Some time ago I made a list of top ten places to buy art and photography prints online. This post is in a way a reverse of the above. This is the resource for those of you who are looking to sell, exhibit or simply show off your creative genius. This will not be a "top ten" kind of a list though, since every one of these resources has something unique and incomparable to offer, making it nearly impossible to fairly weigh them all against each other. I will, however, go in as much depth as possible, discuss the pros, cons and the reasons to submit in detail.
What is the role of art in our lives? Is art limited to just museums, orchestras and theatres? Is it important? Why should we even have art? To answer these questions better, we need to start with an age-old what is art? There is a lot of debate. Some say that we can call art only the things that are approved to be so by an authority. Others, (like myself) bring forward a point that art is a product of relationship between the creator and the audience. And that it has a lot to do with the intent of the producer. Let's agree then, that art is a human-made object that is designed to evoke new emotions. If that doesn't work for you - comment below and we'll discuss. Otherwise let's tackle the next big question.
Up until I started selling posters on the internet I never thought much of wall-art. When I was a kid, I lived with my grandparents for eight years while going to grade school. My granddad loved painting the seas and the ships that roamed them with his aquarelle set. I still remember the deep blue squalls of unforgiving blues and the calm, warm sunsets. And the masts of ships on the horizon overshadowing the glowing yellow skies. That man was a huge influence on me when I was a child and I believe he still is. His adventurous nature inspired me to travel and create as much as I do now.
My mom said that when I was a baby yellow was my favorite color. I don't remember any of that. But I do remember very vividly that pink was one of the first colors to make a huge impression on me as a child. It took me a few tries to remember how to say it Russian (розовый, rozoviy) while growing up in Moscow with my grandpa. It was a big rosy bar of pink soap that made bubbles, it still is very vivid in my memory. Later in life the color started to get weird meanings. Here in the West we associate it with homosexuality when used by men or femininity when used by girls. In Russia, pink is associated with homosexuality when used by girls. Baby-blue (Russians have different words and meanings for baby-blue and navy hues of blue) is gay when used by boys. Long story short, I stopped liking the color because I did not want to identify myself as a homosexual or transgendered.
I believe that art really does make a very significant impact on our lives. Whether it is Rembrandt or Justin Bieber it deeply affects us on emotional, social and even physiological levels. During the past few years my beliefs, opportunity and the skill sets have brought me to the point of starting this art-related business. While not being a genius marketer (mediocre, at best) I always knew that generating income from art is an important step towards becoming a better artist. Being able to earn money from print sales, for example, would mean that I would need to devote all my free time towards getting better at it. And all I really want is just more time for practice [that] makes perfect. A few years into this venture and I am convinced that business is really, really hard. Especially if it is being conducted online. Security concerns, difficult returns and flat, small screens. But that's not all: buying anything online is often associated with deep discounts. It's not a surprise that internet shopping has got a lot of its momentum because we can get better deals on, say, Amazon than at a local store - consistently. So how does that even work?
I grew up with cartoons. They both entertained and enchanted me (and still do, actually). When I was I kid, I wondered how could they make the drawings move on the screen like that? I am now lucky enough to know the inner workings of the art of animation. A couple of years ago my full-time job was creating animated characters for kids. I still use these techniques almost every day: from video editing to animating the transitions that you see on this website (an beyond).
Betty is a traveller, designer, artist, photographer, teacher and a curator/advisor for the ArtSocket art collection. Today I had a chance to ask her a few questions about her life and her trade. I've also managed to figure out her techniques for creating ink paintings using traditional Chinese tools and materials.
Does it make sense to shop for art on the Internet? The problem with buying stuff online is that there is always a good chance that things will not look as they were pictured. And that's a serious problem, much so with art. But then again, nothing looks the same as it does in the ads. For example, I can't pull off a lot of the clothes I see in the posters. I look like a dork wearing them. That's because I don't have an amazing body that could make any piece of fabric look beautiful. No matter how great the garments look on god-like bodies of smiling models under the perfect light.
Everyone claims to be 'green' and 'eco-friendly' nowadays. But we all know it isn't true. It is a hot topic and as a result it's been used in marketing campaigns as a tool to extract money from our wallets under the cover of being 'good for the earth'. But even in cases when we truly believe that what we do has a low impact on our ecosystem we could be wrong. Consider this talk by Leyla Acaroglu where she demonstrates that a trashed plastic bag could incur less damage than degradable paper bag. I can't speak for every product and activity out there (although I'm working on a list) but I do know prints. During the past ~5 years I've dealt with dozens of print shops and read tons of articles about what does and does not work, what looks best, what feels best etc. A big part of my research was finding a way to sell sustainable products.
