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Occasionally I get emails from readers asking my opinion about various art-selling websites they’ve found—last week’s Ugallery article came about that way, and so did today’s article on ArtworkNetwork.com.
I hadn’t heard of ArtworkNetwork before, and quickly found out why when I visited the site: although ArtworkNetwork intends to be a national, or global art network, it’s not really a big player.
Instead, the Colorado-based ArtworkNetwork seems to do a lot more on a local level by rotating art through several local businesses and operating an art showroom in Denver’s Santa Fe art district.
ArtworkNetwork’s online offerings are just a VERY basic profile on the ArtworkNetwork site which includes an about page, a generic contact form, and a gallery page with either nine, twelve, or twenty-one images. (Each image linked to its own page with a little more information about the art.)
ArtworkNetwork also restricts artists from updating their images more than twice a month, and as far as buying goes, buyers can only browse for art by artist or medium.
Not too long ago, that type of deal was the best that artists could get on the internet—but times have changed, and ArtworkNetwork seems pretty far behind the curve.
Even when it came to the design, ArtworkNetwork felt rather corporate, especially the page below which lists their features—it looks more like a bank’s website, or a nice PowerPoint presentation than anything else.
Looking corporate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I suppose, but when you look at other companies like Imagekind, RedBubble, Artflock, or BoundlessGallery (just to name a few) I think you’ll find a much more “artist-friendly” and “consumer-friendly” feel.
(By the way, that 200,000 hits per month listed in the image above is hits, not page views or visits. . . and there’s a big difference. A hit is simply a request made to the server—one page view can translate to 10-20 hits or more. In other words, it’s not an impressive amount of traffic.)
ArtworkNetwork.com doesn’t say what it costs to join, but after seeing how limited their online features were, I didn’t think it was necessary to email them and ask.
In the end, ArtworkNetwork’s strength is probably in its local connections—its partnerships with businesses, local interior designers, and local art collectors. That means you Colorado artists may want to consider them (mainly to get your artwork in local businesses and galleries) but other artists across the US or globally should look elsewhere to establish an online presence.
Of course if ArtworkNetwork began to rotate art into businesses across the nation, I’d have to change my opinion. . . something for them to work towards, perhaps.
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