Creating an Artist Website
by Steve Coray
The Utah Arts Council and Artists
of Utah treated over fifty Utah artists to an invaluable crash course in
website design and creation issues recently. On October 8th, presenters Steve
Coray, Shawn Rossiter and Kenny Pratt conducted the free workshop to help
artists answer their questions and concerns about using the internet to
promote their work. The following list of suggestions were highlights from
1. You are selling “you”. When settling
on a domain name, consider seriously making it your first and last name
(ex: www.stevejones.com). Domain names can be reserved for about $25 per
year, so register yours now!
2. There are a lot of extensions available
these days (.biz, .us, etc.). Since “.com” is the most widely used, register
your name using that extension. If your name has already been taken, add
a word to the title, just so you can still get a “.com” name (ex: www.stevejonesart.com).
3. Keep your eye out for package deals
– service providers that give you site hosting, email and will register
your domain name. Prices vary widely, so research and compare.
5. Include a guestbook on your site
-- collect your visitors’ snailmail and email as well. And ask them
where they learned of your site – you need to know what marketing efforts
are working for you.
6. Avoid unnecessary whistles and
bells. Your site should focus attention on your artwork, not on how many
programming tricks your web designer knows. All of that flashy stuff takes
extra time to download. Most visitors will move on to another site if they
have too wait too long for yours to load.
7. Flash protects your images, but
your images will look fine on the web at a resolution that will not be
able to be used for physical copies.
8. For use on a website, create your
artwork to the size files will appear on screen. They should have a resolution
of 72 pixels per inch and should be saved in the JPG format (at the highest
quality possible). A total file size of 500k is plenty big for most full-size
images, and 10-15k for most thumbnails.
9. Plan ahead. Define the nature,
size, audience, uses, navigation, etc. of your site before building. You’ll
save time, money and frustration if you have a detailed plan before the
10. Want to use your site to sell?
Paypal (www.paypal.com) allows an inexpensive way to accept credit cards
But just having a site is not enough.
You have to get people to use it! The Artists of Utah directory of member
artists is a great way to direct visitors to artist websites. It’s an alphabetical
listing of artists, along with their contact information, a brief statement
about their work, up to three thumbnail images, and a link to the artist’s
But whoa, wait a minute, you say!
Most artists don’t have digital images of their work and may not know where
to go to get started. Well, once again, it was Artists of Utah to the rescue.
To help contributing members get the most out of their directory listing,
Steve Coray volunteered to shoot three pieces for each artist. Thumbnails
of these images were then posted to the artists’ entries in the directory.
As part of the fall fundraising campaign, AoU asked for a $20 donation
to the organization for the service.
With some exciting new offerings soon
to be announced, watch for this service to be offered again.
Kenny Pratt, of KJP Studios, answered
technical questions and presented his innovative website solutions for
artists. His company offers a "template" solution that allows artists to
maintain and update their own site without having to learn programming.
Interested artists can visit their site where they have created a page
for Artists of Utah.
Artists of Utah continues to provide
vital services to Utah's visual arts community. Artists of Utah is
currently involved in our fall fundraiser, asking members of the community
to help keep Artists of Utah a venue for Utah's art community to connect
We have a lot of exciting projects
planned to expand the unique services we provide. You can read about
these services on our fall fundraiser page.
As part of our fall fundraiser, in
the following weeks we will be announcing a new sponsor and a new opportunity
for artists, galleries and collectors. Livvnart, generous contributors
to our non-profit organization, will be launching a commercial website
designed to sell fine art on the internet while respecting relationships
between artists, galeries, and collectors. For a limited time, members
of Artists of Utah will be allowed to sign up with this service for free
($150 value). We will be announcing more details at the end of the
month. If you haven't already signed up with us, sign our guestbook
to receive more information.
Brian Hoover: continued
from page 1
Hoover’s work obviously borrows from
the Symbolists of the late 19th-century, but it also reaches back to the
Pre-Raphaelites and to the Italian primitives for its stylistic influences.
Yet the works maintain a crisp, clean, contemporary feel, with hints of
a sci-fi book cover aesthetic. His is an art that would feel more
comfortable depicting Dante chasing after Beatrice, rather than simplying
gazing up at her from beneath the window.
A comparison to Dante is not far off.
Hoover has by no means reached a visual poetics to match that of the Florentine,
but he does have some similarities. Dante’s best moments, what
keeps him readable to this day, is that in trying to reach his poetic arm
up into the heavens he wasn’t afraid to get his pen dirty in the more base
qualities of humanity. The only part of the Divine Comedy anyone
really reads, at least with any pleasure, is the Inferno, where Dante’s
poetry can revel in the earthiness of the nether regions. His anger,
wit, humor, and satire come to full bloom in the Inferno. But these
aspects of his work by no wise diminish the quality or the message of the
In a similar way, Hoover seems to
me an interesting painter because a sly sense of wit slips into his pieces.
