Tag Archives: technology

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



Filed under Art, Art Technology, Artists, Uncategorized

Leonardo Meets Mario: Are Video Games Art?

Katamari Damacy

Screen capture from Google Image Search of one of my favorite video games, Katamari Damacy.

I am not a video gamer. I don’t think I have the particular patience and hand/eye coordination to be good at typical video games. Games that use Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move and XBOX Kinnect are the only ones I can even be remotely good at. Aside from the motion activated games the only other video games I have played with any regularity are Pokemon (in 5th grade), Rockband/Guitar Hero,  Katamari Damacy and Peggle.

All this doesn’t mean that I have not tried or watched my fair share of video games.  I have spent countless hours watching Legend of Zelda, Starcraft II and the Call of Duty series being played. I’ve even attempted to play them.  We’ll just consider those attempts at failure.  I really didn’t know video games could be beat until a few years ago because I never had the passion to play them through the end.

However, I definitely agree with the millions of people who consider video games art. I disagree with Robert Ebert when he said “video games can never be art.” I could easily pull apart Ebert’s blog post about why video games are not art. It would be fairly easy, in part because I feel he has a very singular and narrow minded view of art. I find it hard for him to criticize video games as art when he is a major player in the world of cinema.

I would agree that the physical act of playing a video game is not art, but more a skill. Still, people could argue that there is art in the act of playing a video game. Think Jackson Pollock, his art wasn’t about what ended up on the canvas, but how it ended up on the canvas.

Look at the credits and you will see that every video game has a lead art designer.  If  for no other reason, I would be willing to consider video games art based upon the planning stages and illustrations for characters. These are just as much art as any other type of illustration. People can even attend colleges, especially art colleges, to major and study about video games.  In these programs students learn how to create the images we see from their own imagination. They have to draw, digitally render and animate the characters and background.  They have to program dialogue and actions. In the end they have to market and produce the final product.

There is the story, the graphics and the overall experience of the gamer.  Anyone can make another Mario, Zelda or God of War game, however, to make these games different and more appealing to the consumers they have to be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and imagination. No gamer wants to sit and play a game for hours on end that has the same backgrounds, enemies and effects from level to level. They want to experience something new and different as they progress through the worlds. The more art-oriented and detailed the more the game sparks the imagination of the gamer and pulls them in.

If video games weren’t art, why do people put so much work into what they look like?

If you are still not convinced video games are art check out these video games:

Thanks to all my video game friends who have helped with the examples and led me in certain directions and opinions.


Filed under Art, Art Technology

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.


Filed under Art, art techneau, Artists, color, Uncategorized

Cell Phones are Now Permitted Within the Museum

Gone are the days where cell phones are strictly forbidden at museums. At least at the Cleveland Museum of Art , one of the world’s most distinguished art institutions. I visited the Cleveland Museum of Art a few weeks ago and was amazed by the hidden nuggets that cell phones are revealing. Where some museums have signs reminding you of the prohibition of cell phones, the CMA has signs encouraging you to use your smart phone. They’re just not using the smart phone in one particular way. They are using both QR codes for advertising and mobile phone tours.

QR Code example

QR Code example provided via Google Image Search

QR is short for Quick Response, and the codes are two-dimensional black and white squares arranged in a specific matrix, much like that of a barcode. QR codes were originally used for vehicle manufacturing, but as you can tell these nifty little squares of technology are becoming quite popular outside the world of manufacturing. Artist Fabrice de Nola is working with QR codes within her oil paintings and QR Arts is turning practical and actual QR codes into designs for companies.

According to Museum Media the CMA is the first museum in Northeast Ohio to attempt to use QR codes. The Vancouver Opera and the Palm Beach Opera are also using QR codes in their advertisements. The codes were placed within advertisements in June 2010 for the reopening of the museum after its massive remodel and ongoing expansion. The codes directed people to the museums new website and allowed people to plan their trips to the free museum.

Tim Brokaw, managing partner of Brokaw Inc., the firm responsible for helping the CMA create the campaign said, “The art museum chose to experiment with QR codes for the first time to become more attractive to those people who often are early adopters of technology and are willing to try new things.”

