New technology offers exciting new ways of making art ? and also of selling it, notes Haroon Mirza. Online galleries are increasingly able to compete with traditional spaces. However, artists can also use new technology to take the first step in selling their own work. Slides have been the standard format for presenting work by artists and designers for decades and even now, in the digital age, galleries and art schools favour slides when attempting to show work. As most artists will testify, the production of high quality slides can be a lengthy and expensive process that frequently fails to be a convincing representation of the work. As artists have embraced the use of digital technology in their work, it is only a logical progression that new media be used to present the work, giving artists the opportunity to show time-based media such as the moving image or sound to support their applications.
Art and craft essentially have to be seen in their physicality to be experienced, which cannot really be achieved over the Web or on a CD-Rom. So in the transition from material to digital modes of presentation, there can be a lack of awareness of the possibilities available, such as digital catalogues on CD-Rom and DVD. Due to the cost efficiency and versatility of CD-Rom/DVD catalogues, over time we may see a gradual shift in gallery publications, yet total subversion is unlikely because of the material presence of print.
A catalyst for this gradual shift from material to digital is the arrival of online galleries and art supermarkets such as http://www.britart.com and http://www.artfrog.co.uk. These domains have revolutionised the art-buying market by offering an artist?s whole back catalogue available for immediate access. Artnet.com have extended this further by building a network of international galleries all in one (web)space, like an art fair that is constantly on(line). This development in the art market has liberated artists from having to reproduce images of their work time and time again and made them accessible to a wider audience at a global level. For many, the thought of going digital is still daunting; however, as the rewards of digitisation become apparent, artists are seeking new formats for their portfolios and catalogues.
Digital portfolios allow viewers to experience video, installation and sound from their computer screens in a way that two-dimensional static images do not. This gives galleries, curators and art schools a clearer understanding of the work and its physical presence. With a CD-Rom capable of storing 450 high-resolution images and DVD almost seven times that, it?s no surprise that documenting and presenting work is becoming a space and time-saving process. The medium also has an advantage over the Web in that you can view the content instantly without having to download large files. With any technology there are some drawbacks such as platform issues (Mac/PC) or having to download additional software to view the content, which is why an industry standard for artists supplying digital portfolios will evolve in time. But, for now, the design software giants, Macromedia are leading the way with their Flash and Shockwave technology, capable of authoring quick loading and universally supported interactive content. Their software is easy to use and comes with comprehensive tutorials to get you started building interactive presentations of your work.
Haroon Mirza is founder and interface designer of Clickfolio. w: http://www.clickfolio.com