For the last year, there has been a lot of traffic and attention to my Art Listings Professional website / blog. As somebody who has always dreamed of publishing a cool contemporary art zine and always feels worried about being out of touch with the art scene, this has been very satisfying and I look forward to developing ALP for the rest of my life.
But I’ve always known that my other art website artprwire.com, though with much less content and traffic at the moment, has the most potential for popularity.
Unfortunately, the logo sucked and the design was clunky. After chatting with Lee from eat sleep draw, he was excited by the website as well but decidedly unenthusiastic about the design.That’s ok – it’s been a year of testing, tweaking and monitoring to make sure this snazzy little service I am developing is going to work great. Now I can apply make-up and a wig to it, so to speak.
I decided next time I talked to Lee, I was going to have a drastically improved feel and functionality to the website (sorry for being incommunicado for a few months, comrade). After all, if there is anyone you should listen to for advice on designing submission-based websites, it is Lee.
Anyways, after several fizzled attempts for a new logo that involved various vintage wall paper designs, bold type and even variations of the stodgy ALP logo I became inspired by the reactions to my friend Andreanne’s squirrel head art – everybody loved squirrels as they are so prevalent in Toronto. I also like the idea that the squirrel will always, to me, refer to my home in Canada as hopefully the website grows more popular internationally. Plus, since my main competition in the Art PR biz is a giant monopoly that the unimaginative and conservative art industry in Toronto and Canada is determined to keep paying for, then my little tree rodent reflects my strategy of a grass-roots, street level scavenging and collecting precious art news nuggets. I am one guy running a small, independent PR service and sometimes it is cute and sometimes I get frustrated and chirpy and sometimes I am a real pest to the status PR quo. I am the squirrel.
Plus, it’s really cute to have that little furry face staring at pictures and headlines in my streams on twitter and facebook. It is distinctive but not overbearing visually to the information that is being presented.
It is going ok so far otherwise. I have hundreds of subscribers and am getting submissions every day. I’ve been low-key about promoting the website so far but now feel emboldened by the cool design and direction and have started contacting museums and larger galleries directly to participate.
Not focusing on small independents anymore to get the art pr ball rolling. Surprisingly to me, support for art pr wire is coming from the larger institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Toronto International Film Festival. They found my website and are submitting to it all on their own – the larger and more established the entity, the more they see the value in a pure social media marketing service such as Art PR wire. Many of the artist co-ops in town, such as Red Head Gallery, Loop and Propeller, are using the service as well as it is a professional platform, powerful and it is free. Since I conceived and designed the service to help out exactly this kind of organization and artists I had always expected more support to rally from the small and independent scene that had far fewer resources for marketing and publicity.
And now, here I am on the verge of taking a serious run at the established venues of the contemporary art media in Toronto and Canada. I guess all I need is more submissions from established galleries, museums and festivals to set an example to the smaller organizations that it is ok to use my website.