In Hoover’s Harbinger series, the focal point of the exhibit in Springville,
the most exciting passages are not the celestial beings hovering above
the ground, but the earthly beings beneath them. In each of the Harbinger
paintings “landscape, academic flesh, and an allegorical animal” are used
to symbolize a season.
Spring, Summer and Winter
Click on an image to see an enlargement
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The best passages of the paintings
are beneath the floating figures.
In Spring, the frogs which
encircle the foreground are a nice use of allegory, but the detail of the
broken craked mud from which the frogs have recently plopped themselves
is an observant and delightful touch. The fish showing through a
mountain stream in Winter is simply beautiful. My personal
favorite of the series, however, is Summer.
What makes this painting a delight
is that while, like the others, the painting is quite beautiful, with its
Harbinger of the season floating above a winding highway in a beautiful
landscape -- something near Capitol Reef, maybe -- below the hovering Harbinger
is the road kill. And this is not just a sly allusion to road kill.
Hoover has one eye of the poor beast rolling away from the body.
The humor, or better, bathos, is not slapstick. Juxtaposed
with the overall beauty of the painting and with the driving truth of the
observation – summer time is about hitting the highway and the creatures
that cross them – the gory attention to detail creates a great balance
between the sublime and the silly. Through all this balance,
Hoover’s attention to formal qualities remains – notice that the flies
hovering over the carcass mimic the hummingbirds hovering around the Harbinger.
This is the down-to earth quality
– literally in the case of the frogs arising from their crypt – that makes
Hoover a delight. With his keen sense of observation, his insightful
wit and his delicate brushwork Hoover is Brugheul meets Rossetti.
He knows that high art doesn’t have to be high seriousness. In fact,
some of the most serious things can only be said behind a joke.
is not the only element to subtly work its way into Hoover’s works.
One work can be fun-loving and the next one may be filled with some disturbing
dark foreboding. Hoover is attempting to be jarring, whether it be
by juxtaposing the comical in the serious or the dark in the tranquil.
He paints with very fine surfaces and attractive color work, all to the
pull the viewer in. At closer inspection, though, there is always
something a little off kilter. Hoover’s piece Bristlecone
reminds me somewhat of the illustrations for a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet,
but the cocoon baby and the tension between it and the nightgown-clad women
disturb what might otherwise be a fairy-tale image of motherhood.
While this type of tense juxtapositioning
works great in the paintings Objects of Reverence as an exhibition is unfortunatley
less successful. The exhibition seems a bit chaotic and incomplete.
I imagine that this is more the fault of the Museum than of the artist.
If anything, the exhibit may have been premature. The Harbinger series
itself is missing one important element, Autumn, which Hoover says is still
in his studio. Hoover seems to be going in some new directions and
I feel like I would have prefered to let him get there before putting on
this exhibition. Some of the other works displayed go fine with the
Harbinger series. But some are simply out of place or just weak.
There is a landscape, sticking out like a sore thumb. Though it is
painted aptly enough, it seems to serve no other purpose in the exhibition
than to convince the landscape-loving public of Utah that this guy is alright,
he can paint landscapes too.
A few of the works are from an early
period in which Hoover experimented with some technical means. Hoover first
spills and splashes liquified paint onto a canvas, after which he begins
looking for images in the spill and renders a narrative in a more traditional
manner. If memory serves, I have seen a couple of these which seemed
successful, but most of the ones in this exhibit seemed somewhat forced.
I applaud Hoover for taking some formal risks, but I think he is best served
when the juxtaposing sense of tension comes from narrative elements in
the works rather than technical ones.
Brian Hoover seems to have found something
useful in his raid of the Art History attic. The works in Objects
of Reverence points towards the maturing of a style that may show us
that Western art may still have something to give us in the 21st century.
Hoover says of his work: “ In the
postmodern sense, I appropriate imagery from the ancient past to popular
culture. I am particularly interested in late Gothic and early Renaissance
paintings. These works convey more than just descriptive imagery. They
were beautiful, powerful, and often fearsome objects of reverence. I use
intricate patterns, precious metals, and enigmatic imagery to recreate
a sense of powerful myth and magic in the hope that I may create my own
objects of reverence.” He does this best when he is being just a
||Brian Hoover received undergraduate
training in art from the Cleveland Institute of Art and then earned a BFA
from Kutztown University, PA in 1988. He received an MFA in printmaking
from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990. Currently Chair
of the Art Department at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah,
he teaches Painting, Printmaking and Drawing.