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New Blog

 

Well, it’s been a while. I still love this blog and the ideas that I was pursuing. Perhaps one day I might return to writing about art and technology. I have recently started a new blog that is much more personal, a little bit DIY and a little bit about my graduate classes.

You can find it at http://bridgyoh.wordpress.com/. I really hope you take the time to check out the new blog as it grows.

Bridgy OH

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Not Gone, Just Busy

Hello everyone that is coming across my blog! This blog was created as part of a school project, but never fear I have plans for the future. I just can’t get to them as of yet. I have half-written posts, brilliant ideas, people I would like to contact and all that jazz.

As mentioned in my “about me” section I am the communications assistant at the Akron Art Museum. This amazing opportunity is taking a lot of my time and thought processes. I am also in charge of the blog http://www.AkronArtMuseum.wordpress.com so take a look at it.

Hopefully in the next month I will have a post!

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Art Tech-OH NO

Technology is an amazing resource, but it doesn’t always work they way we expect it to work. Perhaps the greatest downside to using technology with any frequency is the major problems that can happen when it fails.

It seems this has been my week for experiencing technology failures of all different sorts, especially when it comes to social media. I have had problems with Facebook and Twitter. My laptop seems to not want to open certain program. As I was writing this post my Internet even went out. Hopefully, this will be the end of my technology problems for a while.

Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating, but it’s important to attempt to keep a cool head when dealing with technology. The point of this blog is to promote the use of technology among artists, but to use it comfortably it’s good to be aware of common problems. I have three general suggestions that can save you a lot of time and stress.

Save and back up your work.

We have all heard this many, many, many, many times.

When working in programs, such as Word or Photoshop, saving your work frequently will save the hassle and headache if you experience a computer crash or power failure. I suggest that at the very least you save documents every twenty minutes. Luckily, Microsoft, and many other products, have really improved their auto-save features in the last few years.


Backing up
your computers
is the second part of securing your files. I have been a victim of a hard drive crash and I hadn’t backed up my files in a while. I lost hundreds of pictures and four years of college work. I suggest that every time you create important files you back up your computer. If you have to set up a calendar appointment to back up your computer on a schedule that makes sense to you.

Take a deep breath.

I suggest taking a deep breath because often times after a few minutes things will get better. Sometimes when technology is given a break it will start to work again. While there are some who will tell you to turn something off and turn it back on to make it work, it can really just be based on time. Especially when working with websites sometimes they experience glitches and given some time the problem will resolve itself.

Report the problem.

Telling someone will not only alleviate some of your frustration, but by telling the right people you might get a solution. There is always someone who will at least have some idea how to help your problem, or share a technology failure story, because misery loves company. If you are dealing with a website or product let the company with the problem know. You can’t expect people to fix things if they don’t know they have a problem.

If you are smart about your approach to technology you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble.

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Emailing for the Arts

Staying in contact is a constant struggle for artists, art museums and galleries. The need to inform and invite people is great, but the knowledge of how to do so is not always as strong. In the world of art having the tangible postcard invite is great because many still see postcards as a work of art or keepsake, but many people still yearn for an electronic version.  With emails you can reach an international audience.

With email marketing a person can send emails directly to interested parties and track if there is a return of investment from the individual email. According to one email marketing company, Stream Send, there is an average ROI of $43 for every $1 spent. Many companies provide templates that the user can insert their information into with relative ease. The emails can be somewhat simple or elaborate.

Advantages

  • You can find a company to handle the technical aspects fairly easily, for relatively cheap. With the costs of printing and postage, sending an email can be a much more cost effective method.
  • If you’re environmentally conscious you don’t have to worry about wasting paper to create your announcements.
  • Most people who use the Internet regularly check their email daily.
  • As opposed to sending the same email to everyone you can categorize your audience and send more specific and targeted emails.
  • Many email marketing companies offer great help and resources to help create great emails and if there are any problems.
  • Emails are immediate. People can read the email almost as soon as you send it, and they can respond just as quickly. Immediate action can be a great resource.

