A few months back I had an artist tell me he was looking for a new site to setup a personal gallery. He said the site he had been using had been okay up until then but appeared to be going down hill or was not being actively moderated like it once was. He sounded disappointed when he said this so I asked him what had happened which had turned him off so much. He said the site was turning into a photo sharing site and was losing it’s art community feel. People were posting anything and everything from selfies (those are photos people take of themselves with their iPhones or other smartphone) to vacation snap shots.
This artist’s concerns made a lot of sense to me. I am not sure if there is a backlash to this type of practice or not but I have noticed what seems to be a new surge of small startup sites getting into the website gallery business. They tend to be much more discriminating in what they put on display and sell. I told the artist about this but said it could be nothing new. It's just that we now are getting contacted at least couple times a week by smaller gallery sites looking for a printing partner whereas before it was once in a while. At the same time we are getting more individuals contacting us with either similar stories or just that they are not satisfied with the several well known gallery artists have been using.
So in the coming weeks we will be working on some new features which should not only make it more intuitive when managing your account and stored images but hopefully increase the selling potential of your prints. In addition we are making behind the changes in our management of the Select Gallery. Last year we launched the Select Gallery, which is as a central marketplace for buyers to browse the imagery by participating artists. Since then we have allowed the Select Gallery to become populated and reach a level where there is now a wide range of images to choose from. Now it is time to take the Select Gallery to a new level by connecting more buyers with artists.
One of the means we plan accomplishing this is to present it in a more refined fashion it currently is. We want to make sure it is full of interesting and quality imagery with a sense of artistic merit. Currently buyers who come to the Select Gallery may be collectors of some sort, interior designer or merely an individual wanting some artwork for their home. We want to keep that demographic but as the gallery has become more populated we have found it necessary to take a close look at how it is being seen by potential buyers. In order for them not to dismiss it as just a cross between an art gallery and photo sharing site like the artist described earlier we will begin moderating the Select Gallery. This will be done by making one our staff artists who is also a member of our production team the new Select Gallery Moderator. With a degree in art and experience in print production I feel confident she will help make the Select Gallery successful for artists who participate. To ensure your neighbor’s content does not detract or even discourage participation by other serious artists and photographers, the Select Gallery Moderator will guage and rate images submitted to one of the categories. She will base it on presentation, image quality and artistic merit.
When I refer to presentation, it is generally a title and description but it can also be your sales pitch. While you don’t have to spend a lot of time on this we are mainly trying to avoid images just being posted and not given a sufficient title and description. For instance if someone just lists it as "Untitled" and does not include much of a description that won’t look as impressive compared to someone’s work which has a well thought out title and interesting description. Including a good title and description makes the image more memorable and more likely a buyer will purchase it as a print. It also helps add some consistency to the Select Gallery not to mention better exposure through search engines like Google.
Image Quality covers a lot of areas but foremost is how well will it look printed. You want to make sure your image is not only of a suitable resolution but details are sharp and clear. For instance if your image is too low a resolution which causes it to be pixelated when printed as small as an 8×8 then likely it won't be accepted. Paintings which have been photographed can’t be out of focus or have uneven lighting so when turned into a print the print does not look like a bad photograph of your artwork.
When we talk about artistic merit we are speaking about it's artistic appeal. If the image is a snapshot of your daughter blowing out candles or your pet dog wearing a birthday party hat, it might be appreciated by you, friends and family but it won't have much appeal to an art buyer. A person once asked me how do you gauge that when art can be so subjective? It's actually quite simple. Before submitting an image ask yourself would a complete stranger be interested in buying it and hanging it up on a wall to decorate their home or office. If the answer is yes, we want you to submit it.
Overall we are pleased to say that the majority of artists who have sold prints via the Select Gallery seem to be posting quality images which in turn makes their buyers happy when they see the quality of their prints. While we don't actively monitor sales between the artist adn their buyer through the Select Gallery, some of the artists who we talk to on a regular basis have not indicated they have had any unhappy buyers. To continue with this pattern the Select Gallery Moderator will play an important role. Stay tuned as over the next few weeks we provide tips and other resources to make your gallery presence at FinerWorks a success.