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The Hidden World of Art: Discovery at your fingertips

by Brian Sherwin on 3/26/2012 6:51:48 AM

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, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 18,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

There is a 'world' of art out there -- art that you will not read about in the top art magazines... or view in influential art galleries. You won't find this 'world' of art in art museums -- nor will you hear about it on the streets near Chelsea... or any other major art hub. The 'world' of art I speak of was once hidden -- ignored by the very circles I've mentioned. Today is different -- ALL art has a chance to be seen and appreciated widely despite the motivations and directions of those circles. Today, art -- from all walks of life -- can be admired regardless of the desires of the traditional gatekeepers of old. This hidden world of art has been exposed due to the capabilities of the Internet. The future will serve to reveal this 'world' of art further.


If you think gaining exposure for your art is rough now -- imagine what it was like prior to the Internet as we know it today. It was ROUGH prior to the Internet. Point blank -- prior to the Internet your art only existed among friends and family unless you were lucky enough to be accepted by the physical art community. Today the situation is different -- artists the world over can introduce people to their artwork with little effort. All you need is Internet access, a digital camera and some initiative.


Today YOU, the artist, can bypass the 'old world' of art -- you can bypass the traditional model of art marketing that some individuals still cling to with a death grasp -- and form connections with the public (and yes, that includes art collectors) having never stepped foot in a major art gallery. The online art community -- global in nature -- is alive and well. This 'new world' of art can exist with or without brick and mortar art spaces. This 'new world' of art is more than a 'game-changer '... it is an entirely different game.


The Internet (which some individuals thought would be 'just a fad') has forced the traditional art world to either adapt or decline. If you asked any given art world professional a decade ago about the future influence of the Internet on the art world itself, he or she would have likely scoffed about the possibilities -- possibilities that are a reality today... possibilities that artists are utilizing in order to gain exposure and see artwork sold. The possibilities are truly limitless.


The Internet has also changed the way the public views art. People -- in general -- had to rely on the taste of a select few in the past. Today... people are 'discovering' the art that art market traditionalists avoided -- and guess what... they are LOVING it. We have the Internet to thank for that. Don't get me wrong -- it saddens me that the average person will only physically visit a few art galleries and museums within his or her lifetime (keep in mind that it was that way before the Internet). That said, it thrills me that the average person is clearly taking time to view -- and appreciate -- art online.


With the above in mind, there are a few art websites that happen to be among the most visited websites in the world. Point blank -- more people are 'turned on' to art today... viewing art is no longer just a 'playground' for the rich and educated... art has become more than just a stop for tourists. Viewing art -- now more than ever -- is becoming a daily part of our lives. Furthermore, people are viewing art they enjoy -- not just art they are told they 'should' enjoy by a handful of 'professionals'. If this shift -- this democratization of art (all of the choices that exist today for viewing art) -- upsets the gatekeepers of old... so be it.


This 'shift' should not be feared. Today the Internet has more certainty within the 'world' of art than ever before. It is a necessary addition -- one that can no longer be avoided. Part of that -- to the dismay of some leading art professionals -- is due to the fact that artists have shown over the years that aspects of the Internet can be used as a viable part of art marketing strategy. Future advancements will continue this direction within the art world -- and art market -- overall. However, in the end... people will decide what to view AND what should be praised (I think that is what some art world / art market traditionalists fear most -- and why they have been so wary of the Internet in general).


This is what I want to stress -- these are exciting times for art... this is a great time to be an artist. I often wonder what the next 20 years will bring -- as every section of the art world continues to embrace the Internet. As I have pointed out in the past, there is a generation of art collectors -- born into a 'wired' society -- just on the horizon. These future art buyers will be conditioned to make purchases online -- they won't give it a second thought. Thus, the traditional model of art marketing / art buying (which avoids the Internet) will be obsolete sooner than later.


In closing, the hidden world of art is not so hidden now... just log on -- and discover. It is time to embrace the 'world' of discovery that is at our fingertips. I don't think people realize just how much the direction of art history has changed due to the 'shift' I mentioned earlier. I don't think people realize that we have been living history in the making with each 'click' -- each work of art discovered online... art that (in most cases) you would have likely never viewed had the Internet not existed. Be excited.