Disadvantages

  • Having an email interpreted as spam is perhaps considered the biggest disadvantage. It is important that you let the consumer opt in to receiving your emails; otherwise you could be spamming them.  Spamming can carry some hefty consequences. You could be kicked off your email marketing service or forced to pay a fine.  The FTC has created an easy to read resource about the CAN-SPAM Act.
  • People are going to be viewing your emails on different systems. The amount of time it takes for your images to load or if they don’t load can be detrimental. I have a bad habit of glancing through my emails on my Droid and if the email doesn’t load properly I often don’t receive the information. As mobile phones become more popular be prepared to create a mobile version of the email.
  • If you send too many emails you can run the risk of the recipient ignoring your email. There is no set guideline for how often you should email your audience, but make sure that people aren’t bombarded.

Leading Companies Dealing with Email Marketing
This list was compiled using Google search for “email marketing”. While many of these have paid to have sponsored ads at the top of the results, these were the leaders of the organic search.

  • Constant Contact: Considered by many as the leader in email marketing. They have extensive resources and support. Their blog offers many helpful tips on how to get your emails noticed and encourage response. Their lowest package (0-500 email addresses) costs $15/month.
  • Vertical Response: One thing that I think is great about Vertical Response is the option to also send postcards. They offer pay as you go plans. Their lowest monthly package (0-500 email addresses) costs $10/month.
  • Benchmark Email: They have one of the leading deliverance rates and great clientele, such as Hyatt, YMCA, Mercedes-Benz and Unicef. With Benchmark Email you can opt to pay per email sent or by how many addresses receive emails. Their lowest list package (0-1,000 email addresses) costs $18.95/month and their lowest email cost (600 emails) is $9.95/month.

Many companies are going to email marketing and the individual can as well. Email marketing is great for small business because of the ease in which the emails can be created. The most important part about deciding whether or not email marketing is good for you is to know your audience.

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No Post This Week

Hello everyone! I just wanted to let you know that there will be no new post this Thursday. This blog is being created as part of a graduate class at Kent State University and this week we have an exam. For the class we have to write two more entries, but I have at least three ideas I want to write.In other words, my plan is definitely to keep this blog alive and active after the requirements for the class. If you have suggestions for entries/topics I would love to hear them and please leave a comment.

 

Bridgette

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Goodbye Red-Yellow-Blue as Primary Colors: Adding and Subtracting for Artists

Long ago, back in elementary school, we were all taught red, yellow and blue were the primary colors. From there you could make secondary colors and pretty much every other color you could want. Except white and technically black (but as everyone knows you can make a color close enough if you mix enough colors).

Also in elementary school we learned about adding and subtracting, two things that many artists have nightmares about. When you put the two together you get something a little confusing and a lot important: additive and subtractive color methods.

WARNING: This is not a comprehensive examination of color theory, but an overview to help those who thought there was only one way of mixing colors. Color theory is based upon wavelengths and a spectrum. How we perceive colors depends on our retinas and our brain.

ANOTHER WARNING: The names of the different methods are somewhat confusing. I have them typically reversed in my mind.

Subtractive Color Method: Ending in Black

Subtractive Color

Subtractive Color Chart Image provided by Google Image Search.

I’m going to start with the subtractive color method because this is what most people, including artists (except those using computers) are most familiar with. Painters and printers are very familiar with this method, where in theory an artist starts with white and adds colors until the get the desired result, or black. So, subtractive color method starts with white light and colors are present to absorb and subtract wavelengths to give the object or paint a certain appearance.

When it comes to painting many artists still start with red, yellow and blue as the primary colors; however, printers start with what we call CMYK. Cyan, magenta, yellow and black are used when using layers typical to a printing process. Yes, black is represented by the letter K to help avoid confusion with blue.

Additive Color Method: Ending in White

Additive Color Chart

Additive Color Chart found using Google Image Search.

Additive color method is extremely important to anyone dealing with computer screens and other monitors. An artist starts with black and adds colors until white is revealed.

When using the additive color method we start with red, green and blue. If one of these is combined with another primary at the same light intensity you will get cyan, yellow and magenta. When all three are mixed the result is white. Varying the light will cause variations on different color combinations.

The difference is very important when creating works with today’s technology. An artist can save themselves a whole lot of trouble if they know what colors combine to make other colors and how the particular method they are using functions.