QR codes are not the only new technology the Cleveland Museum of Art is using. They have started to use mobile phones for tours with the help of Earprint Productions. Founded by Jason Reinier, Earprint Productions, specializes in creating “exhibit design, mobile tours and apps, and scriptwriting for the museum community.”

Earprint Productions created an online and mobile tour called Art Conversations. Narrated by Dee Perry, “Art Conversations features voices of museum professionals, local artists, community members, and experts.” The audio is clear and allows the listening to hear these great insights without renting an antiquated listening device. We are now able to listen to mobile tours without wondering who used the device last. Unfortunately my phone did have some trouble receiving information, but other people within my group did not have the same problems. I blame my phone and not the technology.

Along with tapping into the smartphone niche the Cleveland Museum of Art has started their own blog. Within the blog contains posts about exhibits, artists and the construction project at the museum. I am glad that the Cleveland Museum of Art is advancing past what other museums are doing and into the world of technology.


Filed under Art, art techneau, QR code, Social Media, Uncategorized, Virtual Museums

Google Art: Viewing van Gogh Without Ever Leaving Your Home

Close up of Botticelli's "La Primavera"

Google Art Project Screen shot

No art was harmed in the making of Google’s newly released Google Art Project, only maybe the desire to visit the greatest artworks in the world. “With this unique project, anyone anywhere in the world will be able to learn about the history and artists behind a huge number of works, at the click of a mouse,” Google stated in their Feb. 1 press release.

Google is even boasting 17 “gigapixel” images of some of the world’s most recognizable and famous pieces of artwork. With roughly 7 billion megapixels per image these “gigapixel” images allow the viewer to zoom in and view details such as brushwork, only previously seen in person (and even then, since some museum won’t let people get that close). There are a total of 1061 “super high resolution” artwork images in 17 museums.

People can use Google Art Project to collect images of their favorite pieces of artwork merely by signing into their Google account. These collections can be shared with others. This is not necessarily something new. It’s a wonder technology hasn’t completely made physical experiences void, but there is still time.

Enough about the facts behind this new technology, I don’t have a split decision on the technology. I think the fact that Google has the technology to create a virtual museum world is amazing. I am truly undecided about the implications of this new project. On one side I worry about museums. I worry if revenue, patrons and visitors of museums will decline. On the other side I am excited for people to see artwork they would otherwise never be able to see. For me it allows me to relive my trip to Florence when I saw my favorite piece of artwork, Botticelli’s La Primavera.

In a discussion of the site on Facebook Zack Morrison stated, “I think this will be for art what downloading is for music, I think this will give a wider audience a risk free way to familiarize themselves with artwork and places they would otherwise never see…there is no substitute for seeing it in person be it a concert or Versailles.” I think this could be a very telling analogy. Downloading music has completely wrecked the economy of the music industry. According to the Institute for Policy Innovation believes the cost to be about $12.5 billion dollars in losses to the U.S. Economy and tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of lost wages. That being said, the sharing of music at a lower (non-existent) price does allow for a greater sharing.

In response J.B. Henry said, “I’m just afraid of the bombardment of information and pixel-visuals/digital sounds may become as good as the real experience for some.” To many seeing artwork on a computer screen might be enough. Why would they bother seeing a work they saw in super high resolution?

I am truly excited for the possibilities that this presents for education. In art history classes a professor can show better images of iconic artwork. Instead of slides that have suffered water and color damage students can view images that are true to the artwork. They can get a sense of the size of an artwork by seeing the piece in its space.

Technology is doing new, wonderful and possibly dangerous things to the world of art. Time will only tell about the longevity of Google Art Project. In a few months this new art technology discussion might not even be relevant. Once the newness of the site has warn off it might go the way of Myspace and be forgotten in a few years. Or it might be completely revolutionary to the world of art.



Filed under Art, art techneau, Google, Google Art Project, Social Media, Uncategorized, Virtual Museums

Beyond Four Walls

The Internet has allowed the world of art to expand past the walls of museums, galleries and homes. The individual can be their own curator. They can be exposed to much more than ever before. Gone are the days of the Academy telling people what to like, but a person can decide what art is to them.

