I like fashion, intellectually, because it’s such clear evidence of the human urge to decorate and present. Clothing is our most accessible art.
But what about art in the historical definition – painting, photography sculpture? While we can find clothing today even at the drugstore it seems, art’s been traditionally more difficult to get hold of.
I have always found the hush of art galleries more unnerving than even the glare of salesladies in the Chanel section of Neiman Marcus. Silly, but true.
Introducing Saatchi Online
Art-buying in the virtual world is not new of course. Art.com sell prints and other pieces, Deviant Art provides a self-showcase for artists, Kathy Leeds hosts a very popular Facebook page showcasing artists, here. I’ve run a few Discovering Artists posts myself, featuring my stepmother’s photographs, Anna Mavromotis’ paper work, and Sandra Salin’s flowers, as well as this piece that I purchased, over the Internet if not online per se, from Lily Stockman,
However, they’ve done a notable job of creating an online experience for browsing, considering, and most likely purchasing paintings and photography at Saatchi Online. I don’t have data about the buying experience, since I haven’t gotten that far, but at a guess they know what they are doing.
The site has several sections. The most expected is the online gallery. They’ve done a really good job designing the interactions. You can shop, as usual, by category. As a software person, I appreciate the evidence of thought put into categories, that’s where real evidence of user experience discipline and customer knowledge shows up. You don’t want a logical taxonomy so much as a map of user decision and entertainment patterns. Here you can search by type, or style, but also orientation.
Sometimes you need a portrait shape on a narrow wall, sometimes a horizontal landscape behind your big ol’ sofa.
There’s also a section for curated collections, which helps to break up what could be an undifferentiated stream of images into groups small enough to absorb, with the promise of intent to seed meaning. And Saatchi hosts competitions with judging and awards, so you can browse, in the moral equivalent of a Netflix, “I just want to watch Oscar-winning films tonight” indulgence.
The one bit that holds no appeal to me is the section on investing in art. Sure, prices may go up. They may also go down. I’d rather follow my heart than theory if I’m buying beauty. There’s a sport aspect to art collecting and investing that I have seen up close, but doesn’t resonate with me. I suppose if it helps artists, I’m a fan – if a confused one.
I chose the pieces to include in this post because I like them. The process gave me words for my preferences. Small patterns, geometry. flat paintings, who knew? The broad value of Saatchi’s site, beyond commerce itself, is that of any online shopping – to educate one’s eye and understand the market. To explore one’s own taste and one’s own style, in the company of knowledgeable companions. Or, you know, have a little fun.
All compensation for this post will go to Dress For Success.