Press Interviews

New Cyber-gallery Opens

Hopes to change the way artists and buyers interact

By Patty Caya
Hippo Nashua, Feb. 3-9, 2005

The Internet has changed the way people do a lot of things, but you’d think visiting an art gallery wouldn’t be one of them.

People who buy art usually do so because they fall in love with a piece. It moves them or speaks to them, or would look really great above the mantle.

According to Marcus Scott, owner of Chimera Gallery in Nashua, “Art is still a spontaneous thing. You have to be able to show the picture in a good light.”

Nowadays, that light could be cast by your computer monitor.

There are many limitations to showing art in an online environment. First there is the size issue. Viewing a piece of art online is constrained by the size of your monitor, even if it’s a piece that fills a wall in the real world. Then there’s the web color palette, which is limited to 256 specific colors. What you are seeing on screen will be adapted to fit those colors regardless of which colors were chosen by the artist.

And of course, there is the obvious emotional-impact issue. It’s hard to get excited about something you view on the computer screen, when you can’t experience it as you would in a gallery or museum or artist’s studio. You can’t step back from it. Walk back and forth in front of it, stand very close and examine the brush strokes; stand far away and see how it changes in your mind’s eye.

The image on your screen is flat, small and limited.

Despite all of these obvious shortcomings, local artist Yong Chen and Vicki Chesterley [and other friends] have teamed up to create www.worldgalleryonline.com. There mission is to bring the advantages of technology to artists who might otherwise never find an online presence.

World Gallery provides the tools to get an artist up an running without having to have any of the knowledge necessary to do so.

Like any gallery in the bricks-and-mortar world, World Gallery plans to be discerning about which artists will be represented on the site. This nascent online showplace plans to institute a selection process, which will be determine who is eligible for inclusion.

Opinions about what constitutes good art, obviously vary greatly from person to person, but Chesterley, the site’s gallery coordinator said, “There are different ways to look at art. It has to be well executed, well produced. It can’t be sloppy and has to maintain standards of decency.”

The site will not show pieces deemed to be offensive or sexually explicit.

Because the online buying environment does have its limitations, the gallery has instituted a money-back guarantee refund policy. If a buyer is not happy with any piece, he or she can notify the gallery within seven days of receiving it and return it for a full refund.

On the surface, the concept seems to be a win-win. Artists, who may not be technology savvy have an outlet for their art and collectors and buyers, have an easy way to view and choose art from the comfort of their own homes.

Monique Sakellarios, who is both an artist and co-owner of La Maison de L’art gallery in Nashua has a different opinion. Sakellarios believes websites are good for artists who are already known.

“A website is a good way for people to find you,” she said. “Unless you are known and people are looking for you, it might not be such a great thing.”

According to Sakellarios, an online gallery is not appropriate for an artist just starting out.

“You have to make your name known first,” she said. Your work will look different on the Web. If they [buyers] know you, they know what to expect, but if they just see a picture, they don’t know what it will really look like or how they will frame it, etc. It’s quite different when you actually see a piece [in person].”

Since the site is so new, it is difficult to predict if this new paradigm for showing and buying art will work, but Chesterley is optimistic. She is hoping that this new venture will succeed with its mission to bring together professional artists and art educators with buyers.

 

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