Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Self-Destruction? Let's Talk Art.

Late post, sorry. Well, yesterday and today are my biggest blog traffic days ever. And that's mainly because of a bogus midgets vs. lion story! Apparently, I was one of a few bloggers rhapsodizing about it, so curious Georges and Jeannies seeking freakish horrors found me. Many welcomes to you all!

Still, I know I can't replicate the phenomenon, as much as I'd wish to please you and earn your loyal readership. After all, the midget story was forwarded to me in the first place. So, I'm going to spiral down the pit towards the morass of my own indulgence and perverse enthusiasms, which include freaks and fakery, but also art. Hear the crickets chirping? Ah, well. As I say, it's bad judgment that adorns the fool.

Browsing online ought to be great, but it isn't. They have arguably the best domain name for the subject matter ever and an enormous collection of mostly posters, but just try to isolate something good to look at. Here's their newest initiative, Art On the Verge:

Created by both established and emerging Member Artists from our Original Art & Photography program, these affordable, quality prints range in style from traditional, to contemporary, to eclectic and experimental. Explore, discover and indulge.

I'd love to, but when I click View the Collection, what I get is an undifferentiated mass of 1281 items. ITEMS? Oh, you can sort by most popular, most recently added, price, and my favorite, size. But are any of those things what you FIRST consider when shopping for art or even simple decoration?! Even size and price come second to appearance, don't they?

How about sorting by style, era, photos vs. prints and/or paintings? To help decorating, they could add the criteria of dominant colors and theme. How about sample groupings of visually harmonious pieces by different artists or schools to show how to combine a variety of work? has the thumbnails- thousands and thousands of them. All it would take is some engagement with the content, some categorization and coding. Instead, years after launch, they still don't offer anything about how the damn stuff LOOKS!

What about making the homepage (or a separate page) to highlight a different On The Verge artist everyday? Plop in thumbnails, a photo, a bit of personal history and artistic philosophy. Wouldn't the employees, investors, and artists benefit if became a destination site, a place people checked every day to load something new into the old sockets?

I feast upon the following sites almost daily, because they know how to serve up the visuals in fresh, seductive morsels.
1) Drawn: a Canadian uberblog of Illustration
2) Cornwall Cam: Charles Winpenny's daily photo journal of the gorgous coast and environs, logging the rhythms of flora and weather. Red letter days with sheep or wild ponies.
3) Your Daily Art: Martha provides great moments in art history with brief blurbage.

4) Last but different. This site's content is static, and contains a strange family of works, however, at least the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery gives you some categories and context with search and explanations to guide your way. There's also the Curator's Choice to highlight parts of this collection. And the goodies are glorious.

It used to be a big deal just to find merchandise online. But not anymore. Now it's about how you package it and service your customers. So what the heck is waiting for? You want to sell me some freakin' art? Stop sucking!

P.S. I also have visions for the future evolution and marketing of Blockbuster that I'll save for another day. Interested parties may e-mail me. The advice is free. My reward is a more beautiful, functional world.

No comments: