Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I Like Ur Art: Saatchi Creates an Online Hangout for Artists
Published: December 18, 2006

Julie Ann Travis , 23, a graduate student at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, is curious to see what her peers are up to and to share some of her latest work. So recently she posted a self-portrait in which her head is buried in a pile of dirt at Stuart

The brainchild of the London-based advertising magnate and collector Charles Saatchi, this social networking outlet — a kind of MySpace knockoff for artists — is causing something of a sensation, boosting traffic at the gallery’s Web site overall to more than three million hits a day.

In May Mr. Saatchi, famed for spotting young unknowns and turning them into art-world superstars, created a section on his Web site for artists of all ages to post their work at no charge. It is called Your Gallery, and now boasts contributions by about 20,700 artists, including 2,000 pieces of video art.

Everything there is for sale, with neither the buyer nor the seller paying a cent to any dealer or other middleman. About 800 new artists have been signing up each week.

And since Stuart (shorthand for “student art”) went online last month, some 1,300 students (including 450 in the United States) have created Web pages there. No one vets the quality or style of the art.

With dealers and collectors scouring student shows for undiscovered talent and students hunting for dealers to represent them, Mr. Saatchi has tapped a vein that can’t stop gushing. If Stuart gains anything like the cachet of MySpace, it has the potential to morph from a nonprofit venture into a gold mine for Mr. Saatchi.

For now, he said, he is simply enjoying the role of spectator. “When I launched the site, I took the view that the best thing was to leave it alone for the first year and purposely not buy anything, because I didn’t want to compromise what the site was supposed to do: appeal to a wide group of students,” he said.

His office, meanwhile, is fielding e-mail messages and calls from dealers, museum curators and directors, and collectors around the world who have discovered new work at the site and want to meet some of the artists in their studios. (Of the 20,700 or so artists at Your Gallery, roughly 6,000 are from Britain and 6,000 from the United States, with the rest scattered across the world.)

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Anonymous ZachTaylor said...

My review of Saatchi's online art efforts after reading a comment that one of his Admin's allowed to be posted.

I did a few Google searches today and found an interesting read at Saatchi's 'blogon'. It seems that the Admin at Saatchi's 'blogon' (http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/blogon/) supports posts that attack rival art sites, but does not give the OK to a post that states the truth about the sites attacked and that, heaven forbid, critique the validity of Saatchi's art site. How dare someone question the mandate of someone as wealthy as Charles Saatchi? I think it is time that we all do. The Admin's choice in censoring some material while allowing material that is founded on blind opinion instead of fact is a reflection of his or her employer. This would not be such an issue for me if it were not for the fact that the Admin on Saatchi's 'blogon' selects what is posted for public viewing.

Why did the Admin allow someone to bash a rival art site? Why? As you know, all blogon posts are cleared by an admin prior to appearing on the Saatchi site. You get this message when posting, "There is a filter system on the Blog page so that all entries have to be cleared by Admin prior to appearing on the site. We hope this will save visitors wasting their time wading through rubbish and spam.". Seems fair, right? WRONG! I was shocked to discovery that Saatchi online has allowed an anonymous member to use blogon in order to attack another art site, an art site which Saatchi's minions apparently view as a rival . Thus, I have posted that comment below followed by my response. I find it shameful that this form of backstab is allowed on Saatchi's blogon. And it is a backstab. It is a backstab to acceptable business practice as well as a backstab to those who support the arts online. Why would the Admin do this? Fear of competition perhaps? I challenge members of the Saatchi online community to visit www.myartspace.com and tell me which is a better looking and functioning site. And just so you know, NO, myartspace does not have their shop ability working yet, but they will soon from what I've read.

Link to the post in question which was allowed by an Admin at Saatchi's blogon: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/blogon/drupal/node/9558

"I received an e-mail to join up free of charge.

When I read through the conditions, I was aware that the company can change the conditions at any time. That all works entered in the gallery can be used by the company free of charge for their own publicity etc. Only members can enter the competitions. The competitions have high entry costs and even higher if you put in your entry at a later date. Links and Bugs are free. Competition conditions can be changed at any time. All costs are carried by the Artists, travel, shipping insurance. The place for the gallery competition show has not yet been selected.
Well if the Terms don’t bother you it gives artists the chance of a home page with quite a large picture gallery for free?? That is if they don’t decide to change the conditions later.
I presume that they finance themselves with the competition fees, commission on sales and with sponsors.
Mr. Saatchi on the other hand is a rich art collector and seller, and this is fantastic advertising for his new galleries around the world, with the competition entry for showdown free of charge. At least it offers artists a bit of free advertising, especially with the extra link to the artist’s website. The Saatchi website is so interesting that it takes me hours to get out again. When I saw that only one percent of visitors voted for my entry picture, I was actually quite surprised, as I only ever saw it come up in the window once myself. The only true way to visit all artists entered would be one by one through the alphabet, but who has time to do that.
Never the less, it’s a great offer and it’s for free.

Rather harsh on myartspace, don't you think? Especially for someone posting anonymous. First, the person does not seem to know much about websites. They all say stuff like that in order to avoid trouble later. It all stems from a moron like him (or is it her?) who tried to sue a website in the 90s after the website changed a feature that the member liked. So since that time websites always mention that they can change things without warning. The terms are no different than most art sites I might add.

It is true that www.myartspace.com has both free and Premium accounts. Most art sites do. Not everyone can throw money around like Saatchi can. So I don't blame myartspace or any art site for making profit where they can in order to offset their expenses. No one is twisting your arm to enter competition or to buy a Premium account. And the free accounts on myartspace are so much better than the Saatchi artist profiles! With a free account on myartspace you can upload as many images as you want and place them in flash galleries. You can have as many galleries on your account as you want also with as many images as you want in them. You can also add video, music, or audio/narration to each gallery. This is an interesting feature because you could add a video or audio of you talking about your art. It makes the profiles more personal compared to what you find on Saatchi's site. Premium members can create flash and traditional html galleries and add video, music, or audio/narrative to their profile as well as their galleries. Both free and Premium members on myartspace can embed their myartspace galleries on other sites like myspace, livejournal, and blogger. The free accounts on myartspace are better than many of the Premium accounts I've seen on other art sites. Test it and see for yourself. The only downside about myartspace is that only Premium members can have personalized urls but for those who pay that is actually a good thing because it makes them different than free members and they can choose different profile templates as well. So it is like myartspace actually values you a a paying member compared to so many sites that have few differences as far as free and Premium accounts are concerned.

As for the competitions, he forgot to mention that myartspace has had both free and entry fee competitions. They sent winners to the South of France for FREE with ALL expenses paid. They have also had jurors from the Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery, SAIC, RISD, and New American Paintings so by bashing the myartspace competitions this person showed great disrespect to those respected jurors, which is probably why the person posted anonymous.

Concerning the myartspace competition fees. High? High? I'm thinking this person has not entered that many art competitions. Most juried competitions charge between $35 to $75 (some over $100) just so that a juror or jurors can look at the work for a few seconds and move on. Most competitions I've entered only allow you to submit 3 images and if you are allowed to enter more it comes with a fee of $5 to $15 per extra entry if extra entries are allowed in the first place. You often have to pay extra to have your slides sent back as well. The myartspace competitions are sometimes free, sometimes $20, and the highest I have seen is $50. Depending on the competition they have allowed members to submit up to 20 images for as low as $20! AND the jurors often run over the scheduled time to judge the work because they actually view it in the comfort of their own homes on their computers instead of simply walking past your work at a brick & mortar gallery or other exhibit space.

So how do the competitions on Saatchi and myartspace compare? As far as I can tell Saatchi's site is nothing more than a popularity contest where an artist must rely on online friend whoring in order to enter the winners circle. If you are lucky they may have a jury panel that selects the winners from that group. However, as far as I can tell the number of votes do not seem to be recorded for public viewing so for all we know real judges may not care who the public selects. If that is the case all of your "Please vote for me" efforts are futile. Myartspace is different because they have only had one popular vote competition and seems to have scrapped it in favor of strict jury decision. So on myartspace you don't have to spend hours begging for votes online. You only have to worry about impressing the jurors. That is a good thing for those of us who don't want to lose our integrity by begging for online friends and their votes. In my opinion you get what you pay for. Saatchi's competitions are free and it shows.

