This article is by Brian Sherwin, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
In many ways-- especially if you follow mainstream art news-- the verdict is still out on whether or not the Internet is viable for selling art. Ambitious projects, such as VIP Art Fair, have helped to change opinions of art market traditionalists who years before scoffed at any suggestion of marketing and selling fine art online. However, even with the mainstream successes that the online art market has had in recent years there are still those who are skeptical. That is to be expected when a market-- any market-- ventures into a focus on online sales. Obviously the physical art market has been very slow to embrace the Internet compared to other markets-- there are still individuals who chuckle at the suggestion of selling art online. With that in mind, there is something that I think every art dealer and artist should consider-- that being the fact that the art collectors of tomorrow are wired today.
I've been hitting on this future outlook for several years now. To me, it is common sense-- and the reality of it should not be denied. The future is clear when you consider that some grade school children know more about surfing the Internet and finding what they want compared to some adults. Decades fly by fast-- some of these youngsters will be the art collectors of tomorrow. You could go as far as to say that children today are raised on the Internet. Thus, it goes without saying that the children of today will be accustomed to conducting business transactions online and having a second-self that is digital. In other words, as adults they will likely expect artists to have an artist website and solid online presence-- they will think on terms of high traffic, following, and hard-line numbers. These future art collectors will not chuckle at the idea of artists selling art on the Internet-- they will expect it. They will expect to buy fine art online.
In fact, I predict that the art collectors of tomorrow will be puzzled if an artist, or art gallery for that matter, barely comes up in searches-- it will leave them wondering what is wrong with the artist, gallery, or art itself. After all, they have been born into current societal trends that dictate that importance-- and dare I say, notability-- is often established by how popular the person or thing is online. I know that makes some individuals uncomfortable-- but the fact remains that most Internet users today associate big numbers with popularity. If something is backed by a large number it must be good, right? Perhaps not-- but that is the reality of our age... and it is foolish to think that the next generation will not view aspects of culture on the same terms.
I know that many people today state that viewing an image of a work of art on a computer screen or mobile device is not the same as viewing a work of art in person. In many ways, I agree. That said, future generations may have a different opinion. The art collectors of tomorrow will view art online very differently compared to the way art collectors of today do. Having been born into the Internet they will likely have a connection-- no pun intended-- with images viewed on a computer screen that is far deeper than the experience a viewer has today viewing art online. After all, the Internet will be that generations reality-- more so than we can imagine. Think about that-- and then think about how addicted we, as a society, have already become to digital realities. If you need further evidence in regard to this potential future think about how serious individuals follow-- and have an emotional response to-- TV programming compared to when television was first introduced. Opinions change with time.
That is why-- in my opinion-- it is very important for artists TODAY to have a personal website for their art. Don't put the race for site traffic off-- YOU need to be prepared for the art collectors of TOMORROW! The longer you put off having a personal artist website for your art, the harder it will be in the future to gain momentum. You want to be there when the art buyers of tomorrow arrive, so to speak. Placing all of your focus on artist social networks (Myartspace, DeviantART, ArtWanted... etc.), as so many artists tend to do, will only serve to build URL domination for those respected companies. In a sense, you are making those websites popular instead of placing focus on yourself. Place focus on YOURSELF today. Be prepared for the next wave of art collectors-- be prepared for tomorrow. Have a foundation for the future by having the best artist website you can today.
Take care, Stay true,