Of all the fascinating cultural changes that technology is bringing us,
the new opportunities for artists are among the most mind-boggling, at
least for me. Musicians, of course, have been in the forefront of
technology for a long time. Recording equipment is the Gutenberg
equivalent for musicians, making it possible to save, copy
share music. But visual artists haven't had this level of technlogical
disruption available to them. As Joni Mitchell says, when asked
to do an encore, "No one ever said to Van Gogh, 'Hey, man!
Do another Starry Night! He did it, he finished it and that
was that'"(capture on her brilliant album, Miles
But Web 2.0 is an equal opportunity door opener. Three stories to
share with you that you may find interesting...
Bringing the Gallery to My Front Door
Do you know where and how I buy a fair amount of artwork? Well,
given that I'm not
a billionaire, my tastes are eclectic and I love the feeling of living
in an art gallery, I'm always on the hunt for new artists who do
interesting work. Not so easy to fit into a busy life.
Until I was introduced to Hang Gallery in San Francisco. Hang
represents new, undiscovered artists.
When they had a gallery in Palo Alto, it was a fun (and dangerous)
place for me to drop in. But once they closed that location and
consolidated everything in the city, the convenience was gone.
Until I discovered their website
Which is fabulous. I can
easily browse the collection, see what's new, read about artists,
contact them, rent or buy works. I've probably picked up a dozen
pieces from them (remember - these are new artists, so you can pick up
interesting stuff for very little money).
Art for Sale
So there's a very big movement these days on eBay, centered on
"a-painting-a-day." Katherine Tyrrell blogs about this here
She comments that smart artists who want to make a living from their
craft have become smart business people and smart web users. Want
to buy a piece of artwork but don't have a lot of dough? You can
bid on these paintings that usually start well under $100. The
quality varies with artist, and beauty, after all, is in the eye of the
beholder. Browsing is free, and you can be tempted to get
involved for not much money. BTW, Katherine gives some good
advice to anyone looking to use the web to build a business.
Little bonus for her readers...
Making and Marketing Music
Isn't it ironic that at a time that music is ubiquitous that the music
industry is in such deep doo doo? How could an industry run
itself so poorly that it has managed to completely miss the
revolution? Instead of jumping in, they resisted and are paying a
very high price. Editorial comments aside, my colleague, Dave
Viotti, brought to my attention this article from the New York
Times. Its title, Sex,
Drugs and Updating your Blog
, alone made
it worth looking at, but its author, Clive Thompson, went beyond the
title to tell a story well worth reading. Thompson writes of a
musician, Jonathan Coulton, who has used the web to build an audience,
sell out concerts, sell music - all without an agent. And there's
more...his fans have become part of his music:
"Coulton welcomes his fans’ avid attention; indeed, he relies on his
fans in an almost symbiotic way. When he couldn’t perform a guitar solo
for “Shop Vac,” a glittery pop tune he had written about suburban angst
— on his blog, he cursed his “useless sausage fingers” — Coulton asked
listeners to record their own attempts, then held an online vote and
pasted the winning riff into his tune."
Talk about the Participation Age...and about breaking open walls to let
the world in.