Monthly Archives: May 2011

Flickr – fantastic for artists of all kinds

Stained glass garden panel finished, ready for cleaning

Stained glass garden panel finished, ready for cleaning

You know how sometimes you wish you’d started using something a long while ago because it’s just so brilliant?

That’s the position I’m in with Flickr. I’ve been recommending Flickr to artists who didn’t feel the need for a website of their own, or who couldn’t afford one (although ‘free’ websites are readily available now).

Because we’ve had our own website from the start we’ve put off developing a presence on Flickr, but now we have, boy do we wish we’d done it before!

We’re using it to publish photos of students on our stained glass classes.
Of course we’ve been taking photos of class attendees working, and the pieces they make, since we started teaching about 3 years ago. But we’ve lacked that simple way to make them available without selecting and emailing them.

Instead, any of our students can choose to copy the images that feature them or their work and save them.

Why didn’t we do that before?!

Have a look at our Flickr stream and let me know what you think.

And of course, we want other folks to be able to see what we do – after all, we’re looking to drive traffic to our website and grow our visitors and business.

So we’ve added folders of stained glass pieces we’ve made as commissions, and a selection of glass art from our archives too.

What a great way to get your artwork in front of a larger audience – I’m sold!

To all artists capable of photographing their work – Flickr is a brilliant marketing opportunity for you – it just needs a bit of thought and planning.

A couple of tips:

  • Make sure you get good photos of whatever it is you’re doing – a good selection of shots that are in focus, well-lit and well composed is invaluable for all sorts of marketing activities
  • Make sure you get the permission of your students (or anyone else in the shot) to use the photo
  • Take photos at the highest resolution your camera offers, and downsize on your PC if necessary
  • Keep a record of which photo is where and when – useful as an archive and helps to track your progress as an artist
  • Don’t post the high-resolution versions on Flickr – you’ll use up your 300mb monthly allowance very quickly – resize them first
  • Tag the images to aid search engine indexing – think about which words people might use if they were looking for photos of what you do
  • Watermark your images if there’s a chance others might use them for unauthorised commercial use
  • Fill in your profile on Flickr so people can find you, contact you, or visit your website

If you’re an artist or a craftworker, or an avid user of Flickr, I’d love to hear any other tips you have that others can benefit from!

Happy posting….Mike

Can art do good?

Can art do good?

May Ayres - Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld - by May Ayres

I was pondering this subject a while ago, but it’s taken me ages to sit down and write…

We’ve seen unrest in North Africa and the Middle East as citizens attempt to force despised or ineffective leaders out of power.
And in the UK people are taking to the streets to protest at what they see as idealogically-driven Government cuts.

I wonder if Art has the power to do good, on a personal level or on a wider scale?

Starting near to home, Jenny (Timms, my Vitreus Art partner in crime) and I were invited to take part in one of a series of exhibitions staged to raise awareness and contribute money to the Watford New Hope Trust.
This is a charity which helps find homeless people places to live and jobs to do.  Have a look at:
http://www.wnht.org.uk

During the exhibition I spent time with people who, through no fault of their own, have become homeless. These were not the drinkers and gamblers we often assume make up the UK’s street populations. Instead, these were people who were holding down jobs and paying their taxes.

Illness or redundancy or a combination of disasters have turned these people’s lives upside down – leaving them reliant on charity and support groups to survive. The New Hope Trust provides shelter, routes back in to employment and emotional as well as practical support.

And to its credit, Watford Town Council is supporting the NHT by facilitating and promoting art events, often in empty shops in the town.

Details of forthcoming events can be found here.

May Ayres – sculptor and artist

Thinking more about raising awareness of injustice and state-sponsored aggression, I’ve been working on a website for artist May Ayres.
May creates compelling work, in sculpture and many other media, illustrating unpalatable but often ignored aspects of the actions of Western states’ actions in other parts of the world.
Have a look at May’s website – link here.

While reviewing images for May’s site, I was particularly affected by pieces depicting the behaviour of Allied forces in Fallujah in Iraq.

I was also moved by her piece ‘Proconsul’, describing the role of John Negroponte in the suppression of protests by human rights workers, trade union activists and academics in occupied Iraq.

Time and again politicians have carried out acts in our name that are contrary to a supposedly peace-making agenda.
Because of this it’s important that, when the truth emerges from behind the spin, the harsh realities are communicated widely.

Art has the power to bring to life concepts that fail to engage or ignite on paper.
Artists like May Ayres are doing us all a service in helping to present a point of view that may be uncomfortable to us.
Perhaps we’d rather not know, but we still need to know!

Do visit the New Hope Trust’s website, and have a look at May’s work – and do leave a comment once you have!

Keep creating – Mike