Online Art Scene vs. Gallery “Real World”

05.26.2009 / Miscellaneous

Today’s topic is an interesting one— do you artists feel that the online art scene is representative of the “real world”/gallery scene? Does the Internet accurately portray the real world?

Comment below to join the dialogue!

Related Episode(s): The Future of Art/Design, Blog, Blog, Blog!

  • Another great interesting issue to talk about!! Yaay!

    I can relate really well with Will Bryant, I live in a community who are really clueless about what I do for a living. It’s so funny sometimes after I tell them what I do and they, “What?”,.. and I think the internet art scene is much more simpler and reach the targeted audience faster, I had an experience in the real scene, which for an exhibition, I must have a talk to the gallery’s curator and owner first, and to book their schedule, isn’t always easy, after the chat (which can be either successful or they’ll ignore you), you have to wait for your scheduled exhibition on the gallery, which can be as soon as next week, to 3 months, or even a year, if the gallery’s full, or even the deadliest “I’ll call you later” remark by the curator/owner. If you do have an exhibition, your invitees are the next thing you should worry about. You can’t just invites all your friends, you have to think about the press, the critics, the academics, and so on (and they are not the happiest bunch). To know them personally or a connection to someone powerful in the scene is really helpful, so it’s much more political, I think. On the contrary, on the internet, you mostly do all things yourself, set up the gallery, inviting viewers (anyone can do, so simple!), promoting your work (bloggers are usually warm, happy people!), and sell your stuff without a fuss.

    And Erin, you’re right!! I have a friend that have a million pageviews on her online gallery and in the real art conventions, nobody has ever heard of her! I think the reason is that, online, those who talk to you, view your galleries, appreciate your works, are fellow artists/designers/bloggers themselves who are not “living” in the real art scene too. But of course, there are some artists/designers have the equal popularity in both world as well.

  • I’ve wondered about this for a while. I’ve just started my life as an artist. I’ve dabbled before, but this is the first time I’m trying to become professional.

    I keep thinking that I’ll only be professional, if I start to show my photos in the real world.

    However, this video made me realize that my online presence can also be construed as showing my work.

    This also makes me think that I have to take this online presence more seriously.

    Thank you for this post.

  • while for the most part it’s true that the online art scene (that i pay attention to at least) isn’t hugely reflected in “the real world”, it’s there if you look for it (& depending on where you live of course). i saw two shows yesterday that included artists who’s work i also look at online. it would be brilliant, however, if these kind of shows would happen more frequently, & in more places.

    where i live, the contemporary art scene is what’s focused on, & it’s great that there’s an art scene of sorts at all, even though what i do & what i’m interested in is nowhere close to the work that is put on show around here. but i think people should visit exhibitions even if the content doesn’t interest them much. it’s always great to see new ways of approaching things, even if as a whole you don’t understand or like it.

    the online art scene is great though. everyday is kind of like browsing a brilliant exhibition or reading an awesome book. but in the same way that in a previous dialogue we were encouraged to go to the library & read a real book, i think sometimes you’ve got to go outside & take a look at things that aren’t on a screen.

    & will, did you just BITE that ice lolly?! you made my teeth hurt.

  • best dialogue ever.

    This is exactly what I have been freaking out about of late, and I think Craig sums it up with the “stuffy” wine drinking scene that “real world” art has.

  • this is an interesting topic, and i think it is pretty clear that online and real life are not necessarily reflective of one another. one thing i love about the online community is (obviously) the ability to connect with people from anywhere, anytime i want. i can see new work, i can see someone’s entire portfolio–not to mention, getting my own work out there with more immediacy.
    sometimes, however, i think i sit at my computer so much that i don’t connect with people in a real way! i like going to openings, i like preparing for them (it has been a long time since i have shown my work, and yes, it was expensive to frame my work and it involved a lot of legwork on my part, but it was also fun and exciting!). i think it also depends on the “real world art scene” you are interested in–either depending on your location, or on the type of gallery (is is non-profit? is it a volunteer gallery? is it a commercial gallery in a big city?). i think you can go anywhere and find stuffy people, or you can find people who are there to appreciate the art, people who might end up being great new friends/connections.
    one thing i really miss about seeing art in real life is that seeing pieces online can make things all look the same–you miss out on scale, texture, sometimes colors (since monitors vary), and details. i think sometimes these things can make all the difference in whether or not i like a piece of art.
    also, i agree with jen–my teeth hurt! i like the casual feel of dialogue but eating on screen? definitely distracting, and a bit of a turn-off.

  • FANTASTIC, as always. i am completely in love with this series, erin. you never cease to amaze me! and i love how positive and thoughtful all the artists in the videos are. YES! And I agree that the online art world is just the greatest.

  • the online world has given people an easily accessible way to pursue and promote their art regardless of age, gender, geographic location, etc. anything’s possible. but, it’s probably a good idea to get out there and press the flesh, too.

  • i love your thoughts SO so much. thank you for contributing your ideas to the conversation— i think that’s what makes us better people, better artists.

  • I agree with Craig, especially about the pretentiousness of so many ‘modern art’ galleries. I see alot of people go to these galleries and feel obliged to like the art. They have no real way of expressing how they actually feel. With online art, you can take it or leave it, and you can feel more comfortable in expressing your opinion.

    As for artists, it is a way to get some honest feedback, perhaps, and is much more interactive somehow.

  • Erin! I feel like I was just “talking” (ie. emailing!) about this with you a couple of weeks ago. This is such an important topic and one that I think about constantly. I sincerely believe that it is so important to get your name out there online. Today, even if someone sees your work in a brick and mortar gallery or any kind of physical show or exhibit, they will likely go home and google you whether or not they like your work. Online presence is necessary even if it’s just a simple website…

    I use my website as a pro site for people to just come and see my work and different styles and then my blog is a place for me to talk about my work, other stuff I like, share, etc…and it’s in my voice.

    So, overall I think it’s important to have engage in both but certainly an online presence is key…there is SO much out there in the art world – so many different styles, price points, people – that carving out a niche for yourself and putting yourself out there is important for your exposure and also to network and frankly make contacts and friends. I’ve met so many people online and have found so much inspiration for my own work! I’ve also learned so much about myself and have really been grateful for all of the feedback on my work.

    thanks for bringing up the topic! I loved listening to the artists talk about their experiences.

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