Thursday, August 9, 2012

Should You Be An Art Luddite?

We recently spent a week in Mammoth Lakes, CA with friends. I hadn't been there in years but remembered the many kitschy shops and so loaded up lots of photos on my iPad, and a tub of my craft items in case that I met and even could sell items to the local galleries. This was between the annual Bluessapaooza and seeing the sights.

Speaking to several shop owners, who were very helpful, I came across a trend that startled me. One owners husband had many things he had welded in the gallery, had a web site but kept the majority of his items off the web for fear that they would be copied. Another had an email address but little more. Checking out their consignment artists information, several were far more savvy than the galleries that represented them.  On further questioning about selling online, she admitted that she didn't have much use for computers or the Internet. She, and many more I fear, had never heard of (to the chagrin of all of us who have stores there) but did know of someone who sold items there. She was not interested at all.

I know that many in artistic community dislike the Internet for a variety of reasons. One is just that it can be daunting and a time sink that they feel produces nothing. They would rather create than struggle with their web stores or allow others to copy their ideas. I hear them. Yet to ignore also puts an artist at peril. And I say this after a terribly frustrating time today trying to buy something on the Adobe software store on the web. I never could download it and gave up after 30 minutes on hold. I will ask for my money back tomorrow, probably after an even longer wait on the phone.

Artists really can't ignore the web. More and more people go there to shop and stores like Amazon and the iTunes store have set the standard for making that purchase. Both eBay and Amazon offer sites for your store and, in hindsight, that would be the place to set up your first store. They have made the purchasing process so simple and easy, its amazing everyone else hasn't copied them. Trust me, after today, I KNOW they haven't.

To think that you can exist today, without a web presence would be a mistake. An artist can't be a Luddite. Technology, for better or worse, is here to stay! We creative types will just have to learn to use it.

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