Art and design are not the same thing. Just because you are good at art doesn't mean that you are going to be good at design as well. I had to learn it the hard way. I was always into making stuff. When I was a little kid I lived with my grandfather who was and still is a huge influence on me. A lot of our playtime consisted of constructing toys out of paper and other materials. This habit of constantly doing something with my hands manifested in my early fascination with technology. A lot of things changed at the university. I was still very proficient at and excited with technology. But art has entered my life in a big way. All that I ever wanted to do was play music. This was also the worst time in history to become a musician. The traditional "record deal" got shattered as countless labels went under and never bounced back. And everyone with a laptop suddenly became a DJ. Being a recent immigrant with constant financial tensions did not help either.
Last year I started including "Eco Tips" into every monthly email newsletter to my friends and customers. This is the list of these little discoveries so far. The goal is to push this to 100 actionable suggestions to make us better "earth citizens". I highly doubt that I can do that without your help though, so please do drop a comment or contact me with your tips.
Working in art and entertainment business has its perks. Every now and then I get to meet all sorts of interesting and brilliant individuals, whom I often have the pleasure of interviewing. In the past I've talked to artists, photographers, and world travellers - all of whom have very unique experiences and world views. This time I'd like to post a few lines between myself and Matthew Stollmeyer. Matthew is an incredibly talented, dedicated skater and a friend. Hey Matthew! Let's start at the beginning. Where are you and what are you currently doing? Sup D, I’m in Victoria BC, I came here in hopes or sorting out my injured hip, for which I believe I am in the final stretch. It’s been a while buddy! Yeah man! Good to have you here. Let's talk about you and skateboarding. How long have you been doing it? What got you into it? Since age 11. Which, apparently, equates to 13 years. We didn't do those neighbourhood curbs any favours. A few residents were particularly unaccommodating, though I suspect it was less about us than they let on. For a long time my weekends were spent with the goodwood crew talking smack and learning heelflips!
Indian tradition and culture has instilled the seeds of greatness in many. It taught us to be humble, helpful and generous. It brought inspiration to western artists around the world – most notably during the explosion of the "Hippie" movement in the 60s. The Beatles being the most prominent example: just listen to Within You Without You from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". India has a very diverse culture. There are five major religions practiced in the country: Hinduism (predominantly), Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Moreover there are thousands of unique traditions and philosophies local to different cities and villages. The country smells of prayer and of emotional values. People are very religious, emotional and customary, with their culture spanning over 3000 years into the past. Music, yoga and meditation are some of the major cultural exports into the West. Most recently India has also became the world’s largest Democracy and a political model for a whole range of developing countries.
In his 1934 paper on aesthetics "Art as Experience", John Dewy offers to look at art as a relationship system. A bond between the audience and the expressive object - and its effect on the lives of each. Leo Tolstoy in his essay "What is art?" (translated excerpts here) referred to it as "activity", "expression" and "feeling". ArtSocket's Olga Tcherbadji describes being an artist as a wonderer in a garden looking for a divine fruit. Only a true creator can see it, get it, peel it and present it. Artist is a medium between the ether of creativity that floats around us and the material world that we live in. Victor Wooten describes this concept in his book "The Music Lesson": Nobody really owns music. Some of us can hear it and play it out, but it comes from out there.
I travel a lot. It's been over a year since the final departure from Toronto. By now I have visited almost all major destinations in Asia. Some are amazing, others are meh. 798 Art Zone is definitely the former. 798 Art Zone (Chinese: 798艺术区; pinyin: 798 Yìshùqū), or Dashanzi Art District is an immense neighbourhood on the outskirts of Beijing City. Its size and the diversity and quality of the works exhibited is phenomenal. Needless to say that my visit turned out to be a mind-bending experience.
Art is a journey. Same-old is the opposite of creativity. Every single artist, musician and photographer that I know longs to discover something new - and what is a better way to do that than to go somewhere far far away? Meet Ian Chow, my friend and someone I look up to when it comes to actually going to places most people only dream about. He is here to share his wisdom and experiences about being far far away from home. Where are you now?Currently, I'm back home in Toronto. How many countries have you visited so far? How many cities? 17 or so countries and far too many cities to even care to count. Some countries though are weird, like Hong Kong, is that China or not? Or North Korea and South Korea, is that ONE Korea or not? When and where was your first trip? First trip with my parents was to NYC when I was like, 6? First trip abroad was to Hong Kong/China, Australia and New Zealand just before I went to university.