In the rant the person mentioned a competition. Based on the time line I can only think that the person was talking about the www.myartspace.com New York, New York Competitio. The information the person provided was very onesided and full of flaws. I was in that competition and they paid for shipping, travel and for the finalists to stay in NYC. They even took the top finalists out to dinner. They went above and beyond their duty. The gallery was the McCormack Gallery and the opening was held in a central location in the Chelsea art district near 26th if memory serves me correct. Two doors down there was a Warhol exhibit. It is obvious that the person did not know what he/she was talking about. It was an entry fee competition but no one was forced to enter and those who did enter knew that their work was viewed and considered unlike the system on Saatchi's site where you have no clue what exactly is going on.

This person seem to think highly of Saatchi's free competition Showdown compared to the competitions on www.myartspace.com. I must ask how Showdown helps people out other than sending thousands of artists to sites like myspace, facebook, and livejournal so that they can beg for votes? I've even seen artists on myartspace begging for Showdown votes. It is pathetic! That is why Saatchi's art site has so much traffic. It all comes from people going their to vote. So that on top of Saatchi's name attached to it is the only reason this site has so much traffic. It is deceptive traffic. You have millions of people visiting just to vote for artists who have begged for votes. Saatchi would like you to think that all the traffic is from collectors but it is obvious that the majority of the traffic to the site comes from his public voting standard.

Even the hits for members on Saatchi's site is deceptive in my opinion. Images from different people show at random each time someone visits the site. Basic website designs tells me that most likely they have the site set up so that each of those visits count as a hit for each of the people who are shown at the given time. So chances are no one is actually viewing your work. They are just visiting the site and going about their business and your image happened to be there at the time. That does not mean they viewed the art! That does not mean anything nor does it help your career. A lot of sites do this. In most cases that is how they make a profit off of ads. That is my theory on the issue.

If you win ShowDown you may get a lot of exposure and I won't deny that, but do think about the competitions Saatchi has had like the most recent Sensation competition. Sarah Maple won. Now you would think that Sarah Maple would have a lot of exposure on Saatchi's site. Think again! Do a Google or Yahoo search for Sarah Maple and you will see that there is MORE traffic to her art on www.myartspace.com than on Saatchi's art site. Even though Saatchi's site is ranked higher in traffic than myartspace they still were not able to give her more exposure than myartspace! Sarah's myartspace interviews and profile are even ranked higher than www.youtube.com when 'Sarah Maple' is searched on Google or Yahoo. So based on this example Saatchi's site was beat out by myartspace and youtube when it comes to online exposure for Sarah Maple and myartspace beat both Saatchi and youtube! So why did Saatchi's site fail to delive when they are ranked higher on the traffic charts when compared to myartspace? My guess is that it goes back to my theory on Saatchi's deceptive traffic practice. Maybe Saatchi's site is not as popular as it seems?

I don't see why this person tried to compare Saatchi's site to myartspace. They are two very different animals. Myartspace has some of the most advanced technology of any art site on the web today. Myartspace is very cutting edge which is why you seem a few other art sites trying to emulate them. Saatchi's site looks like it came from the late 90s and never expanded past that era! So in my view Saatchi's online art effort is only where it is today because Saatchi's name is attached to it. My theory is that it only has the traffic rank that it has because thousands of people beg for votes each day and most likely send millions to the site daily in the process just because Saatchi's name is attached to it and they hope that the mega collector will notice them. That is the only way they are able to get away with a site that is rubbish! So the traffic rank is deceptive to say the least.

I could keep going but I think I will make this as short as I can. I find it offensive that someone is using Saatchi's site to attack other art sites! I find it more offensive that Saatchi's Admin allowed a blog like that to be posted for all to see but has censored other entries that questions Saatchi's site. Shameful. This person really needs to go to myartspace again. If you think Saatchi's art site has a better design you know nothing about websites and very little about gaining exposure online. I would also strongly advise that the person read the Myartspace Blog as well and see some of the artists, curators, and art critics that have been involved with the site. Here is a link, www.myartspace.com/blog. So to answer this person. Is Saatchi better than Myartspace? Do I even need to answer that?

8:11 PM  

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