Take care, Stay true,


Brian Sherwin


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Related Posts:

Art World Age of Discovery: Is it time to discover art off the beaten path in the United States?

Marketing Art On The Internet, Part 2

Do Art Appraisers need to get with the times?

Art Criticism and Generation Blank

Art Bloggers: Pioneers of art writing in the Information Age

Online Art Fairs and Online Art Exhibits: Are they a valid addition to the physical art market?

Don't be like Ebenezer Scrooge with your art

A World Without Art

Embracing the Lower End of the Art Market: There is nothing wrong with creating affordable art

Hoarding Art: The art collection in the attic

What does art recognition mean to you?

Topics: art appreciation | art collectors | art history | art marketing | Brian Sherwin | FineArtViews | inspiration | Think Tank 

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Teresa Tromp
I am excited, Brian!!!!!

I realize that even though the economy has been in the doldrums, it's important to keep my work for viewing on the internet. To get people to my website I try many different avenues, whether it's ebay, Facebook, Imagekind and I've even had a 4th line added to my address labels with my website, so people can find me at FASO.

Sometimes people like something that I was not particularly fond of. You just never know. It has all given me direction as far as colors and subject matter are concerned.

Just keep practicing until the economy picks up. If art is in your blood, you will just keep plugging away, no matter what. People viewing my work on the internet has given me incentive to keep painting, whether it's with a purchase or a positive comment or just by many views of a particular painting.

Christine Marx
Great article Brian. I am kind of in-between generations. Not so hip that I'm used to ordering everything online and not so old that I don't. I find the internet to be an amazing resource and have discovered many fine artists online. If I REALLY love a piece I tend to try to see any piece of theirs in person at a gallery in the area or when I travel. Painting are always more stunning in person.

On the other hand, if I have to have it I will just bite the bullet and order it, and hope their photography skills match their painting skills!

And I've also sold quite a few pieces online so I am very excited by what this has meant for shall we say "less established artists."

Phil Kendall
The bottom line is that all artists' put images onto their website's for anyone to find. And those images have to be set free for all the world to perhaps find.

An art-loving browser may look at an individual image for no more than 10 seconds before clicking onto the next image.

Sadly there is such a sea of sameness in most works of art.

Persuading the browser to stop, look, read and buy it is the challenge!

The personal artists' website is a labour of love, just as the creation of that image posted on that website is.

Yes I'm excited by it all. It's what I do on a daily basis.

Brian Sherwin
Teresa -- Thanks for reading, and sharing your thoughts. You said, "Sometimes people like something that I was not particularly fond of." -- THAT can be a powerful experience. In a sense, you, the artist, can learn from those who view your work. It is like a shared lesson... an exchange. That, in itself, is exciting -- and is part of the heart and soul of sharing art online.

Christine -- You said, "Painting are always more stunning in person.". I agree 100 percent on that. Which is why I do hope that brick and mortar galleries find a way to adapt within the changing world and market.

You also said, "On the other hand, if I have to have it I will just bite the bullet and order it, and hope their photography skills match their painting skills!". That is one downside... I have seen works in person that were not as powerful as the image I observed online. It happens. Most often it is due to image enhancing with Photoshop -- or something along that line. Note to artists... don't over 'doctor' images of your art.

Phil -- you said, "Sadly there is such a sea of sameness in most works of art."... the same can be said of brick and mortar art galleries if you think about it. If you visit a gallery in New York you are bound to see similar work at a nearby gallery. There is always those pieces that truly stand-out though... and the same goes for online art viewing.

You said, "An art-loving browser may look at an individual image for no more than 10 seconds before clicking onto the next image.". Again, the same can be said of physical spaces. One plus-side of viewing online is that you can favorite a page to go back to later... in a physical space you may take promotional material about the artist -- but how often does that stuff end up lost or simply thrown away. Something to think about. I think the best of both worlds is needed.

Phil Kendall
Thank you for the reply Brian... and two paragraphs!

Yes the on-line bookmark this page is brilliant.

Perhaps as an artist I need to add this comment to my website?


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