Grand Tours of the European Continent are a thing of the past, but a quick perusal of Web 2.0 and Google provide a plethora of images and inspiration. Websites are catering to this need in many ways.

Social media allows people to discover, read and share art on the Internet at a near alarming pace. The Internet is making more than ridiculous video personalities famous. It’s more than about connecting to art, it allows people to connect to the artists in a personal way. Artists can and should use social media to the fullest extent, especially blogging. For the artist it is more than sharing every minute detail of their life, but the essence of their work, where their inspiration comes from and other topics related to their work.

Social networking sites seem to rise and fall in popularity every few years, but some have real staying power by allowing people to adapt and use the site for many different purposes. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be great for artists, but there are more art-specific sites available. Like social networking sites, there are hundreds of options when it comes to art networking sites.

Following are three sites that are helpful and artists use. There are many more, but these have active communities and are contemporary when it comes to art, news and contests.

DeviantArt: “Where ART meets application!”

DeviDeviant Art LogoantArt boasts the largest network of art and users. They claim the ability to browse over 100 million pieces of art and 13 million members. Upon setting their sites on the website a person will see the green hues that are unique to DeviantArt. The color takes away some of the pretentious nature of art and makes it more amateur friendly. On the front page there are upwards of 24 of “recent deviations”. A deviation is a piece of artwork the user, deviant, uploads. From the homepage a person can browse and search deviations, participate in polls and sign up for a free or paid profile. Even with a free membership artists can sell prints of their work.

A deviant profile consists of artwork, deviantID (profile picture), blog and favorites. As a member of DeviantArt you can collect your favorites for others to see and easy access. If you want more customization for your profile go ahead and buy a subscription. At under $5 a month for many it is worth it. Deviants can even go as far as buying ads that show up when people are browsing.

DeviantArt is a fan boy or girls haven. They can see artwork of their obsession in all sorts of mediums. Anime, fanfiction, and original writings, are some of the more non-traditional arts that are rampant on DevianArt. Jewelry and artisan crafts are represented, but not at the same level as other types of art

ARTslant: “The #1 contemporary art network”

Artslant LogoArtslant is more commercial than DeviantArt. The ability to buy works is more apparent, but a person must have a paid subscription to sell their works. In keeping with many art based sites Artslant’s appearance is built upon a black and white grid model. Based on appearances Artslant is best suited for three types: working artists, agents and the occasional consumer. A feature that I love about Artslant that I have yet to see on DeviantArt is the exhibitions feature. Here you can see where, when and with whom, the artist has exhibited. While Artslant is the more professional version of DevianArt it does not seem to foster personal connections to the same extent. It is much more a virtual gallery.

Profiles pages are much more streamlined and display less personal information and more what a gallery would be interested in reading. Depending on the artist there is more content, but the option to have as much as DeviantArt is not there.

Artspan: “Contemporary Art”

Artspan can be summed up easily in my mind: a virtual arts and crafts fair. Unlike some of its competitors Artspan caters to even wider realms of artistry: jewelry and crafts. These are represented at the same level as artists and photgraphers. According to their “Quick Facts” Artspan is the #1 ranking for contemporary art by Yahoo and Google. The home page is very similar to that of Artslant, but it offers more information about the website and benefits on the front page. Profiles are standalone websites and customizable. A major drawback of Artspan: it’s going to cost you after the first month.

Artbridg Thoughts

Of the three websites, I am only a member of DeviantArt, and not a very active member at that. I have been a member for about 6 years and the work posted spans about an 8 year period. I am thinking about joining Artslant as part of the maturing from an art student into an artist, but at this point I won’t be spending money to join Artspan. Considering I hadn’t heard about it until this week I do not think it will be worth my money when the other two sites are free and seem to have more visitors.

In terms of looks, DeviantArt reads like a website, but Artspan and Artslant read more like art magazines on the Internet. When viewing both you have to look around the ads and the gridded content to find some of the better functions. The fact that they remind me of an art magazine is not necessarily a bad thing. It does contribute to a sense of continuity among a genre of work.

Whether an artist chooses to stick with the big three of social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) or venture to the art-specific sites, they can make a world of difference by harnessing the power of the Internet masses.


Filed under Art, art techneau, Social Media, Virtual Museums