Many folks over the past year have emailed me asking about whether investing in a website was worth the money and time. In my opinion (likely to change any day) for many folks that are just wanting to share their artwork with the world, I think a community posting like Lumberjocks is a better effort of your time spent.
If you want to sell your work, or do it full time, then how you use the internet needs to be part of a bigger plan. Almost all “artist-based” websites I have researched in my cyber journey’s over the years are put together by hobbyists in the artform they have selected. There are few working full-time artists in our culture, as apparently, everyone is too busy buying imported things, fancy phones, flat screen t.v.’s, digital cameras, boats, cars, and motorcycles, and paying their mortgages.
I understand all of that, and how as a culture, we have come to this point, but in my opinion, investing in art is not a big part of the American Culture. We are investors in “bargains” and good art by expert artists is never a bargain. There are a few exceptions, I agree, so I’m not trying to start an argument, or point fingers. I’m talking about “for the most part.”
I can assure you, and the testimony of many others, that just getting your home made website posted on the web may seem very exciting, but making money from it is another thing altogether. I’m still trying to decide if it is worth the money I spend on it, and the effort it takes to prepare data for it, and it has been 5-6 years now. But, it is part of my marketing plan, so it is still too early to tell if the effort is worth the investment for me. I don’t give up on anything easily, especially something I am convinced was a good idea at the time. “Bulldog” comes to my visual mind, and maybe “Pioneering Spirit.”
Well, this past summer, my website actually gave me a chance to be a part of a book writing situation. No, I’m not getting paid from it, nor am I writing for the book. A very nice man named Jim Stevens has a website named www.scrimshawstudio.com.
He also sells a starter kit for would-be scrimshanders (http://www.scrimshawstudio.com/kit.html), and a booklet he wrote on the subject, to help folks get started with the artform (http://www.scrimshawstudio.com/manual.html).
There are a lot of “Scrimshaw” websites, and “Scrimshaw Artists”, and rarely have I found someone that actually makes a full-time living from the artform. It is a time consuming artform, and getting paid for the time it takes while bills come in, seems to delegate the artform to the role of “hobby” for almost all of us that try to do it.
In Jim’s website, he also has a list of internet related links for scrimshaw, including other artists. He said that he spent a few weeks doing searches, and accumulating the links for all of the folks he has listed on his site.
One day I was scouring through my statcounter statistics on my own website, and I found a “hit” from someone that had come to my site through Jim Steven’s site. I quickly looked through his pages, and being impressed with his work, and the listing of my website, I sent him an email thanking him for it.
I noticed on his website his “Scrimshaw Starter kit” with the tools and his booklet. This is an idea I had also come up with several years ago, even took the photos, and did the writing in WORD, but then never posted it to my website. So the “Techniques” section of my website was created for things like my article on doing Scrimshaw artwork, but planning, and doing are two different things for me. Shucks, maybe next time.
A few weeks later, Schiffer Publishing started talking to Jim Stevens about putting his booklet into an actual book that they would publish. In the book, he is to include some gallery photos of other work by other artists. Since I had found him with statcounter, and emailed my thanks, he asked if I wanted to be included in the book gallery section. Tell a fat man there’s ice cream, “absolutely.” I shot right back to him.
This past week, I was delighted that Jim sent me a couple of images showing the Dust Jacket for his upcoming book. It looks great, very professional, as Schiffer always does. His book will be available for sale in the March – April 2008 timeframe.
So, if you are interested in getting a copy, follow these links I copied directly from Jim’s website page:
Available in book stores, online and from Schiffer Books in Spring, 2008.
Contact Schiffer Books and ask to preorder at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to Schiffer Books website: http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/
I have a small part of the book with some of my past artwork shown, but I have not seen which photos were selected, or how big my part of the gallery section is. It is a mystery I can’t wait to see when the books are ready for sale. Consider at least one of them “SOLD.”
So, chock that one up to “having a website!”
Thanks for reading along,
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com