whilst it’s not very tactile, the play on words is thought provoking. Check out his animation!

Jared Gilbey artist

There’s a lot of discussion surrounding the use of Flash animation for websites. Some mobile devices don’t support it, and Google can’t read the text embedded in Flash, but I am reliably informed by professionals that a good web developer will make the website search friendly and accessible from mobile devices.

Artist interview

13 Jun

I’m excited that tomorrow I have the privilege of  interviewing Alexandra Abraham, an artist who has an exemplary website: it’s clear and easy to use, has personal touches and is very up-to-date.

alexandra

Digital dictionary

13 Jun

TLAs (three letter acronyms) and jargon are so abundant in most professions that it’s hard to know what’s what. A few favourites for artists monitoring their online presence:

Blogosphere – The current state of all information available on blogs and/or the subculture of those who create and use blogs.

Conversion Rate – The percentage of clicks that result in a commissionable activity such as a sale or lead.

Geographical Segmentation – The ability to determine from which geographical area Web traffic is coming.

Link popularity – A gauge of a site’s popularity based on the number of inbound links. Link popularity is a major factor in search engine ranking and has greater strength (in theory) where inbound links are from other quality sites.

Portal – A website that typically includes a catalogue of websites and an internal search engine. A portal may also offer networking services to subscribers.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Altering a website so that it does well in the organic listings of search engines. The process usually involves choosing  relevant keywords that will drive traffic to the site.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator. The web address of a site or page.

Viral Marketing – The rapid adoption of a product to friends through word-of-mouth (or word-of-email) networks. Any advertising that propagates itself the way viruses do: by direct contact.

Source

Netiquette

11 Jun

In the last few weeks, I’ve received too many emails that make visible a whole load of email addresses of complete strangers, conversely giving them mine. Of course, friends of friends and most decent people are not going to spam me and sell me viagra, but it still concerns me that people have such little awareness of spreading personal information in bulk.

The annoying bit is when organisations do it. I have recently received bulk emails from an East London art gallery (who obviously leaves their admin to an inexperienced, unpaid intern), an international institution, a small arts organisation (still learning, bless ’em), and -most shockingly- a digital marketing company. Some of the recipients of the latter must have jumped for joy at the chance to spam me their offers… all of which went straight to my black list – starting with the digital marketing company that has no clue about it’s own business, evidently!

So for those starting an e-newsletter or still not quite with the idea that the internet is about sharing – but with caution and respect (would you give the home addresses and phone numbers of your friends to complete strangers?), check out some netiquette sites and learn how to ‘undisclose’ your recipients.

TIP #1:

  1. Write “Undisclosed Recipients” in the To: field, followed by your email address in “<,>” braces. (It should look like: “Undisclosed Recipients <me@example.com>”).
  2. Put all the email addresses of the people you want to mail in the Bcc: field (separated by commas). It will look something like: “my.first.friend@example.net; my_second_friend@example.net, stillanotherfriend@example.com”.
  3. Write your message.
  4. Send it.

TIP #2: If you send emails to undisclosed recipients frequently, you can add your own email address to your address book with “Undisclosed” as the first and “recipients” as the last name. Instead of filling in the To: field manually, you can then use the address book entry.

Social Media vs. SEO

10 Jun

OK, so you are figuring out how to get your website to the top of that search engine page… And you’re also promoting your work on social networks. But you are an independent artist and you don’t have the time to do both and you are thinking of simplifying and  just putting your energies in one thing. So which is best and why?

Well, my friend Rob says they have different purposes, but don’t get too caught up in hype. Find out what is what and do what you can without just jumping on the first bandwagon…

“It’s great to see Social Media visits go up. More and more people are finding more and more reasons to go online, and that will in the end benefit us all who run online businesses. But you would be ill-advised to blind yourself with these figures and do too much of your Marketing on Social Media sites. That’s not what they are for,” says Roberto. His professional experience of the online experience is hard to match. See more of his ideas here.

Social Media event

9 Jun

Roehampton University’s Creative Futures programme is offering a FREE workshop on social media on the 29 June 2010, from 9.00am to 4.30pm. To register a place sign up here.

The proposed schedule for the day is as follows:

09:00 – 9:40 Registration and Welcome Presentation
09:40 – 10:30 State of the Conversation Nation
10:30 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:00 How to measure Social Media
12:00 – 12:30 Questions and Answers
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:30 Online Reputation Management
14:30 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:00 LinkedIn Like a Professional
16:00 – 16:30 A Good Debate | Summing Up

Facebook promotion

8 Jun

‘The Web has evolved from an “information Web” to a worldwide map of people and a mindset of “brand is what matters most,” says Clara Shih.

Read this Nomensa article on how businesses get cheap marketing using Facebook.

Twitter tips

7 Jun

Stop twittering and start living? Or can Twitter multiply traffic to your website? Eric, a twitter convert, gives his opinions here.

Need to learn more about Twitter? This Wednesday Scanners Night in London will discuss how to go about getting the most out of it.

Children’s art day – cath’em young

5 Jun

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The focus of this event is not directly related with art and the internet, which is our interest on this blog, but children are the future of the internet.W hat can we learn from them? Freelance artists can offer workshops for Children’s Art Day, a UK-wide programme encouraging young people to engage with the visual arts. Events will take place across the country between 12-18 July 2010, click here to find out more and maybe lead a workshop.