This week I had a chance to ask my friend Ron, graphic artist, designer and overall really nice guy a few questions about his new creative project. Every (work) day, since February 3rd Ron drew a fictional character portrait on an empty container from his daily caffeine fix. He posts the results of on his Instagram account, Twitter and, if you know him personally - Facebook. By now I fully expect it, it is my reminder that I need to get my coffee too and start doing something with my life. And as I do just that I reminisce about the old friends from sci-fi and comics that I worshiped as a kid, staring at me from the empty paper cup half way across the world.
This is perhaps the first and only English translation of Alexander Pushkin's unfinished poem. Just like travel, dipping the toes into foreign art is enlightening. Being a Russian-born who still remembers how to read and write I thought I'd give this beautiful poem a try. Be warned: a lot of the grammar rules have been subverted to preserve the flow of the original piece. I have never done this before so do let me know if there is something that needs fixing.
Printing has come a long way since 1041. Nowadays we can order our images to be printed on pretty much whatever we want: from TP to 7-storey building walls. We can even 3D print pretty much anything. In this article I will be going over some quality options suitable for printing art and photography. More specifically, I will be talking about archival paper and canvas rags which are (in my opinion) the best options for wall art. Up until I really got involved with printing art I had very little faith in quality materials and inks. Of course I know that better stuff will have better results, but I never thought it could be this much of a difference. It is. Today you can get a print for just a few bucks at Ikea or a poster at the next-door general store. Wall art is a popular product; there is a range of prices with thousands of dollars at the top-tier. The art itself obviously stands for a lot of the value, but I will be talking about just the paper and ink. These are the things responsible for the visual appearance of your favorite image.
Film photography (some call it Lomography) never died. Even if digital cameras took over the world with their fancy megapixels and the convenience of not having to buy film and then later process it. Even now it seems that we still want our pictures on film. Some of us show it through sticking with actual film cameras, others use Instagram to show our love for warm colours, unexpected imperfections - even the grain. In this article I will guide you through the scanning process that I used for the film photography collections on ArtSocket. The problem with the most common and cheap ways that people use these days to transfer negatives onto their computers is quality. Even the cheapest Lomo camera has 4-16 potential megapixels to every shot and tons of character, colours and tiny details. All of that disappears if you use methods like this.
One of the best ways to get inspired is to change the scenery. Me and Betty have been around the world a few times. It kept the drive to create and innovate. This is probably still a #1 reason I feel inspired enough to work so hard on this website. Here is our little story about unusual and awesome Eastern traditions: Did you know that the Japanese apologize more often than Canadians? That their vending machines are out of this world? Or that tipping is considered an insult? Well in the holiday spirit, we’ve got another one for you and it involves, believe it or not: KFC. Part of the portfolio development for ArtSocket involved traveling through Asia. During the transit we came across some very interesting cultural differences. Japan is a world-known place to consistently inspire and surprise it's visitors. We were not an exception.
Internet has democratized and revolutionized our lives in many ways, including discovery and exploration of art. It is not uncommon for museums and art galleries to have more visitors online than at the actual venue. In this post I will describe the online curation process (and why it is important) as well as compare both physical and virtual methods.
Travel is an ultimate source of inspiration. Whether you are a photographer or an engineer, seeing diverse cultures and environments can help you come up with never thought-of before ideas. I've been across Asia for a few months now. It is a completely different world. Now it is time for another change. A business trip to California!
Knowing what to hang on your walls is not as straight forward as it seems to be. Just a pretty picture could serve great for the first couple of days, but one can easily get tired of it within few weeks, even begin to dislike it to the point of having to remove it. Finding curated artwork that is selected by professionals is a great way of getting something inspiring for your living and working space. >But what if there are no reputable galleries close by, you don't like their selection, or there is no time to roam all around the city looking for art? Luckily there are plenty of curated online art exhibits and print shops available on the Internet. This is the list of some of the best ones or most notable ones out there. I did not mention my website on this list of course, to avoid obvious bias in our selections.
On this blog I usually write about travel and photography. When I do, I usually don't get too much into technical details. But in this particular case I believe it's very important to explain the concept of pixel density. This particular technicality is very important for anyone who makes, prints and buys images and is concerned about quality. Even if you want to simply print an image off the internet at home, nothing fancy - it still matters a lot. To clarify, this article is focused on making quality prints, not the pixel density/quality of computer monitors. Let's dive in: DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and it refers to the resolution at which a printer can generate images. It is not the same as PPI (Pixels Per Inch) but these two terms have been used interchangeably.
Darcy Michaelchuk is a Canadian nature and wildlife photographer. His work can be seen (and bought!) at fotochuk.com. In this interview you will get a glimpse into his life as a nature enthusiast who makes art with his camera.