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"Giving everyone their fifteen bytes of fame".
October 2002
Page 5
Artists of Utah
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 the discussion:

1. You are selling “you”. When settling on a domain name, consider seriously making it your first and last name (ex: 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:

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 coding begins.

10. Want to use your site to sell? Paypal ( allows an inexpensive way to accept credit cards online. 

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 own site.

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
Fall Fundraiser

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 and create.

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.

Exhibition Review-- Springville
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 whole.

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. 
The Harbingers: Spring, Summer and Winter
Click on an image to see an enlargement in another window

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. 

Wit 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 bit irreverent.
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.