 

Fun Color Facts

 

  • Sir Isaac Newton not only discovered gravity, but also discovered how light takes on different properties based upon wavelengths.
  • Many artists choose not to use black paint from a tube, but instead mix their own “black” from French Ultramarine (dark blue) and Burnt Umber. This allows “black” to take on cool or warm tones and not “kill the light”.
  • There is a lot of psychology behind color selections. Reds and yellows are thought to stimulate appetite (think McDonald’s) and pink is thought to calm people and lower pulses.

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Interview with Cam Rackam

"Heads Off" for Avenged Sevenfold by Cam Rackam

"Heads Off" for Avenged Sevenfold by Cam Rackam. Taken from the artist's website.

I was first introduced to Cam Rackam’s work in the summer of 2004 at Vans Warped Tour. I had been a fan of Avenged Sevenfold and promptly went to their merch booth and bought the poster rendition of Rackam’s “Heads Off.” During of the course of the day my poster got ruined, but I was lucky enough to get another one courtesy of Avenged Sevenfold’s singer, M. Shadows. Rackam has done work for many artists, including: The Confession and Perish, as well as Vengeance University.

According to his website he “is a resident of Southern California. He received a BFA from Cal State Fullerton… In 2009, Cam became the gallery director at the Congregation Gallery in Hollywood, where he both curates as well as participates in the events. Cam is also the owner and founder of Blood Oil entertainment group and merchandise.” At the present he is working on a new showed shrouded in classical mythology and “it will certainly be his biggest, most exciting event to date.”

Below is my interview with Rackam focused on social media.

Thank you very much for agreeing to answer some questions.

You’re We lcome

I know this question is very broad, but what do you think the greatest thing technology has done for art? What’s the worst thing?

The Internet is revolution. No longer is every segment of art world controlled by the gallery elite. Now art has the possibility of becoming global. Popularity is truly designated by the masses.  The capacity of free advertising of the Internet has changed nearly every business. With the smart phone, even the ‘portfolio’ has changed.  Now aspiring artists carry their body of work in their pockets.

Negative effects include the ‘flattening out of images’. Art should not be studied online. 264 colors are not nearly enough to properly see a picture.  Many talented people are not technology inclined and their work can fall to the way side very quickly. 

Do you think social media is a beneficial way for artists to spread the word about their art? How do you think artists can use social media better?

Yes and No. If someone is an artist or wants to be, then as many people as possible need to see it. The most popular way is social media.  The pr oblem is that saying someone l oves something online, doesn’t mean th at’s true.  I think many people believe their own hype.

Cam Rackam Illuminati

Cam Rackam Illuminati. Image from artist's website.

Which social media site do you prefer (Facebook, M y sp a ce, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)? How long do you think people continue to use Myspace?

Someone is still using myspace?

What do you do to protect yourself, art and image, from people pretending to be you on the Internet?

I’ve had copyright thefts but suing people is so expensive it becomes not worth it. Sending Cease and Desist letters don’t work either.  On top of that badmouthing another company makes you look like a whiner. Really the best thing to do is rise above it.  As far as fans pretending to be me….doesn’t really make an impact that affects my work or business.

Can there be harm in using social media for promotion?

Yeah I think people use it too solely and rely on it too much.  When someone takes a picture of their cat, then promotes their art show or band, no one will take you seriously. If you’re using it for your business, cool use it for business.  If its for personal photos of your breakfast or poetry, then keep it to your friends.  Once a person mixes the two they are instantly seen as an amateur.

When promoting your art versus Congregation Gallery do you use different tactics? How so?

Yeah, my art is about me, but the Congregation Gallery has turned into a hub or artists and intellectuals that’s about everyone.  So you have to take a different hand to it, for example my fans don’t care about the gallery, but my peers do.  Its like the less effective version of myself.

When you shut down your social media sites about a year ago did you suffer any backlash? I would think most of your fans would be very supportive. What was it like coming back to social media?*

It was mixed.  I had artists assume that I was using it as a ploy to get attention re-directed back to me.  I had fans get so excited they crashed the webpage.  It was weird coming back.  I really didn’t want to but I promised and it was good for me personally.  Its hard with all of the social media out there to keep people interested, and about the important things.

Cam Rackam's Recipe for Art

Recipe provided by Rackam. Skulls image from Google Image search.

 

*In January 2010 Rackam shut all social media down for six months as an honor to Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, drummer of Avenged Sevenfold, who died on December 28, 2009.

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